Ah, Wolverine. Loved by many, feared by all. A true pillar of the collective comic book universe. And yet, some moviegoers are sick of Logan’s story arc. The argument is not without merit; after all, The Ol’ Canucklehead’s origin story can only be rehashed so many times. Critics argue that after 17 years on the big screen, he’s worn out his welcome, that it’s only right to pass the torch to a younger generation of heroes. But ask yourselves: has Hollywood ever truly done justice to the spirit of the Wolverine? Has any single director or producer accurately depicted the beloved character’s tortured past, explored his darkest moments?
The answer is, of course, a resounding no. Some have tried, all have failed. Wolverine has been stuck in the world of teen-friendly films since making his live-action debut in the first X-Men nearly two decades ago. In all that time, Marvel’s most renowned killer — a man with so much blood on his hands that a lifetime of scrubbing couldn’t wipe it away — has never had the chance to embrace his inner berserker. The fault doesn’t lie with the source material. A cursory glance at any of Wolverine’s stories will provide you with plenty of R-Rated (and some X-Rated) panels. And how could they not? The man is virtually indestructible, capable of recovering from the most gruesome wounds. He eviscerates his enemies with foot-long steak knives that shoot out of his hands. His most prominent feature doesn’t exactly have a “stun mode.”
Below, you’ll find a complete collection of Wolverine’s best R-Rated moments. These are the scenes that you may never see on the silver screen – unless certain rumors prove true.
11) No Pun Intended (The Punisher #17)
How to best explain the events that unfold in issue 17 of The Punisher? First, some context. In the midst of what almost amounts to a heart-warming Marvel team-up moment, Punisher decides that he must stop Wolverine from tracking him, no matter the cost.
Frank Castle is nothing if not effective, laying into Wolverine with surgical precision and tremendous savagery. After emptying his shotgun into Logan’s face, kneecaps, and um, boy parts, Castle takes a moment to dream up the best way to stop Wolverine’s pursuit. He settles on the most obvious method, commandeering a nearby steamroller and casually crushing Logan’s entire body up to the forearms.
10) An Even Split (Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk #1)
This is a showdown straight outta Fanboy Heaven. Few heroes (or villains) in the collective comic book universe can rival the pure, animalistic rage that burns deep within both Hulk and Wolverine. As the Hulk gets angrier, he becomes infinitely more powerful. As Wolverine get’s angrier, he becomes decidedly more Canadian. Sounds like a stalemate!
Unfortunately, this particular instance doesn’t end so well for poor Logan. Hulk rips him clean in half, tossing his legs off into the distance. Talk about insult to injury. While we probably won’t see this exact scene play out in IMAX (thanks, Marvel/Fox fiasco), it is possible that another mutant or super-powered being could take Hulk’s place.
Wouldn’t that be a great way to open Wolverine 3?
9) Birthday Spankings (Wolverine Vol. 2 #10)
There are few things more impressive in the Marvel Universe than Sabretooth’s dedication to making Wolverine’s life completely, utterly miserable. This early issue explores their rivalry in greater depths, giving us the much needed backstory that fuels their undying hatred for one another.
Readers discover several pieces of critical information here; first, that Sabretooth murdered Wolverine’s lover, Silver Fox, in cold blood. Furthermore, he delivered a beating so brutal and so gruesome that it left Logan in shambles both emotionally and physically. As if that weren’t enough, Sabretooth made it a point to return every year and deliver the same beating. This went on for decades.
8) Revenge is a B**** (Wolverine #55)
Years and years after the birthday beatings, Sabretooth has gone off the reservation — even more so than ever before. His capture and subsequent torture at an old Weapon X facility leaves him a shell of his former self, a viscous, uncontrollable animal killing everything in its path. Wolverine decides that there is no choice but to put him down, once and for all. Knowing full well that Sabretooth also has the ability to regenerate rapidly, Wolverine obtains the only weapon capable of neutralizing mutant healing powers: the Muramasa Blade.
Lengthy and gore-tastic battle ensues. Fast forward to the awesome part. After gaining the upper hand, Wolverine straight up decapitates Sabretooth, making him super-duper dead. It’s simple math: body – head = no more Sabretooth. If your first “friend” was actually a bloodthirsty mutant who beat your brains out every year on your birthday, you might just lop their head off too.
This is a scene that should most definitely find its way into Wolverine 3, and as much as we love the actor, we’d be cool with Liev Schreiber being the one who loses his head. Even the most casual fan is familiar with the big-screen version of the rivalry, so it only seems right that it should come to a bloody, violent close as Hugh Jackman makes his exit.
7) Death of an Innocent
A regrettable entry, the events of Ultimate X-Men issue 41 are some of the darkest moment’s across Wolverine’s history. There’s a fine line between R-Rated for violence or gore and R-Rated for morally ambiguous situations. In the Marvel Universe, mutant powers manifest around the same age that puberty starts to hit. Some kids find that they can suddenly control the weather. Others discover that they can shoot laser beams out of their eyes. The unlucky ones end up with odd abilities, like skin that emits clouds of acid, killing everyone in the vicinity.
Logan tracks a particular teen with the latter sort of skill set, knowing that there is only one solution. It’s moments like these that define Wolverine as a character. They shape him, haunt him. There is evisceration — no violent bloodshed to speak of. Only Logan and a crying, lost young man who tries to come to terms with all the death and destruction he has caused. The boy’s death is one that makes us question the grey areas between right and wrong, and one that has a profound impact on Wolverine’s psyche.
6) His Cross to Bear (Uncanny X-Men #251)
An R-Rated installment of Wolverine would be free to explore more mature stories and themes, backing them up with the kind of gratuitous violence that wouldn’t fly in a PG-13 film. There aren’t many moments more powerful or symbolic in the Marvel Universe than this: the image of Wolverine, crucified and left to suffer in the high desert. It’s unnerving. That’s why it needs to be included in this list.
The event itself would be graphic enough to qualify for that coveted R-Rating, but it’s what happens later that could give Wolverine 3 some real claws (pun very much intended). Captured by a race of cybernetically-enhanced mercenaries in the employ of Lady Deathstrike, Logan is nailed to a giant “X” in the middle of the Aussie outback. As his sanity starts to slip, he is plagued by hallucinations of his greatest failures and enemies.
5) The Man Behind the Adamantium (Wolverine #75)
Wolverine is best known for those vicious Adamantium claws and his ability to rapidly heal from even the most gruesome wounds. Well, that and his questionable haircut, but that’s a story for another day. His ability to regenerate at remarkable speeds sets him apart from other mutants, and also means that he (unfortunately) bears the brunt of some of Marvel’s most brutal beat downs. Enter: Magneto, the mutant master of all things metal.
In the Fatal Attractions story arc, Magneto and Wolverine go toe to toe. It goes really well for Logan, if you’d define “really well” as having a full-body skeletal graft ripped through your skin. (If you somehow missed it, Wolverine’s bones are plated in Adamantium. Adamantium is metal, in the Marvel world anyway.)
A few films have tried to showcase some variation of this encounter, but they’ve been inhibited by their PG-13 rating. Having Wolverine literally ripped to pieces only to slowly knit himself together, get back up, and kick some serious ass would make a fantastic R-Rated sequence for his final big screen appearance.
4) Father of the Year (Uncanny X-Force #34)
Being a parent must be so hard. Changing diapers, helping with math homework, battling your kid to the death. Wait, what?
Uncanny X-Force issue 34 pits Wolverine against Daken, the son he never knew he had. The fight between the two is graphic and relentless. Father and son share the trademark Wolverine healing abilities, dishing out and recovering from mortal wound after mortal wound. As with most fights, there can only be one victor. Wolverine doesn’t claw his way out of this one, though, and he ends up drowning poor Daken in a puddle.
This moment would play particularly well on the big screen because of the emotional weight that it carries. The fight sequence features a series of day-dream like visions from both Wolverine and Daken as they imagine how their first meeting could have gone. It appears Logan has a soft-spot for his bastard child, and that Daken really just wanted someone to play catch with. Daddy issues to the max, eh?
3) Brrraaaiiinnnss (Marvel Zombies)
This entry doesn’t require any background information or interesting facts. It’s also the least likely arc to make its way into Wolverine 3, but that doesn’t make it any less awesome. The Zombie virus slithers its way into the Marvel Universe, quickly infecting our favorite heroes. Feasting on the folks they once protected, a team of mega-zombies like Wolverine, Iron Man, Spider-Man, and the Hulk eventually run out of humans to munch on.
After the zombified superheroes eat the entire human race, things get even weirder. They chow down on Magneto as he tries to make his final stand and save mankind. They’re still hungry, so they travel into space and turn Galactus into a mid-morning snack, absorbing his powers and trotting through the cosmos in search of other worlds (and people!) to devour.
2) The Death of the X-Men (Old Man Logan)
In the Old Man Logan arc, Wolverine lives in a dystopian future where all the world’s heroes have been killed off and super villains (and the Hulk, who has gone rogue) rule the world. The entire story line is quite dark, but one particular event actually causes Wolverine to renounce his superhero identity and vow to never pop his claws again.
Fans of the comic learn that Wolverine was tricked into slaughtering each and every member of the X-Men on the night everything imploded, forcing him to live in exile as regular old Logan. The imagery required to show this scene in movies would undoubtedly qualify for R-Rated, and would call for some fantastic (but blood-soaked) cameos.
1) Hungry Hungry Hulk-o’s (Old Man Logan)
Let’s put this plainly: Wolverine gets torn to pieces and eaten by the Hulk. Wolverine regenerates (as Wolverine so often does) inside the belly of the beast, literally clawing his way to freedom from the inside out.
IT’S THE BEST JUST LOOK AT THE PICTURE.
Copyright issues aside, there’s absolutely no shot this will ever occur on the big screen. Wolverine is as ready for an R-rated adaptation as any other superhero, but there will be limits to what Fox and co. will be able to get away with. Still. This is awesome. With the absolutely brutal Old Man Logan comic being the long-rumored storyline set to be adapted in Hugh Jackman’s third and final outing as Wolverine, expect to see at least one rating-testing moment. Just don’t expect it to be anywhere near as insane as this.
What’s your favorite NSFW Wolverine moment? Did we miss your favorite? Let us know in the comments section.