For those of you just in from distant lands, here's a brief overview of Marvel's seminal X-Men character Wolverine. Also known as Logan, also known as James Howlett, Wolverine was first introduced in the November of 1974, in issue #180 of The Incredible Hulk. Logan is a mutant who possesses animal-like senses and reflexes, extraordinary regenerative capabilities, a set of claws and skeleton laced with the indestructible metal adamantium, and a nasty temper.
Wolverine was immortal, or close to it thanks to his regeneration and slow aging. He has escaped certain death countless times, and not even writer Mark Millar and artist Steve McNiven's disturbing, future-set Old Man Logan could finish him off. Today, however, Marvel has announced that the Ol' Canuknuckle Head's final card will be punched this September.
EW reports that Wolverine will be killed off in an upcoming 4-part Marvel limited series, appropriately title Death of Wolverine. Issue #1 will premiere September 3rd, 2014. The series will be written by Charles Soule and drawn by Steve McNiven. The "3 Months to Live" arc of this June's Wolverine solo series will culminate in the character's demise on September 24th. According to Marvel executive editor Michael Marts:
“For a long time, no matter who Wolverine was battling, he’s been the eternal victor. He almost always comes out on top. Now he finally comes up against an adversary that he cannot win against, he cannot fight. What does that mean for this character who’s been around for hundred years?”
Check out the cover art for the first issue of Death of Wolverine, along with an official piece of art, courtesy of EW:
According to Soule, who has worked on Marvel's new Inhumans line and Thunderbolts, the final act of Wolverine's saga "is meant, in part, as a retrospective for both the character and the audience." Soules went on to say:
“He’s reflecting on his own life as he’s reflecting on his own death. We wanted to have the reader do that at the same time. In each issue, we’re focusing on a different aspect, or a different quintessential Wolverine.”
So what does this mean for the movie version of Wolverine, who has been portrayed by Hugh Jackman since 2000's X-Men? Well, in a development which echoes last year's second solo cinematic outing for the character, director James Mangold's The Wolverine, the comic book version of Logan will lose his healing powers in this summer's "3 Months to Live" arc.
Coupled with Hugh Jackman's recent remarks about the "inevitable" recasting of his signature character - along with Jackman's remarks about who could play the character next in this Yahoo! Screen Q&A video alongside X-Men: Days of Future Past co-stars James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender - this news appears to something both Marvel and Fox have been building towards for some time. The comics unsurprisingly touch on or tease what's happening in the films, hence properties like Guardians of the Galaxy getting pushed to the forefront when the film began development. It's all in the marketing.
How permanent will the Death of Wolverine prove to be? Could this be a Death of Superman-esque attempt to not only revamp the character but make him relevant to the comic book audience in a new way? As impermanent as comic book deaths has proven to be in the past, Marts asserts that Marvel's creative team has made this decision “from a standpoint of finality, of closure.” He elaborated about the ripple effect this will have, saying:
“You’re gonna be entering into a world without Wolverine. That affects not only his teammates, but also the Marvel Universe at large. We’ve got a lot of things in the works already.”
Stay tuned for the inevitable developments on how this will affect the film series.
The death of Wolverine, Screen Ranters! What do you think this portends? Sound off in the comments!
Marvel will release Death of Wolverine #1 on September 3rd, 2014.