Despite an eleventh hour attempt by rivals Comcast to derail the Fox/Disney Mega-Merger, the 66 billion dollar deal is now well on the way to being finalized. This opens a whole host of new ways to expand Disney’s Marvel Cinematic Universe, with the creation of a new MCU version of Wolverine top of the wish-list of fan expectations. So just how quickly can audiences expect to have to wait before the debut of this freshly rebooted incarnation of Logan?
The answer is that the new Wolverine will almost certainly feature at some point in the MCU’s upcoming Phase 4 slew of releases. The duration of each of Marvel’s previous three cinematic phases has varied between roughly three and four years, with a minimum of two new MCU movies landing in our cinemas each year. The current Phase 3 run will conclude in 2019 after Captain Marvel and Avengers 4 have both been released, meaning that Phase 4 will most likely run between 2020 and 2024.
We can expect to see a minimum of eight new MCU movies planned for that period. all of which will currently already be at varying stages of pre-production. To date, Marvel has only revealed the identities of 5 of those films, being:
Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)
Guardians of the Galaxy 3 (2020)
Black Panther 2
This means that there are still at least three movies that could be quietly and/or subtly adapted to include a cameo or full debut appearance for Canada’s most notorious anti-hero.
Now. Kevin Feige has previously revealed that the deal to bring Spider-Man back into the MCU took seven months of legal wrangling, so its reasonable to expect that Marvel won’t be able to do anything tangible with their newly acquired properties until at least 2020 at the earliest, which lines them up perfectly to be introduced in the latter half of Phase 4.
There are two key reasons why Wolverine will definitely be the first of the new characters that the company integrates into the MCU. The first is the existing level of popularity that the character already enjoys thanks to Hugh Jackman’s iconic portrayal. The second is that because he is one of a small number of characters who have been both Avengers and X-Men, meaning that Logan is the perfect way to bridge the gap between the existing Avengers and the new mutant arrivals.
Of course, the next question that needs to be answered is just how you take the hard-drinking and hard-swearing mutie and introduce him to the likes of Tony Stark and Steve Rogers. The answer is, you get them to have a fight with each other. This is the tried and tested Marvel route to creating a successful Team-Up. We saw Black Panther facing off against Team Cap back in Civil War. We saw the Avengers and The Guardians doing it this year in Avengers: Infinity War. New characters fight, and then they make up. That’s just how it is.
YouTube contributors Everything Always even have a compelling theory about which of the existing Avengers lineup Logan will first be seen picking a fight with, and it teases one of the most famous scenes ever feature in a Marvel publication. They believe that Wolverine’s introduction will bring him into direct confrontation with Hulk, recreating the epic battle sequence Marvel fans have already seen in Hulk Vs. – the 2009 animated movie.
The reasoning behind this theory is that Wolverine’s comics debut wasn’t in his own storyline, or even an X-Men publication. Instead, it was in issue 181 of The Incredible Hulk. Going one step further than that, Hulk was initially introduced as an (unwitting) villain back in the first ever Avengers issue, and so there’s a certain sentimentality to using him to bring in Logan. Something that is perfectly in keeping with how the MCU show-runners like to operate.
So, now that’s all cleared up, there’s only one thorny issue left to resolve. Just who the hell are Marvel going to get to play their new Wolverine?