You may or may not be aware that there’s a new Wolverine movie coming out on March 3rd. Who are we kidding, of course you know! Fox has made a big deal about how Logan is Hugh Jackman’s final X-Men movie after playing the beloved character for over fifteen years. It’s hard to imagine a live action X-Men without Jackman; even in films that he’s not supposed to be in at all, like First Class or Apocalypse, he surprises us with a cameo. To date he is the only actor to appear in all nine movies.
Believe it or not, there’s more to Wolverine than Hugh Jackman. Logan has been around since 1974 and has been adapted many times. Although most of the entries on this list can’t even hold a candle to Jackman’s portrayal, they range from incredible to downright cringeworthy at times.
Let’s set some ground rules: Jackman gets one entry per trilogy (First Class trilogy, Wolverine trilogy, and the original X-Men trilogy). On the opposite side, actors who have played the character in multiple video games will be condensed down into a singular entry. Motion comics do not count for this one; there are just too many. Let’s find out who played it best! Here’s Every Adaptation of Wolverine, Ranked Worst To Best.
18. Epic Movie & Superhero Movie
Oh yes, when we said every Wolverine, we meant every Wolverine. Should this technically be two separate entries since these are two different actors? Sure, but there’s no way we can possible stomach to think about these abominations any longer than strictly necessary.
Remember in the late 2000s, when the the Scary Movie franchise got big and companies started to scramble to make their own genre parodies? These things were about as low as you can get; each one had some sort of thrown-together story that was really just an excuse to make jokes about the latest pop culture crazes, make fart and genitalia jokes, and to show scantily-clad women. It was awful.
Wolverine somehow got himself wrapped up in not one, but two of these films! The first was Epic Movie, where he appears in the Mutant Academy as the stereotypical “Jock” character. One of the film’s protagonists tries to ask Mystique (played by Carmen Electra) to the prom and Wolverine comes over and threatens him to stay away from his girl. He is accompanied by his friends, other member of the X-Men who all wear letterman jackets. In Superhero Movie Logan gets an even worse cameo. The movie’s main character tries to enroll in Xavier’s school and sees Wolverine in the courtyard using his claws to shave his legs. Worst. Wolverine. Ever.
17. X2: Wolverine’s Revenge (Mark Hamill)
That’s right! Mark Hamill, the Clown Prince of Crime and Luke Skywalker, got to play Wolverine at one point. X2: Wolverine’s Revenge was released in 2003 alongside the second X-Men film. Though it followed a similar plot as the movie, the game was all about Logan’s past. Players got to take control of Wolverine as he took on Sabretooth, Omega Red, Lady Deathstrike, and many more classic Marvel villains, trying to unlock the secrets of his past. Although it was meant to act as marketing for the film, the character models were based on their comics counterparts.
The game itself was pretty average– with the exception of the Gameboy Advance version, which got good reviews. Unfortunately Mark Hamill’s Wolverine voice just kinda… fell flat. Don’t get us wrong, Hamill is a legendary voice actor, but this just wasn’t the right part for him. In the game, Wolverine sounds like a mix of Hamill’s Hobgoblin voice from the Spider-Man animated series and his angry Joker voice from Batman. When you have a character that’s supposed to be the epitome of a badass, this voice isn’t exactly the one you expect to hear…
16. Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends
Every wondered what Wolverine would sound like if Hugh Jackman spoke with his native accent? Look no further. Everyone remembers the Spider-Man show from the 1960s. Or at least, you remember the theme song.
About ten years after that iconic show, fans were introduced to another series starring the famous wall-crawler, Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends. This series followed the exploits of Spidey, Iceman, and an original character called Firestar, who meet at Empire State University and decide to team up and fight crime. Because Iceman and Firestar were both members of the X-Men, we got to see the mutant team a few times.
The Wolverine featured in Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends was straight-up Australian. No, not the voice actor– the character who is famous for being Canadian was given a Australian accent. He’s first introduced to Firestar as the “newest member” of the team. He then uses a single claw (which appears to be the length of his own arm) to skewer some vegetables.
Due to the violent nature of his powers, Wolverine doesn’t get to do much in these episodes; he only gets a few swings in on Juggernaut before he gets thrown into a wall, claws-first, and is stuck there the rest of the fight.
15. Marvel Anime
Marvel’s anime series was a great treat for fans of the two genres. The publisher took some of their flagship characters (Iron Man, Wolverine, the X-Men, and Blade, to be exact) and created a series of shows drawn in the anime style. To make them even more authentic to the genre they were released first in Japan with an all-Japanese voice cast. The series was then ported to the West and re-dubbed with English voice actors. And what character would be better for an anime than Wolverine? Logan has so many connections to Japan that it would be criminal not to give him his own chapter in the series.
Despite the show having intense action and an incredible art style, something just didn’t mesh with the character himself. Logan was drawn as the clean-cut “pretty boy” that he often taunted Cyclops for being. Instead of being a runt, Wolverine was portrayed with the body of a standard anime protagonist. He was also voiced by Milo Ventimiglia (of Heroes and This is Us fame), which sounded completely terrible. This Wolverine always sounded like that guy who though he could sound tougher by making his voice deeper. The Wolverine anime wasn’t bad by any means; it just felt like a very different character.
14. Marvel vs. Capcom Universe
If you’re a fan of fighting games, chances are you’ve picked up Marvel vs. Capcom at some point. With seven entries in the series (if you include the X-Men vs. Street Fighter and Marvel Superheros vs. Street Fighter) and an eighth coming out this year, almost every character imaginable on both sides has appeared. Wolverine has been one of the few who has remained constant and appears in every single entry. Fans love to use Logan’s fighting style in the game, which consists of high-speed combos and lightning-fast agility at medium range.
The Wolverine featured in the Marvel vs. Capcom games may be a great fighter, but there’s really not a ton to say about the character otherwise. Voice actor Cal Dodd does a good job with all the in-game voice clips but anyone who’s every played an arcade fighting game knows there’s not much more to that than grunting, quick quips, and special move catchphrases. The Wolverine personality is definitely there; he acts as the surprising shoulder for Professor X in MvC: Clash of the Superheroes and he’s seen at a strip club at the end of Marvel vs. Capcom 3, where he tells one of the performers that he needs to finish his drink before the two leave together.
13. LEGO Marvel Super Heroes
The LEGO series of games and movies has gotten way bigger than anyone ever expected. What started with LEGO Star Wars: The Video Game quickly ballooned, creating a licensed LEGO game for just about every major franchise. Then came the movies, starting with a few direct-to-DVD films such as Bionicle and LEGO DC Superheroes. Everything changed in 2014 when the smash hit The LEGO Movie released. Nowadays the building block company has become a franchise in and of itself!
In 2013, the game LEGO Marvel Superheroes was released and featured every major character from the Marvel universe. In true LEGO fashion, all of the characters and situations presented in the game were played up for laughs, including Weapon X. This version of Wolverine embraces his comic persona heavily as a scrappy runt. Every time he is taken by surprise he immediately growls and starts swinging (quite hilariously) at nothing. The other characters around him also continuously make jokes about his smell and appearance. Sure, Wolverine is about as ham-fisted as you can get in this game, but he also has that undeniable charm that LEGO is so well known for.
12. Wolverine and the X-Men
The extremely short-lived cartoon Wolverine and the X-Men thrust Logan into a role that he wasn’t used to. After the apparent deaths of Professor X and Jean Grey, the team disbands. When a group of government agents begin to hunt down and capture every registered mutant they can possibly find, Wolverine and Beast reunite and try to reform the team. Professor X then communicates with the team telepathically from the future, telling the team that Wolverine must lead them into the future if they are to prevent a dystopian regime by Master Mold and the Sentinels.
Seeing Wolverine as the leader of the X-Men felt wrong on so many levels. Logan is a gruff loner, not a leader. But somehow, the story really worked; Wolverine and the X-Men gained critical praise for its season-long storyline that adapted elements of Days of Future Past and set up Age of Apocalypse for the second season. However, this never came to fruition. Around the time that season one was ending, Disney bought Marvel and convoluted rights issues (Fox owned the distribution rights to X-Men) led to the show’s cancellation.
11. The Super Hero Squad Show
The trophy for the most adorable version of Wolverine has to go to The Super Hero Squad Show. Based on the line of Hasbro toys of the same name, this series was aimed at younger audiences. Unlike most Marvel adaptations, where the characters are trying to save the world from life or death situations, the heroes of The Super Hero Squad Show faced more tame threats. They live in Super Hero City while all of their villains dwell in Villainville. The main plot revolved around Doctor Doom and his henchmen (a variety of Marvel supervillains) trying to rebuild the Infinity Sword and use it to rule the universe. Season two involved Thanos and the Infinity Stones.
One of the members of the Super Hero Squad was none other than Wolverine. This series brilliantly plays up the defining characteristics of Logan; he has a short temper and is quick to fight anyone who disagrees with him, including a hilarious fight with the Falcon, who’s hogging the remote control. During an episode where Wolverine gets cloned multiple times, the clones refer to each other as “Snikts” (a play on the sound his claws make when they pop out). Logan is also assigned as the mentor of minor hero Reptil. This relationship is used to show how ridiculous Wolverine’s loner persona can be.
10. Pryde of the X-Men
After the hit cartoon shows= Fantastic Four, Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, and The Incredible Hulk in the 1980s, Marvel animation decided that it was time for an X-Men television show. As we stated earlier, the characters had made minor appearances on Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends earlier in the decade to mixed reception, but now the publisher felt that it was time for their own show. Pryde of the X-Men debuted in 1989 for a singular pilot episode; fans felt that the show was too campy for a series as dark and issue-oriented as X-Men. They also hated how it portrayed the titular character, Kitty Pryde, as more of a damsel in distress.
What fans absolutely could not forgive, however, was the voice acting for Wolverine. Just like in Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends, Logan was portrayed as having a Australian accent. Voice actor Patrick Pinney claims that he was forced to do the accent because it was going to come out in the comics that Logan was an expatriated Australian. The X-Men writers backed off, however, and we were left with this bizarre-voiced character.
Despite his accent, this portrayal of the character is pretty spot-on. Throughout the entire pilot Wolverine refuses to accept Kitty Pryde into the group because “The X-Men is no place for children” and gleefully laughs as he cuts his way through the robots in the danger room. And then there’s the costume, which is the only spot-on adaptation of the famous yellow and brown in any version.
9. Ultimate Spider-Man
Ultimate Spider-Man (the show, not the comic books) is a very polarizing topic for many fans of the Wall-Crawler. Spidey has always been a sarcastic and funny hero, but this show took it to new levels of craziness. Now, Spider-Man was consistently breaking the fourth wall and talking to a miniature version of himself that lived inside his head. His antics were something to be expected by Deadpool, not Peter Parker! Even though the show got Spidey wrong on a few different levels, it made up for it with how awesome it portrayed the rest of the Marvel Universe.
In the episode entitled “Freaky,” Wolverine tracked the villain Mesmero to New York City and brought him in to Nick Fury. There, he meets Spider-Man and nearly fights him when the Parker won’t stop cracking jokes. Later on Mesmero escapes and uses his powers to switch minds of the two heroes; this leads to a bunch of great scenes, such as Wolverine (in Peter’s body) beating up Flash Thompson and Spider-Man (in Logan’s body) telling Sabretooth that he’s got the wrong guy and should check back later to find the real Wolverine. Wolverine in Ultimate Spider-Man is about as close of a representation to the comics as you can get from a 20-minute cartoon. He’s got a cool costume, an even cooler voice, and he’s got that signature beserker rage and snarky personality that so many of the entries below were missing.
8. Hugh Jackman (The First Class Trilogy)
That is correct, our first Hugh Jackman version of Wolverine appears at #8 on our list! After the stinkers that were X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Fox decided that it was time to reboot the franchise. They did this in the form of X-Men: First Class, a film that takes place in the 1960s and recast Professor X and Magneto as younger versions of the characters we knew from the original trilogy. The next two entries in the series followed this theme; Days of Future Past took place in the ’70s and Apocalypse occurred in the ’80s.
The Wolverine in this trilogy of movies appears so far down the list because, well, he wasn’t really in them that much. He’s a major player in Days of Future Past, but you could argue that he’s not even the main character; he takes a backseat to Charles Xavier and Mystique throughout most of the film. In the other two films, Logan appears as a simple cameo.
However, many will agree that his cameo in X-Men: Apcoalypse is the best part of the entire movie and that his cameo in First Class, with a single line of telling Xavier and Magneto to “Go f*** yourselves” is legendary.
7. X-Men: Evolution
The WB Cartoon X-Men: Evolution was a unique twist on the tropes of the mutant team. While almost every version includes a “newbie” mutant joining the team and trying to figure out their place in the world, Evolution de-aged the roster so that the entire team was made up of teenagers. Each member of the X-Men got a revamped and redesigned costume, as well. The first season of the show involved a story in which the X-Men and the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants competed to recruit newly-discovered mutants onto their respective team.
Aside from Xavier, Wolverine was the only hero to be shown as an adult. This portrayal really drove home the “reluctant mentor” role to which Logan is often dedicated. Instead of being a rage-filled loner, Wolverine acts as sort of the scruffy and rough “cool uncle” of the team whose training methods are said to be the most extreme of any at Xavier’s School. This adaptation of Wolverine also has what is probably the coolest costume on this list; there’s just something about the orange and black costume with the textured boots and gauntlets that’s visually appealing.
6. The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes
What is it with Marvel TV shows post-2000 getting canned so early? Beginning in 2010, The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes was praised as one of the best Marvel Universe TV shows of all time. It had everything: the characters were all similar to their comic book counterparts and several legendary stories from the publisher’s history were adapted with great care. It was a fun, well-written version of the Marvel Universe, and it was a travesty to see it replaced in 2013 with Avengers Assemble, a show that was made purely to feed off of the success of the 2012 hit film.
Wolverine made a couple appearances in Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, starting with one of the few adaptations of the Captain America/Wolverine team up during World War II. Though X-Men Origins and The Wolverine touched upon Logan’s historical past, this was one of the few times we were ever treated to a proper World War II story.
If that wasn’t enough, Wolverine returns in a later episode and fights a bunch of Velociraptors with his bare hands, using his claws to slice them open on a kids’ show! You won’t find many better versions of the character in a show that is supposedly for children.
5. Steve Blum (A Million Video Games and Shows)
Want to know just how legendary Steve Blum is to the role of Wolverine? A large portion of the entries on this list are voice by this guy! He gave voice to the character in The Superhero Squad Show, Ultimate Spider-Man, Wolverine and the X-Men, Hulk Vs. (which we’ll get to later), and LEGO Marvel Superheroes. Much like Hugh Jackman, we had to split up Blum’s entries due to how different each of them were. However, we’re giving the voice actor, who has played the hero so often that he has been dubbed “Wolverine for life,” his own entry for the many video game versions of Logan he’s played.
It all started back in 2004 when Marvel needed a voice for Wolverine in X-Men: Legends. Blum’s voice was perfect; it had a deep, gravely tone that had just the right touch of spiteful glee and grumpiness. It was a no-brainer for Blum to return in the second Legends game. But it didn’t stop there. Steve Blum went on to voice Logan in Ultimate Alliance, X-Men: Destiny, Spider-Man: Web of Shadows, and Deadpool.
Ironically, the only Wolverine-heavy title in which he didn’t play the character was X-Men Origins: Wolverine, where Hugh Jackman himself did the voice-over work and Blum played Wade Wilson.
4. Hulk Vs.
If you want to see Wolverine unhinged for the first time on screen before Logan, take a look at the 2009 direct-to-DVD movie Hulk Vs. Steve Blum reprises his iconic role as Logan in this film, and the movie is split into two separate stories; one about Hulk taking on Wolverine, and the other about Hulk rampaging through Asgard against Thor. Though it is animated, it was intended for a more mature audience– there’s blood, death, and mature subject matter galore.
The Wolverine chapter of the movie was definitely more violent than the Thor one. The chapter starts off with Wolverine taking on the Hulk in the mountains. It’s a ridiculously brutal battle that is only interrupted when a bunch of Wolverine’s old Weapon X partners swoop in and capture Bruce Banner. Logan then has to fight through the likes of Omega Red, Sabretooth, Lady Deathstrike, and Deadpool in order to get the Doctor back and prevent them from weaponizing the Hulk.
The Wolverine found in Hulk Vs. is relentless; when he needs Banner to transform and the man doesn’t comply, he stabs him in the side with his claws in order to get his adrenaline going. The actual battles between Wolverine and his enemies get pretty violent here, including a bunch of limb hacking and stabbing in the fight against Deadpool. This is the type of Logan we hope James Mangold delivers in the third chapter of The Wolverine Trilogy.
3. Hugh Jackman (The Wolverine Trilogy)
We know that the final chapter of this trilogy hasn’t been released yet. However, early reviews point to it being the best of the entire Wolverine Trilogy, if not the best X-Men movie overall. After the critical bomb that was X-Men: The Last Stand, Fox wanted to go another direction with the franchise. They planned for a group of “Origins” films that would be spinoffs of their most popular characters. Wolverine was the first, and Magneto was to be the second. However, when X-Men Origins: Wolverine came out it was even worse than The Last Stand. Elements of the Magneto film were incorporated into First Class, but Origins was such a mess that the spinoffs were scrapped altogether. Still, Fox knew that everyone loves Wolverine and continued on with his trilogy of solo films.
Like we said before, Origins was a total mess. It had a cheesy story, laughable special effects, and the biggest bastardization of Deadpool in the character’s history. That said, Hugh Jackman (and the awesome opening scene) was the sole saving grace of the film. When the second film, simply entitled The Wolverine, hit the scene it showed vast improvements over its predecessor; gone were the corny effects and terrible characters. Instead we got a great adaptation of one of Wolverine’s greatest stories, with Jackman getting to show off his acting chops within the confines of the character. Logan, with its R-rating and more serious tone, should be the perfect end to this trilogy of gradually improving films.
2. X-Men: The Animated Series
When it debuted in the early ’90s X-Men: The Animated Series was a revolutionary cartoon. It was one of the first to adopt the serious tone of the comics when it came to stories and the real-world issues they pertained to. This was the show, alongside Batman: The Animated Series, that showed just how lucrative it was to create a comic series that appealed to both children and adult fans. It was also the first to flesh out different individual team members (whereas past shows focused on the team as a whole). X-Men: TAS was met with critical acclaim and commercial success and is still the defining TV adaptation for the mutants to this day. Also, it had arguably the greatest cartoon intro ever created!
Though he is not a leader or a mentor, Wolverine takes center stage in this show. He appears in almost every episode and gets his hands dirty in just about every major story arc. This was one of the first times that Logan was portrayed as downright unlikable; the character mouthed off to his teammates and constantly pushed them away. He had a short fuse and figured that violence was the answer to every problem. But deep down, Wolverine was a good guy. This is most noted by his quasi-mentor relationship with Jubilee and his love for Jean Grey. Let’s be honest, if you don’t read the comics in Jackman’s voice, this voice is the one you most likely default to!
1. Hugh Jackman (The Original Trilogy)
Let’s be honest here…You knew Hugh Jackman was going to be #1 on this list. There is simply nobody else in the world who has so perfectly embodied the character like this Australian actor has. Though fans were skeptical about Logan’s casting at first (why would they hire a 6’3″ pretty boy to play a character that’s supposed to be a scruffy runt?), they were completely off the mark! Words cannot describe how great Hugh has been since he popped those claws for the first time in 2000. He may never have gotten to wear his iconic blue and yellow (or brown and yellow) suit, but Jackman’s image is practically synonymous with Logan.
Although we’ve thoroughly enjoyed Hugh in both the First Class Trilogy and The Wolverine Trilogy, nothing can top his performance in the original X-Men movies. These were Wolverine at his best; he was still trying to fit in with the team whilst struggling with his past and adapting to the feelings he had (both romantically and fatherly) for his fellow X-Men. Logan and Days of Future Past definitely give it a run for its money, but X-2 is still often regarded as the best of the entire series. And X-2 has the absolute best Wolverine of the entire saga, as well; nothing is ever going to top the scene where Logan defends the X-Mansion from Stryker’s men.
Don’t count out Jackman’s performance in the other two films, either. The Last Stand may have been pretty awful, but Jackman gives it his all. Likewise, the original movie is somewhat corny compared to today’s standards, but this was the one that put Wolverine on the map and made Jackman a household name. We don’t know who is going to take up the mantle of Wolverine next but whoever it is, they are going to have some mighty big shoes to fill.
So, what do you think of our list? What rankings to you agree with? Which do you disagree with? How much are you going to miss Hugh Jackman as Wolverine? Let us know in the comments!
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