All The Wolverine Setup In The MCU So Far (Before Deadpool 3)

Prior to the announcement that Wolverine is in Deadpool 3, the MCU had already created some building blocks for the character’s arrival. After years of speculation regarding which actor Marvel will cast to play its take on Wolverine, it was confirmed that Marvel won’t actually be recasting him for his first official MCU appearance. Instead, Hugh Jackman will be back to play Wolverine in Deadpool 3.

A Wolverine-Deadpool movie has been sort of a dream team-up for so many people for years, but Jackman’s decision to step away from the role and the end of FOX’s X-Men franchise led to the impression that such a story had no chance of ever happening. However, it’s now known that the Merc with the Mouth and Jackman’s X-Men character will indeed be crossing paths on the big screen. Plot details haven’t been revealed as of yet, but the claw marks on the new Deadpool 3 logo make it abundantly clear that Wolverine will have a major role in Deadpool’s third cinematic adventure.


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Ryan Reynolds’ Wade Wilson officially becoming a part of the MCU was huge enough on its own, and now it seems FOX’s two biggest X-Men characters will be joining the MCU together in the same movie. For now, it’s unclear if Wolverine’s Deadpool 3 role will be a one-off guest appearance via the multiverse in the same way that Doctor Strange 2 used Professor X or something with much bigger implications. Either way, Wolverine’s involvement is a shocking development for the Multiverse Saga – but not one without proper setup. Here’s how Marvel has gradually laid the groundwork for the mutant anti-hero to eventually join the MCU.

Captain America’s Super Soldier Serum Is Tied To Wolverine

Captain America: The First Avenger contains a subtle link to Wolverine’s origin story. In the comic books, Wolverine received his adamantium exoskeleton from a secret government test known as Weapon X. The experiment was the tenth phase in a much larger operation called Weapon Plus. The first phase was Project: Rebirth, the name given to the experiment that turned Steve Rogers into a super soldier. In other words, the procedure that turned Wolverine into Weapon X was essentially an evolution of a long-running program that began with Captain America in the 1940s. As proven that the events that played out in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, attempts to create super soldiers didn’t end with Steve Rogers. For that reason, Weapon X being initiated at some point in the MCU timeline is something that really could have happened. The setup for that story is certainly there.

The Falcon & The Winter Soldier Introduced Madripoor

Marvel Madripoor

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier confirmed that Wolverine’s stomping grounds from Marvel Comics is part of its world. The show spent a portion of its story in Madripoor, a prominent location in X-Men comics and a place where Wolverine can often be found drinking, brawling, or fighting local thugs. One particular place in Madripoor where he spends a great deal of his time – the Princess Bar – was spotted rather briefly in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier episode 3. By making use of Madripoor and the Princess Bar, Phase 4 introduced the very place where Wolverine could be right now in the MCU.

Doctor Strange 2 Made Fox’s X-Men Characters Multiverse Canon

Patrick Stewart as Professor X in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Marvel took a massive step toward Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine joining the MCU in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Featuring Stewart as Charles Xavier served as confirmation that FOX’s X-Men movies are canon in the MCU’s multiverse. While the versions of Professor X, Cyclops, Storm, and Magneto seen in the X-Men movies may not have a presence on Earth-616, they do exist as real people in at least one of the thousands of realities found in the MCU’s multiverse. Of course, that means that Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine is out there somewhere in the multiverse too, regardless of whether or not there’s a Wolverine on Earth-616.

RELATED:Phase 4 Is Removing Deadpool's Biggest MCU Obstacles (Before Deadpool 3)

Ms. Marvel Introduced Mutants Into The MCU

Kamala Khan is Ms Marvel at AvengersCon looking at artwork

While Doctor Strange 2 did establish that mutants have a presence in the multiverse, it didn’t go as far as to confirm that the X-Men or any of the mutants have Earth-616 counterparts. Marvel left that job to Ms. Marvel, which dropped a massive mutant reveal at the end of season 1. In a conversation with Kamala, Bruno Carrelli explained that her powers were triggered by a “mutation” in her genes. Through this revelation, Ms. Marvel introduced the MCU’s first-ever mutant and opened the door for several more of them to appear down the road. The MCU already has at least one more Marvel Comics mutant – Namor the Sub-Mariner – on the horizon. Now that the X-Men are connected to an existing concept in the MCU, Marvel has a way of easily bringing in Cyclops, Wolverine, Beast, and the rest of the X-Men whenever the studio pleases.

She-Hulk Teased Wolverine’s Existence In The MCU

She-Hulk Fighting For Name In Episode 5

As noted above, Doctor Strange 2 made it possible for the MCU to use the multiverse to introduce Jackman’s Wolverine. Interestingly, though, that may not actually be necessary. An easy-to-miss reference in She-Hulk: Attorney At Law episode 2 is a hint that a version of Logan is somewhere on Earth-616, meaning that he may already share the same universe as the Avengers, the Guardians of the Galaxy, Spider-Man, and all the others. Spotted on Jennifer Walters’ computer screen was an eye-catching headline that read, “Man Fights With Metal Claws In Bar Brawl.” Given that Wolverine is technically one of several Marvel Comics characters who fights with metal claws, the line doesn’t confirm his existence outright, but does makes it extremely likely.

After all, Wolverine may not be the only hero to use claws, but he is one of the only Marvel characters with a reputation for bringing them out in barroom brawls. Not only that, but he’s the most high-profile hero associated with this description. Marvel’s decision to throw a not-so-subtle Wolverine nod into Disney+’s She-Hulk show suggests that it’s in the process of getting audiences accustomed to the idea that Wolverine is laying low in the MCU somewhere, presumably choosing to stay out of large-scale conflicts like the battles with Thanos. The time for him to step out of the shadows could finally come in Deadpool 3, which could in turn lead to appearances in other team-up movies, such as Avengers: The Kang Dynasty and Avengers: Secret Wars.

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