Genius Deadpool & Wolverine Theory Perfectly Connects The MCU Movie To X-Men ’97

Deadpool & Wolverine might be linked to X-Men ’97 through one of their lead characters, according to an ambitious Marvel mutant fan theory.

Hugh Jackmans Kneeling in Front of Graves in Deadpool & Wolverine Trailer and Wolverine Showing Off his Claws in X-Men '97

A clever Marvel theory connects Deadpool & Wolverine to the events of X-Men ’97. After several years of the Avengers retaining the spotlight on the big and the small screen, mutants are returning to prominence in 2024 with X-Men ’97 and Deadpool & Wolverine. The MCU’s upcoming Deadpool & Wolverine sees Ryan Reynolds’ Wade Wilson join forces with Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine to fight Cassandra Nova outside their original universes, and possibly join the MCU’s Earth-616 afterward. Meanwhile, X-Men ’97‘s titular team faces a global threat to mutantkind posed by the Prime Sentinel supervillain Bastion.

Loki seasons 1 and 2 confirm that the Sacred Timeline — both the original version and Loki’s new Yggdrasil-shaped collection of timelines — is composed of every Marvel universe. This means that all Marvel movies and shows ever released coexist with each other and with countless other universes that haven’t been featured on screen yet. The MCU multiverse provides infinite narrative possibilities, including multiversal travel and crossovers between various variants from completely unrelated timelines. In fact, some Marvel characters may be closer to each other than they may seem at first.

Wolverine’s Tragic Backstory Could Involve His Version Of The Attack On Genosha

The Sentinels’ Attack On Genosha In X-Men ’97 Fits Wolverine’s MCU Backstory

Hugh Jackman's Wolverine Reminisces in Deadpool & Wolverine and the Godzilla Sentinel Destroys Genosha in Deadpool & Wolverine

The Deadpool & Wolverine trailers reveal that Hugh Jackman’s MCU Wolverine variant “let down his entire world” before meeting Deadpool. As posed by Reddit user u/AmusinglyArtistic, the tragedy that Wolverine couldn’t avoid in his home universe might have been the Sentinels’ attack on Genosha from X-Men ’97 episode 5’s ending, as well as the Prime Sentinel uprising that followed it. In X-Men ’97 episode 8, Morph jokes that Bastion’s plan could lead to “another dystopia where Logan’s the last to die.”Deadpool & Wolverine could reveal that Jackman’s Wolverine, in fact, is the last survivor from X-Men ’97‘s Sentinel-ruled universe.

Bastion’s plan in X-Men ’97 is to transform every human into a Prime Sentinel, as he believes that the robotic beings are the next step in human evolution. Bastion also intends to turn every mutant on Earth into a servant for the Prime Sentinels, which could eventually lead to their extinction. Wolverine’s visible regret over his inability to protect his world in the Deadpool & Wolverine trailers, coupled with his classic yellow-and-blue costume, opens the possibility of Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine in Deadpool & Wolverine being the exact same character who defends the X-Mansion in X-Men ’97.

Despite having the time-traveling Cable on their side, the Genosha tragedy is impossible to undo in the X-Men ’97 timeline. As Beast explains, the attack must be an “absolute point” in time, as described by the “Mystics of Kamar Taj” of his universe.

Deadpool & Wolverine Doesn’t Need To Tie Directly Into X-Men ‘97 To Feature Its Wolverine Variant

Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine Could Be A Slightly Different Variant Of X-Men ’97’s Logan

Wolverine in X-Men '97 and Hugh Jackman Wearing the Classic Suit in Deadpool & Wolverine

One potential issue in this theory could be that linking the events of Deadpool & Wolverine with X-Men ’97‘s dark future could place hard limits on both universes. If Hugh Jackman played the exact same Wolverine variant seen in X-Men ’97, then the animated show would need to make Bastion’s plans truly inevitable, or the MCU movie would need to adapt itself to X-Men ’97‘s conclusion. To avoid this problem, Deadpool & Wolverine could explain that Hugh Jackman’s Logan comes from one of X-Men ’97‘s neighboring timelines — one where live-action mutants were tragically unable to stop Basion.

The MCU has set the precedent for live-action X-Men variants who resemble their X-Men ’97 counterparts. Patrick Stewart made a brief appearance as Professor X in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness wearing his 1990s green suit and sitting on his yellow hover-chair. Kelsey Grammer then appeared in The Marvels‘ post-credits scene as a Beast variant who resembles his X-Men ’97 counterpart. Yet, these live-action variants clearly aren’t the exact same characters seen in X-Men ’97 or X-Men: The Animated Series. Similarly, Hugh Jackman’s new variant could be a live-action copy of X-Men ’97‘s Wolverine in Deadpool & Wolverine.

Wolverine Can Redeem Himself In The MCU For The Fall Of Genosha

X-Men ’97’s Worst-Case Scenario Could Inspire Wolverine To Defeat Cassandra Nova

Wolverine fighting Cassandra Nova in Deadpool & Wolverine's first trailer

If true, X-Men ’97‘s possible connection to Deadpool & Wolverine could point to Wolverine’s arc in the Phase 5 movie. Having failed to stop the Sentinels from taking over Earth and subjugating mutants, Wolverine’s dormant thirst for revenge could be awakened by Deadpool and the TVA. The chance to save mutants from another supervillain, albeit in a different universe altogether, could provide Wolverine with a long-deserved sense of closure. Wolverine’s heroic efforts in Deadpool & Wolverine could be even more satisfying for him if he’s able to save a Gambit variant in the Void.

The Deadpool & Wolverine trailer includes a shot of Wolverine kneeling in a field in front of multiple gravestones. While this could be an illusion made by Cassandra Nova to torment Wolverine, it’s possible that this scene is the same kind of immersive flashback that the TVA used as a time loop in order to force Loki to self-reflect. Either way, revisiting X-Men ’97‘s dark future could convince Wolverine to take action in Deadpool & Wolverine and prevent other mutant variants from meeting the same fate as his universe’s mutant population.

Marvel’s Live-Action And Animated Universes Can Coexist

The MCU Already Has Brought Live-Action And Animation Together

Captain Carter and Evil Doctor Strange Variants Meet in the MCU's What If and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Despite its animated format, Marvel’s What If…? features off-shoot timelines directly based on characters from the MCU’s main continuity, Earth-616. What If…? variants such as Strange Supreme and Captain Carter also have their own live-action counterparts with similar personalities but a different backstory: Sinister Strange and Earth-838’s Captain Carter in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Over at Sony, the animated movie Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse acknowledged Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield, and Tom Holland’s Spider-Men as part of the Spider-Verse.

Marvel’s animated and live-action properties have come closer together before, and Deadpool & Wolverine might take it a step further.X-Men ’97‘s connection to Deadpool & Wolverine would be the biggest crossover between live-action and animation so far. Although linking two mostly unrelated projects together could be detrimental for both, it could also create a stronger bond between Marvel’s projects and add new layers to each of their stories. A few years down the line, Avengers 5 and Avengers: Secret Wars could then feature multiple animated characters alongside MCU icons — though fully translating them to the live-action format, of course.

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