It’s official: Hugh Jackman’s time as Wolverine is nearly over. After the actor teased over the weekend that he would be putting on the claws one last time, director James Mangold confirmed that the tentatively-titled Wolverine 3 will wrap up Jackman’s tenure as the mutant. While there is still a slim chance that Wolverine could cameo in X-Men: Apocalypse, the 2017 film will the final time we see him in full-action. Jackman has played the role since 2000 and brought the character to new heights of popularity, but we knew this was going to have to end eventually. Remember, this is a mutant who barely ages, whereas Jackman is susceptible to time’s cruel effects like the rest of us.
Other than Jackman being joined by his longtime costar Patrick Stewart, the only thing we know about Wolverine 3 is that it will be based off a preexisting comic story. Given that it’s set to be the last Wolverine movie (for now), it’s important that for Wolverine’s last adventure, Jackman, Mangold and the rest of the production choose an epic story to entice fans and general moviegoers. Fortunately, Wolverine has had plenty of adventures over the years to choose from, from large-scale battles to smaller, intimate narratives. Here are the five stories we’ve picked as possibilities for Wolverine 3 to adapt as a fitting conclusion to Jackman’s run.
5. Fatal AttractionsWolverine has been put through the ringer many times, but Fatal Attractions featured one of his most devastating injuries. The story followed the X-Men attempting to stop Magneto and his Acolytes from wiping out humanity. During the climactic fight, Magneto tears the adamantium coating Wolverine’s skeleton off, nearly killing him. As it the nature of comic books, the status quo eventually reverted to normal and Wolverine got his adamantium back, but seeing something like this happen in a movie would be quite a sight. The closest Wolverine has come to losing his adamantium in the movies is when his claws were hacked off in The Wolverine, though the bone claws soon grew back. So far, Ian McKellen is only slated to reprise Magneto in X-Men: Apocalypse, but if Wolverine 3 decides to recruit him, this would not only be an excellent way to use him one last time as a villain, but to see him inflict unimaginable pain on one of his greatest mutant nemeses. Chronologically, Wolverine started off without the metal, so why not rip it off him for his final appearance?
4. 24 HoursUnlike the other entries on this list, 24 Hours is just a single comic book issue. Taking place on Wolverine’s birthday, his present-day adventure is mixed with flashbacks of him and Sabretooth fighting on the same day years before and cemented Sabretooth as Wolverine’s arch-nemesis. X-Men Origins: Wolverine already adapted several aspects of this story (like Sabretooth "murdering" Silverfox), but nonetheless, this is a great story to use as a final adventure for Wolverine by pitting him against his greatest enemy one last time. Although in the franchise’s timeline Sabretooth hasn’t been seen since the events of Liberty Island, he could suddenly reappear in Logan’s life to cause all kinds of hell. Of course, Sabretooth would need to be reprised by Liev Schreiber. Sorry Tyler Mane, you may have looked more feral, but Schreiber has you beat on acting chops.
3. Madripoor NightsIf Wolverine 3 isn’t keen on bringing back too many familiar mutant faces, then perhaps it’s time for Wolverine to go abroad again. This time, he can travel to the fictional nation of Madripoor, where he went back in the late ‘80s when he decided to split off from the X-Men. In addition to fighting run-of-the-mill criminals and pirates on the island, he also fought villains like Bloodsport, Roughhouse and the drug kingpin Nguyen Ngoc Coy. In later years, readers would learn that Wolverine also visited Madripoor during World War II, so he has an important history with the country. Much like how The Wolverine saw the clawed mutant dealing with danger in Japan, Wolverine 3 could have him fighting enemies in a contained environment. Rather than have him deal with another world-ending event, scale back the film’s conflict and just have Wolverine unleash his berserker rage on less fantastical adversaries.
2. Death of WolverineIf 20th Century Fox isn’t planning on recasting Wolverine, then perhaps the best course of action is to kill him off, as the comics did last year in Death of Wolverine. After being exposed to a virus that shut off his healing factor, Wolverine discovered that a bounty had been placed on his head since he was now killable. He eventually found that Dr. Abraham Cornelius, the man who founded Weapon X, was the culprit. Although he was able to stop Cornelius and prevent his experiments from being unleashed, Wolverine was encased in adamantium that eventually suffocated him. In comic books, death is rarely a permanent state, and Wolverine will likely return to the land of the living at some point. For the movies, however, a finale involving Wolverine stopping the Weapon X project from being revived would be an excellent way to go out.
1. Old Man LoganOn the other hand, perhaps seeing an even older, gray-haired Wolverine is the way to go. Taking place 50 years in the future, the comic arc Old Man Logan followed an older Wolverine living in a Marvel universe where the super villains have conquered the United States and most of the heroes are dead. For years, Logan has been living a quiet life, but when joins up with a now-blind Hawkeye to deliver a package across the country, he finds himself fending off warped versions of Marvel bad guys. What made this story even more compelling was that Wolverine refused to pop his claws for most of it, which we later learned was because he had accidentally slaughtered many of his teammates after the Spider-Man villain Mysterio had cast an illusion that convinced him they were supervillains.
While most of the Marvel characters in the story are off-limits to 20th Century Fox (including the aforementioned Hawkeye), it could still be adapted in a way where Logan is living in a land where most of his former allies are dead and he has effectively eliminated his Wolverine persona. By the end of Wolverine 3, we could see him unleash his anger one last time, and then he could retire permanently from the superhero/mutant defender game. For a guy who’s spent nearly his whole life dealing with tragedy and violence, living out the rest of his days peacefully (assuming he eventually can die of natural causes) would be a fitting conclusion to his story.