I’ve Worked Out Where Wolverine’s Story Is Heading In X-Men ‘97 And You’re Not Ready

X-Men ’97 destroyed Wolverine, but Marvel’s most popular mutant could have an incredibly dark future thanks to the return of Apocalypse.

I've Worked Out Where Wolverine's Story Is Heading In X-Men '97 And You're  Not Ready

I know exactly how X-Men ‘97 should resolve Wolverine’s story, and the show has already set it up by drawing from Marvel history. Thanks to the shocking cliffhanger in X-Men ‘97’s ending, we already know that Apocalypse is back and Gambit will probably follow. The other X-Men are scattered across the timeline, and Wolverine is a shadow of his former self, stripped of his Adamantium.

That big moment in the middle of X-Men ‘97’s 3-part finale sent shockwaves through the universe and marked Magneto’s darkest development. And while Wolverine sat out the third part unconscious (with Morph touchingly watching over him and admitting their love), there could be a very big, and very dark future for Logan. And I’m pretty sure I know what how X-Men ’97 season 2 could take things even further.

X-Men ’97 Set Wolverine Up For A Far Darker Season 2 Story

Wolverine is attacked by Magneto in X-Men '97 season 1 Ep 9

When Magneto stripped Wolverine of his Adamantium in the comics, he did what any rational person would do: he went feral, misplaced his nose, and licked Cyclops. Not all at once, of course, but it was all very improper.

So why did Wolverine turn feral when he lost his Adamantium? In a story conceit not unlike Logan’s acknowledgment that the Adamantium was killing Wolverine, the comics established that the metal was suppressing his mutation, as if he was always fated to be savage. Following that storyline in X-Men ‘97 season 2 will see a wilder, more dangerous Wolverine forced to reconcile his innate condition with his role as a hero.

In the comics, Wolverine won his battle with savagery without the return of his claws, but he still sought them out. He constantly had the capacity to fall into savagery, and control is as important to Wolverine as it is to The Hulk. Hopefully, X-Men ‘97 will continue its darker storytelling edge to show him as an internal threat to the team and the inevitable debate over what to do with him.

Eventually, after multiple failed attempts to get his metal skeleton rebonded, Wolverine came face to face with Apocalypse, who gave him an offer the honorable Logan could not refuse and created one of the coolest versions of Wolverine in X-Men history: Death.

I’m Convinced Wolverine Will Be Apocalypse’s Second Horseman

Apocalypse Holds Gambit Card in X-Men '97 Episode 10

When Wolverine faced Apocalypse he was given what amounted to an audition to become one of his horsemen, in return for the restoration of his Adamantium. Typically, this wasn’t exactly a fair negotiation, as the alternative was Sabretooth becoming the horseman Death, and potentially posingn an even greater threat. So, Wolverine opted in and fought his old enemy for the right to become Death.

Given how X-Men ‘97 season 1’s ending sets up Apocalypse and the recruitment of a resurrected Gambit to be Death, there’s scope here for a variation on that story. Wolverine is a comfortable outsider, but his turn to a more feral side could easily force his hand, and Apocalypse preying on a vulnerable but very powerful hero would fit his usual style. It makes a lot of sense that Logan would become a Horseman, perhaps War, given his military background.

This would all also fit Wolverine’s established nature. He is the one to make the sacrifice and the difficult decision, not so much reckless as willing to go beyond normal stakes. That’s exactly why he was the one to put the X-Men’s negotiations either Magneto aside in favor of stabbing him. He’s also wounded by his past, and an opportunity to not lose himself to wildness would be an excellent way to play into that.

X-Men ‘97 Can Go Where The X-Men Movies Couldn’t

Hugh Jackman's Wolverine looking at his claws in 2000's X-Men

An evil Wolverine is an incredibly exciting prospect, even if he chooses to for honorable reasons. The Fox mutant movies proved as much in Logan with Wolverine’s clone, of course, and we did get a flash of his more savage side in his Weapon-X sequence in X-Men: Apocalypse. But actually seeing an evil version with depth and who will have real agency is a different matter entirely.

There’s also an excellent symmetry to Wolverine becoming Apocalypse’s minion. In terms of dramatic tension, copying Logan’s origin story from The Animated Series – in terms of him being used as a weapon – would be particularly heartbreaking. And his journey back from that, after wreaking some havoc, would mean X-Men ’97 can give Wolverine a more substantial story, after accusations that season 1 consciously sidelined him.

When the X-Men met Wolverine in TAS , he was working with Alpha Flight, and felt like he was being used as a weapon.

As a final note, the issue with Wolverine in movies is that he’s too much of a conventional hero. His popularity changed him, with the movies consciously avoiding a pure adaptation to put him at the heart of the franchise. What better way to fix that than to boldly go in the opposite direction? That sounds like exactly what the impressive X-Men ‘97 would do…

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