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Since he was a young boy in the mid-1800s, Wolverine (then known as James Howlett) has had a healing factor that allows him to quickly recover from injuries. Upon reaching adulthood, this "talent" also slowed down his aging. However, when we reunite with the clawed mutant next year in Logan, the healing ability won't be as strong as it used to be, as evidenced by the new trailer, where we see him with scars on his face and back. According to director James Mangold, the reason for this setback is because they wanted to give audiences a different Wolverine than the one they've grown used to seeing for more than a decade and a half.
While recapping the new Logan trailer with Empire, Mangold mentioned that he wanted to break away from "tradition" established in the previous X-Men movies so they would have more freedom with how they adapted Wolverine, hence why it's harder for him to permanently recover in the spinoff. He explained:
One of the things we all thought about as we worked on this film is, well, we don't want to rebuild everything. We want to have some questions. In order to make a different Logan, and a different tone of a Wolverine movie, we felt like we couldn't hold on to every tradition established in all the movies religiously, or we'd be trapped by the decisions made before us. So we questioned whether Logan's healing factor causes him to heal without even a scar. We imagined that it may have when he was younger, but with age, he's getting older and ailing. Perhaps his healing factor no longer produces baby-soft skin. So we imagined he heals quickly, still, but it leaves a scar. The simple idea was that his body would start to get a little more ravaged with a kind of tattooing of past battles, lacerations that remain of previous conflicts.
Although Wolverine has been one of pop culture's most popular superheroes for years, his ability to heal quickly means that moviegoers can't be as concerned about him being hurt in battle. After all, if you have a hero who can't die, then why worry about their physical well-being? The previous Wolverine movies tried to work around this, like when those adamantium bullets gave him selective amnesia in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, or when he was implanted with a robotic parasite in The Wolverine that temporarily shut down his healing factor. Thankfully, Logan's reason for the character's scarring doesn't reek of sci-fi; instead, natural causes are responsible.
Judging by James Mangold's comments, it sounds like despite the scarring, Wolverine still won't have an issue if one of his adversaries manages to slice or shoot him. He'll recover, it's just that there will be a mark left afterwards. However, that does beg the question of if/when this power will ever go away. When Logan kicks off, Wolverine will be nearly 200 years old. So at what point does his healing factor shut off completely? When he's 250 years old? 300? That issue may not be discussed in Logan, but it's worth considering.
Logan will be released in theaters on March 3, 2017.