Warning: the following contains spoilers
Whether you think they’re the best thing about superhero movies or a cynical attempt to generate marketing hype, it’s hard to remember what it was like to see a superhero film in the cinema before they all had their customary post-credits sequence attached. Daredevil might not have done a lot for the superhero genre, but its comedy post-credits appearance of Bullseye paved the way for what was to come. Easter eggs and fan-service for all!
Admittedly, X-Men Origins: Wolverine stretched the idea almost to breaking point, with multiple post-credits scenes attached to different prints of the film, but this time around The Wolverine plays things much safer. Indeed, there’s a post-credits sting that might actually rival the first Iron Man in terms of the excitement it’ll generate in audiences.
But what does it actually tell us about what we might see next? We’ve got a few thoughts lined up. From this point on, this article is a spoiler zone. Beware. This really is a scene that deserves to be experienced properly, with no knowledge of what’s coming, so if you don’t want to know what happens at the end of The Wolverine and beyond, look away now.
The post-credits scene for The Wolverine takes place as in a crowded airport, tagged “Two Years Later”. Logan is queuing to board a flight, and notices a report on a nearby TV about the huge technological advances Trask Industries has been making. Just as he’s about to pass through a metal-detecting security scanner, he sees objects begin to float out of the security trays and towards him. Metal objects. He spins around only to come face to face with none other than Magneto! Popping his (still bone) claws, he attempts to attack his enemy, but Eric’s powers keep him pinned in place, those around them oblivious to the scene.
Magneto gives Wolvey the full super-villain rant. Tells him he should join his cause, because there’s a grave danger approaching. A threat to all mutantkind. Logan throws the offer back in his face, asking why he should trust anything Magneto says. But as he does, we notice the people in the background of the scene come to a complete standstill, somehow frozen in place. Magneto says he knew Wolverine wouldn’t believe him, which is why he brought a friend.
Wolverine looks around in disbelief as Charles Xavier approaches in his wheelchair, weaving around the people he’s brought to a stop with his psychic powers. Wolverine asks how it’s even possible for him to be alive, and Xavier replies, “As I told you once before, you are not the only one with gifts.”
And cut to credits.
What it means
It doesn’t take a genius to notice that the ending of The Wolverine is a clear lead-in to X-Men: Days Of Future Past. Even if we didn’t already know the title of the X-Men sequel, the clues are all there. In the source material, Trask Industries is the company that created the mutant-hunting robots, the Sentinels, and it’s already confirmed that Peter Dinklage is playing Bolivar Trask – the head of the company – in the follow-up.
Furthermore, the original Days Of Future Past storyline involves the X-Men of the future sending one of their number back in time to try and prevent the rise of the Sentinels who have successfully rounded-up and exterminated almost every member of the mutant race. There’s no doubt that this is the coming threat Magneto is referring to.
But that’s only the most basic piece of information we’re supposed to get from the scene. There are other things worth pointing out.
For a start, the fact that Magneto’s powers have returned, apparently in full, is a big deal. Not only does it imply that the issue of a “Mutant Cure” (as seen in X-Men: The Last Stand) is off the table, it also implies that other mutants who received the cure will also have their powers back. Most obviously, that means Rogue, who ended the third X-Men film apparently freed from her cursed mutant powers. We wouldn’t be surprised if the new film includes a strand of her dealing with the false hope that provided.
Perhaps more surprisingly, Professor Xavier is alive! Okay, we already sort-of had confirmation of this in the post-credits scene of X-Men: The Last Stand, but only in a vague manner, with no indication of what actually happened there. In the comics, Xavier once cheated death by transferring his mind into a clone of himself. On the X-Men 3 commentary, it’s stated that the “John Doe” MacTaggart is keeping on life support is actually the Professor’s braindead twin brother, whose mind was destroyed in the womb by Charles’ emerging powers, and that the Professor has transferred his mind into his twin’s body (seems a little dark to us).
We might simply suggest that the professor simply used his psychic abilities to fake his own death and go into hiding to recuperate and prepare for the coming threat, however. This is something else he’s done in the comics, after all.
Whatever the explanation, it’s sure to be an interesting one. The revolving door of death in superhero comics is much-mocked, so applying the same resurrection techniques to superhero movies has the potential to undermine any future deaths. However they explain Xavier’s return, they might want to make sure it can’t be re-used too easily.
The final thing The Wolverine‘s post-credits sequence tells us concerns Wolverine himself. The final moments of The Wolverine are, to put it bluntly, something of a surprise. Much like Marvel’s first 2013 blockbuster, the film isn’t afraid to leave its hero with some rather permanent-looking changes. In Iron Man 3, it was the loss of the arc-reactor heart. In The Wolverine, it was the loss of his metal claws.
The fact that the post-credits scene happens two years later means that one way or another, Wolverine has been walking around with nothing but bone claws for two solid years. And similarly, Yukio is nowhere to be found, suggesting that the two have parted company. It’s hard to say why that two year gap was inserted into the chronology. Is the plan to try and fit a future Wolverine sequel in that gap to explain what happens to Yukio and Mariko? Or was it just an easy way to get those characters off the board without forcing people to ask why he’s simply forgotten about them in X-Men: DOFP? It’s hard to say, but we’ll be thinking about both possibilities while watching the next X-Men movie.
The stinger also leaves us with one final question to ponder: Will Wolverine get his metal claws back? And if so, how? Weapon X could do it, but it’s hard to imagine him voluntarily getting his Adamantium back off them. Magneto could maybe do it in DOFP – after all, in the comics he famously removed the Adamantium from Wolverine’s bones.
But maybe it’s the most subtle lead-in of all. In the comics, Wolverine had bone claws for years, before Apocalypse eventually returned the metal to his bones against Logan’s will. Dare we hope that Fox are actually lining up Apocalypse for the X-Men film that comes after Days Of Future Past? Let’s put it this way: we’re dealing with time travel, dystopian futures and an X-Force film being mooted. A better question might be to ask where is this heading if not towards Apocalypse?
Still, we’ve got a lot of ground yet to cover before then, but one thing is certain: if Days Of Future Past is half as entertaining as this post-credits scene was, there’s a chance it’ll give Avengers a run for its money.
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