After nearly sixteen years of playing our favorite mutant, Hugh Jackman announced his retirement earlier this year, and immediately fans were outraged. How could the perfect actor for Wolverine retire? What would happen to the character? Could the X-verse survive without him? Fancasts were made all the way from Tom Hardy to Sam Worthington. Though some predictions are a little outlandish, the fact remains that people want Wolverine, and if that means a recast, then they are willing to accept it.
While I have enjoyed the X-men franchise almost solely for the character, I don't believe that Weapon X should continue beyond Jackman's last run in the role. Instead, as we wrap up the Wolverine series with an Old Man Logan based film in Wolverine 3, I think that Wolverine's death is in order. Disagree? Allow me to explain my reasons.
Hugh Jackman wouldn't be replaced
I'm not sure if any one actor has been loved and respected in a superhero role like Hugh Jackman has over the last decade and a half. He's been the Wolverine far longer than any other comic book character, and in each film he's delivered a stunning performance. Even though some have been on the bottom of the list (X-Men Origins: Wolverine, X-2, X-Men: the Last Stand), Jackman still brought a real, full character. He has been able to to show the nuanced emotions that fill Logan that could easily get lost behind a rough exterior.
While there are actors who have skills equal to Jackman's (Tom Hardy, for instance), they've not been this character for as long. Like I said earlier, Hugh Jackman has played the same role for fifteen, going on sixteen, years. He knows the ins and outs like no one else. On a lesser note, he's also got the look. There are very few that look the part like Jackman does, both in build and face. By allowing this character to die (or retire) with Jackman's departure, it would be a way to honor both the character and the actor.
Wolverine's death would give the character closure
That's been the over-all theme of Logan: closure. He wishes to die, in part to pay for his sins and in another part to finally have peace. As hard as this is to believe, Wolverine doesn't like the violence he so often partakes in. In Old Man Logan, we see him abstain from using his claws for half a century. He is the first to admit that while he's "The best at what he does," that it "isn't very nice." Though he found some meaning in The Wolverine, there is still that longing for death.
Logan, over the course of the franchise, has grown weary of living as a weapon. Giving the Wolverine a death in his final film would be the ending that he deserves. Like I said, it would be closure. The entire franchise for him has been about finding meaning, and finding satisfaction in life that I don't think will be found. Sometimes even the heroes don't get happy endings.
It opens the door for new 'Wolverines'
Wolverine had several children, either through cloning or other, more scandalous endeavors. The most prominent of his "kids" is X-23, a female clone created by the same program that made Wolverine in the first place. There are other options (like his son Daken), but I believe that X-23 would be an excellent replacement for Logan for a couple of reasons.
Firstly, the All New, All Different Marvel comic universe, X-23 is taking the role of Wolverine. Second, she can bring a younger, new spin to the character and franchise. Everyone expects rough and tough Hugh Jackman, so to have a small, feisty girl take over would be different, but would bring diversity and a dynamic feel to the films and universe.
Not to run off down a rabbit hole, but just imagine the scenes that could be had between these two. We know how Logan secretly has a soft spot, and watching him try to hide it with his daughter would be so beautiful to watch. The scenes where he tells her of the life that might have been (pre-DoFP world), or where he passes on the mantel of Wolverine. Even their fights would be amazing to see.
In conclusion, I'm hoping that Fox will phase Logan out of the picture, either through death, or an extended vacation. What would be excellent would be to bring in X-23, and have Jackman cameo from time to time, just to keep an eye on his daughter. Whether he reappears or whether another takes his place, the role of Logan shouldn't continue on past Jackman's departure. He has put so much into this role, and there is no one in my mind that could be the Wolverine that we expect and love. Bring in a new Wolverine for a new generation. Like all of us, Logan just wants closure, peace, serenity. And maybe, just maybe, death will do that for him.