*Heads Up: SPOILER WARNING for some of the X-Men Films including Logan*
Comic book films have graced our TV and theater screens dating back to the early 50’s and have been thriving for the past 20 years. With many actors taking the roles of superheroes, like Superman, Batman, Bruce Banner/Hulk, Captain America (there were two before Evans), and Doctor Strange (yes there’s a Doctor Strange film from the 70s), one actor has been a constant; Hugh Jackman. Since the first X-Men movie was released in 2000, Jackman has taken the antihero known as Wolverine, and made him the centerpiece in these films, even if that wasn’t Fox Studio’s plan.
After playing the role for close to 20 years, Jackman decided to hang up his claws in a spectacular way that critics and fans have praised him for in ‘Logan’. With a Hugh Jackman as Wolverine tribute video going around (at the time of this article, it has already passed well over 15 million views on our Marvel Facebook page), fans aren’t ready to let go of the actor. But before we say goodbye to the character – and until Fox recasts the role, let’s take a trip back through the X-Men franchise to discover his full arch in finding a home, a family, and taking on the role as father/protector.
By the time the X-Men film franchise had begun, the audience already had an idea of the character Logan through comics and the 80’s and 90’s cartoon. So when he came onto the big screen, he was already seen as this lone wolf type character, wandering around with little to no memory of his past.
Through the first film, we got a sense that Logan was in search of a home and someone to guide him in finding that. He was given that through the help of Professor Charles Xavier, expertly played by Patrick Stewart.
In the first three films, the family consisted of Professor X filling the role of father, Scott Summers (Cyclops) as the brother he would often be at odds with, Anna Marie (Rouge) as his little sister, and Ororo Munroe (Storm) as the wise older sister, and Henry McCoy (Beast) as the uncle. Let’s not put Jean Grey in the sibling category because we all know that would be weird.
As Logan journeyed through the events of X2 and X-Men: The Last Stand (fuck you, Brett Ratner), we got to see another side of Wolverine that he had been well known for in the comics: protector. In both films, his house and his fellow mutants faced outside threats with the odds stacked up against them, but still went in full force and did what they did best.
After the death of Charles Xavier, Logan would continue to carry the role of protector to his solo films in Origins, The Wolverine’, and to an extreme with Days of Future Past when he literally jumped through time to save the home and family that he had helped build.
When we come to Logan, Hugh Jackman’s character has been broken and beaten over the loss of both his home and family. He turns into caregiver for Professor Xavier because he has become tired of all the killing and, in some cases, tries to keep his head out of trouble as best as he can.
When Laura Kinney (X-23) comes into his life, we finally got to see the fatherhood side of Logan that was hinted at in the past X-Men films with Rouge, Bobby Drake (Iceman), and even Kitty Pryde. Even though Logan is reluctant to be this type of man, the movie plays out in a way that you can see the through the tough exterior that the Wolverine had built for so long finally start to break away.
Professor X, still playing that wise father figure, keeps pushing the idea of how it feels to be a father and taking a chance of finding home again. With the destruction of a version of his past savage former self in X-24 and on death’s door, Logan comes to realize the final piece that he had been missing his whole life was the love from a child that was his own, and he had gotten it from Laura when she called him “daddy”. We hear him admit, “So, this is what it feels like,” and these heart wrenching words show that what Professor X had been trying to show him all this time had finally clicked.
Now that we have relived those special, heartfelt moments in Hugh Jackman’s role as The Wolverine, it’s time to wipe away those tears. The X-Men franchise is still moving forward without the actor, and the hunt to find his replacement is still on. Whoever they may choose will have some 17 years of shoes to fill and we hope he’s up to the task. If not, well there’s always time travel within this universe and I’m sure Fox wouldn’t hesitate in taking that route.