SNIKT! Adamantium claws are suddenly less than an inch from your throat as a guy who looks like a cross between a werewolf and G.I. Joe washout pins you to a wall. The mutant mutters in an ominous and guttural tone: "Listen, bub. I'm the best at what I do. But what I do isn't very nice." Now flash back to reality.
Wolverine is one of the most beloved characters on the silver screen, especially since Hugh Jackman took on the role, delivering an unrivaled seven performances as the ill-tempered mutant, with Wolverine 3 set to pounce in March 2017. But how much do you really know about the world's favorite X-Man? I have compiled a list of 15 trivia facts about Logan to test your knowledge!
1. He was almost played by Russell Crowe
It's hard to imagine anyone but Hugh Jackman playing Wolverine, but he was actually not originally planned to portray the character at all! The role was first offered to Russell Crowe, who flatly refused — much like Logan in the scene below:
The role then went to Dougray Scott, who began initial filming but had to abandon the franchise three weeks into shooting due to scheduling conflicts. At the time, Bryan Singer was desperate to find a replacement, so he decided to take a huge gamble and cast Hugh Jackman, who was then largely unknown. It paid off big time both for Singer and Jackman.
2. His claws are actually part of his skeleton
Although the early Wolverine comics showed his claws as having been implanted as part of the Weapon X project, the more recent books have shown that Wolverine's claws are actually made of bone, and, like the rest of his skeletal structure, are merely fused with adamantium and not made solely of it.
His claws, (the ones made strictly of bone and not fused with adamantium), have appeared in several of the films, but due to the franchise's games with the timeline, have had a "on-again-off-again" relationship with the character, appearing in some of the films but not in others.
3. He was almost a totally different animal
Yup, that's right. Wolverine was nearly a badger. As vicious as the creature in the above photo looks, I'm pretty sure a guy called "Badger" would be hard to take seriously. The name "Wolverine" even sounds scary, so it's hard to think that Logan almost wasn't one.
Writer Len Wein was asked to create a Canadian character to bolster the dwindling market in that area of the continent, and decided to choose an animal that called the frozen north "home." He narrowed it down to "badger" or "wolverine." Lucky for everyone, he went with Wolverine.
4. It actually hurts to extend his claws
Ever wonder what causes that distinctive "snikt" sound when Wolverine extends his claws? Well, I've got some gruesome news for you. That sound is actually the sound of Wolverine's claws ripping through his flesh. Now there's a reason we don't actually see Logan howling in pain whenever that happens, and that's thanks to his handy-dandy mutant healing factor, which heals those minor cuts almost immediately.
But that doesn't mean Wolverine doesn't feel the pain. He does, but he's a tough guy so he does what he can to ignore it. However, there have been instances in which Logan's healing factor is weaker than usual, and in these cases, he actually does scream and bleed profusely when releasing his claws.
5. Frank Miller came up with his catchphrase
It's true. Frank Miller, the creator of the critically acclaimed Batman comic The Dark Knight Returns actually originated Wolverine's iconic catchphrase. Originally, Wolverine wasn't as tonally dark as some other characters, but due to Frank Miller's intervention, he's become the much more troubled and conflicted character we know and love today.
6. Wolverine's claws were originally part of his suit, not his body
Way, way, back in the mid-1970's, Wolverine's claws were actually part of his suit, attached to his gloves. But, as all stories, (especially comic stories), change with time, his origin was later shown to include his claws as part of his physical bone structure rather than a feature of his suit.
In the 1980's, Marvel released a wonderful little book called The Official Marvel Handbook, which stated Wolverine's claws to be composed entirely from adamantium and fused to his natural skeleton. This was changed again in 1993, the bone claws were created, showing that they were actually one of Logan's mutated physical attributes rather than the product of science.
7. He wasn't supposed to be an X-Man
Back in 1974, when Wolverine was originally created, he wasn't even supposed to appear in more than one issue. He was supposed to be just another one-shot character seeking to do battle against Marvel's Not-So-Jolly Green Giant, but in 1975's Giant Sized X-Men #1, he popped up again, and was officially dubbed a member of the X-Men in X-Men #94. Even in that issue, he was a minor character, being passed over by some of the more established and "flashier" X-Men. Little did they realize that Wolverine was set to become the flagship member of the franchise.
8. His prop claws got a major redesign in The Wolverine
As you can see in the GIF above, Hugh Jackman's prop claws in most of the early X-Men films were basically straight with only a slight curve at the end. The redesign, first seen in The Wolverine, has much more curved claws as well as repositioning them in a way that actually made their location more anatomically believable. The original claws were higher and further away from the palms of Wolverine's hands while the new claws are positioned to pop out between the knuckles, whereas the original claws pop out above Wolverine's fingers, which would make it physically impossible for them to retract into his forearms.
9. Wolverine's character was almost scrapped because it wasn't "exciting"
Way back in 1975, (see point 7), Wolverine's entire existence was on thin ice. Before he got the complicated but incredible backstory — which has come to define the character as we know him today — he was almost dropped completely because the comic writers found him boring. However, Canadian artist John Byrne saved the character from destruction because he hated the idea of Marvel dropping one of their only Canadian characters.
10. He rarely needs to sharpen his claws
Before the adamantium claws came around, Wolverine sharpened his bone claws the same way animals do: by using them. However, the addition of the adamantium changed all that, because it's one of the strongest metals in the Marvel Universe. Since the adamantium was fused to the bone claws, they are rarely dulled enough to need sharpening because 99% of the objects he uses them on are not as hard as the claws themselves. He has been known from time to time to sharpen his claws, (usually by using his other claws), mostly as a pre-battle ritual rather than out of necessity.
11. He had some crazy origin stories before getting the one we know today
These days, pretty much everyone knows Wolverine's origin story, but back when the character was first starting out ... let's just say some seriously wacky stuff went down. All of these original origin stories have either been retconned or willed into oblivion, but let's take a look at two of the crazier ones.
First up, rumor has it that Wolverine was supposed to be a blend of human and animal DNA, making him a science project gone haywire rather than an actual mutant (as he is today). This story was officially denied by Wolverine writer Len Wein, who claimed that no such story was ever considered.
Oh, but the crazier story? He was originally his worst enemy's kid. Yes, you read that correctly. Wolverine was originally the son of Sabretooth. However, Marvel wasn't thrilled with the concept of Logan fighting his dear old dad, so they retconned things again and stated that Sabertooth was actually Wolverine's rival since goodness only knows when.
12. He can release his claws individually
Yes, Wolverine is rarely seen without all of his claws open, but that doesn't mean he always has all of them out at once. He usually has all six out at once because they're his primary weapons, but he's been known to extend one at a time when intimidating an enemy.
Also, he's been known to only release the claws on one hand, which is by far the most common of the instances in which he doesn't release them all at once. Another handy feature is that all of the claws can be released to different lengths.
13. When Magneto ripped the adamantium from his body, he turned into a noseless monster for a while
In what is arguably the most brutal comic in history (besides The Killing Joke) Magneto did what no person (or mutant) who had even a shred of decency would do: He forcibly ripped the adamantium from Wolverine's skeleton, claws included. Ouch.
Wolverine did eventually regrow his claws (in bone form), but in the meantime, his mutated cells went into overdrive. He turned into basically a human-sized wolverine, (although he was conspicuously lacking a nose), and remained in this state for most of 1993. The story of how his metal skeleton reappeared is long, complicated, and frankly not worth telling.
14. Wolverine's claws aren't pure adamantium
In the Marvel universe, there are multiple forms of adamantium. There is "Pure" or "True" adamantium, originally developed as an attempt at replicating Cap's shield, but it is difficult and expensive to make, so it is very rare (even though it is arguably the strongest material in the Marvel Universe). Because of the complications incurred by attempting to mass-produce "Pure" adamantium, there is a weaker form known simply as "Secondary adamantium."
A third form of adamantium (that which is found in Wolverine), is known as "Adamantium Beta" which is natural adamantium interacting with Wolverine's healing factor in such a way that he can regenerate adamantium body parts, but doesn't have to worry about the adamantium obstructing his natural bodily functions.
15. His claws are NOT stronger than Cap's shield (except they sort of are)
To really explain this one, we have to discuss a fourth form of adamantium, "Proto Adamantium" which is an alloy of "Pure" Adamantium with Vibranium. But here's where things get tricky, so stay with me.
Originally, Wolverine's skeleton was reinforced with "Pure" Adamantium, but turned into "Adamantium Beta," which is not as strong. So currently, if the two ever came to blows, Wolverine probably wouldn't accomplish anything against Cap's "Proto Adamantium" shield. But all that's in the comics.
Here's where the real issues start. In the MCU, Cap's shield is pure Vibranium, (as Fox owns the rights to all forms of adamantium), and Wolverine's claws are referred to in the current X-Men franchise as being made simply of "adamantium" without all the compounded types from the comics, meaning that if Hugh Jackman's Wolverine ever came face to face with Chris Evans's Captain America, Cap just better hope Wolverine's in a good mood, or else he better just find a good foxhole to hide in.