How Wolverine Could Perfectly Bridge the Gap Between Marvel Superhero Eras in Deadpool 3

Hugh Jackman has been a key fan favorite Marvel character as Wolverine. Now, it's time for him to officially pass the "star mutant" torch to Ryan Reynolds' Deadpool in the MCU.

Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool and Hugh Jackman as Wolverine in Logan
Photo: 20th Century Studios

This article contains MCU spoilers

Ryan Reynolds has become quite the social media influencer, producing countless videos to promote Aviation Gin, Wrexham Football Club and now… Deadpool 3! It came as quite a surprise for fans who had expected to see something about the Merc with a Mouth at D23, but Reynolds decided to break the big news through yet another comedy clip instead, which was surely overseen by the upcoming Marvel movie’s director, Shawn Levy.

While the video might have teased the fact that Deadpool will definitely be entering the Marvel Cinematic Universe in its third instalment, it also set the record straight that Hugh Jackman will be returning to portray Wolverine, one last time. It’s a monumental announcement that could have major repercussions for the future of the franchise, but it also offers up plenty of questions and opportunities for Mutants and the FOX X-Men movies of the past. 

Could Deadpool 3 be the movie needed to bridge the gap between the two superhero eras? How will Logan’s comeback actually be explained? And what could all of this mean for the MCU moving forward? 

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Tying up Loose Ends

Before speculating on how Wolverine may play into the threequel, it’s important to remember where we last left Wade Wilson. The character was in an interesting position, forming a new team and reuniting with the love of his life. There are plenty of plot threads that Deadpool 3 is going to have to face head-on if it is to act as a sequel, rather than a soft reboot. 

Deadpool actually stole Cable’s time travelling device at the end of the last movie, allowing him to rescue his partner Vanessa Carlysle from her grim fate. This could have re-written the timeline in a number of ways, but the post-credits sequence also saw Wade Wilson continuing to jump across the stream, throwing reality into further chaos. With the Multiverse at the center of the current phase of the MCU, it seems Deadpool 2 created the perfect pathway towards combining those narrative concepts. 

Not only was Deadpool reunited with Vanessa, he had also become a part of X-Force, a group of super powered individuals with a moral compass as gray as the hitman’s. Domino, Firefist, and Cable were joined by X-Men members Colossus, Negasonic Teenage Warhead and Yukio, to round out the unit. Deadpool was almost on the path to redemption, demonstrating a few more heroic characteristics that indicated the protagonist was continuing to evolve. Any sequel would have to take into account those moving stories (especially with Cable stuck in the present day) while paying off any of that significant development. But by introducing Wolverine into the equation, an interesting dynamic may arise that sees Deadpool having to pick a side between them. 

Bringing Back Wolverine 

While the third film may continue to play upon the themes and arcs of the previous instalments, it has also promised to reunite Wade Wilson and Logan on screen. Their history is a complex one, with Wolverine getting referenced in both Deadpool films, while the Merc without a Mouth made his debut in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. The last time audiences saw Logan, he was finally laid to rest after his healing factor finally gave up in the dystopian future depicted in Logan inspired by the Old Man Logan comic book. However, the story did take place in 2029, after Deadpool 3

Plus, there are other timelines out there where Wolverine is very much alive. The way reality was reset in X-Men: Days of Future Past is one such example of a timeline that could see Logan living out his best days. Wolverine’s own character arc could get a little complex, as audiences won’t exactly know what he has previously experienced. But there’s surely a way for Deadpool to catch Wolvie up on his adventures from multiple timelines, much in the same way the trickster god was reminded of his possible pasts in Loki

Boarding the MCU

There are plenty of ways Wolverine and Deadpool may come to exist in the same timeline. While we’ve touched on the different realities Wolverine still exists in, how he could travel between them is currently a mystery. Of course, there’s always the slim possibility that the Logan seen in Deadpool 3 could already be native to the timeline that Wade Wilson operates in. After all, audiences have also seen an iteration of the X-Men from the First Class universe. 

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Deadpool’s interference with the time stream might be the most obvious explanation. Whether it’s Wilson who travels to yet another reality featuring the X-Man, or whether Wolvie is drawn to Deadpool’s own universe, the time watch will probably be responsible. Deadpool 2 did see the character briefly cross paths with Wolverine, and this may have completely destroyed his own time. 

There’s also the matter of the death of He Who Remains. The Multiverse, thanks to the MCU, was hugely weakened after Sylvie killed the man responsible for keeping everything in check. Doctor Strange has only tampered with the walls between worlds further. With Kang’s invasion imminent, is the collapse of realities responsible for bringing Wolverine and Deadpool together? Or is the Watcher interfering with proceedings, knowing that the duo have to be paired up to combat upcoming threats. 

A final option may involve Mutants who exhibit powers related to the wider planes of existence. X-Men: Days of Future Past initiated the concept that the X-Men could control the flow of time in their own right. Legion took the idea further, with the combination of David Haller and Jia-Yi’s abilities creating a complete reboot of his respective timeline. The potential for this avenue to be explored is far smaller, but the powers of the X-Gene shouldn’t be overlooked. 

Whose Wolverine is this Anyway?

Just like there are multiple iterations of Wolverine, there may also be different incarnations of the supporting characters in Deadpool’s life. In fact, there are even a few Wade Wilson variants that have been portrayed in the past, so why couldn’t there be more? Just because this is Deadpool 3, does it mean that the version of the characters brought to life are exactly the same? In the promotional video, Reynolds did mention that “every Deadpool needs to stand out and stand apart.”

Perhaps Marvel Studios is looking for a soft-reboot that can easily fit into the MCU mould. If Marvel wants to start completely fresh they might take a Daredevil approach, essentially keeping everything the same without referencing previous events too much. The very universe that the threequel takes place in might be a tiny bit different, to avoid the confusion of clashing timelines (something that Deadpool has previously played on in a humorous and meta way). 

A Revival for FOX’s X-Men

The creative team behind this film are surely not worried about playing around with the various realities. The stakes are perhaps even bigger now that it’s going to be linked to the MCU. But with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness already pulling in a variant of Professor Xavier portrayed by Patrick Stewart, and WandaVision teasing Evan Peters’ Quicksilver, maybe it’s time for one last hurrah for the FOX X-Men franchise

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Previous Deadpool movies have flirted with bringing in the stars of the past and laughed at the continuity of the franchise. With the Multiverse in play at this moment, why not use the opportunity to have a road trip film of sorts, featuring Wolverine and Deadpool, bringing back the X-Men and perhaps even unifying the realities? Ryan Reynolds spoke about the film being a special introduction to the MCU, and this could be how it’s achieved. 

Whether Deadpool 3 brings some of the FOX X-Men into the MCU to join the likes of Namor and Ms. Marvel, who are already flying the X-Gene flag, remains to be seen. But what can’t be ignored is the release date. Deadpool 3 is currently slated for September 6, 2024. It’s no coincidence that the date parks it squarely before the massive Avengers movies and Fantastic Four, both of which involve Kang and the future of the MCU. Deadpool 3 might thus be putting everything in place for an epic Secret Wars involving returning X-Men, Wolverine and Wade Wilson himself, marking a further connection to the franchises of the past. 

Star Mutant Mantle

The future of the Mutants and Deadpool is unclear. The latter is probably going to be brought into the MCU via the sequel for the long-term. Maybe Deadpool 3 will be a path to a Multiversal event, rather than a significant method to introduce Mutants to Earth-616; Marvel Studios will want to put their own spin on these characters after all. 

Regardless of the approach, what cannot be denied is that Hugh Jackman’s return has massive implications. With the potential for further connections to the MCU, a link with the FOX franchise, and the indication that audiences will get some kind of closure on Deadpool’s past outings, the movie is starting to look like the end of an era and the start of something new at Disney. Hugh Jackman held the torch for the Mutants for FOX for a long time, maybe it’s time to pass it on to Ryan Reynolds as he embarks into a new reality.