'Logan' Skips the Comic Book Costume — and That's a Good Thing

Director James Mangold doesn't want to see Hugh Jackman's alter ego in his comic book outfit. Thanks, James.
20th Century Fox YouTube/Screengrab

Bad news for Wolverine fans who wanted to see Hugh Jackman don the classic comic book costume before he retired as the big-screen version of the beloved X-Men character: Logan director James Mangold says that it isn't going to happen.

"I always feel a certain contingent of fans who are yearning for it," Mangold told Screen Rant when asked about the comic book costume making an appearance in Jackman's final Wolverine movie. "But the biggest block I’ve had — I’m willing to take the heat for it — is that I can never get past, being a writer for these movies as well, that Logan is the least narcissistic of all the superheroes, any kind I can think of: Marvel, DC or anywhere else. What I mean by that is, who puts a special branded outfit on when they do good deeds? And why? The only reason you do it is so you can have some sort of trademarked claim and get credit for what you did. Nothing seems less Wolverine-like than the desire to put on a trademarked outfit, particularly canary yellow, and kind of prance about doing good deeds and have people go, 'Oh my God! It’s The Wolverine!' At least the Wolverine, as I see him, that’s a real struggle for me and always has been."

While there will undoubtedly be many who are disappointed by Mangold's attitude, here's the thing: he's entirely right. In fact, he's doubly right — not only would Wolverine (the movie version, certainly, but the same could be argued for his comic book incarnation) seem utterly incongruous putting on a superhero costume as most people recognize them, but the classic Wolverine comic book costume is one that would just look utterly ridiculous on him, and almost any other human being ever.

For one thing, Mangold is actually underselling the costume in question: it's not actually canary yellow — it's canary yellow with navy blue accents and gloves, while the knee-high boots each have two tapered "ears" on either side of the knee. (Later redesigns gave the character more reasonable boots, but maintained the color scheme for some inexplicable reason.) There's also the underwear on the outside motif, which may be traditional for superheroes — although less so for Marvel characters, interestingly enough — but hardly screams "bad-ass tough guy," and bright blue shoulder pads. I mean, can you really imagine taking Hugh Jackman seriously in this get-up?

It could be worse, though; the very first Wolverine costume actually had whiskers on the mask:

There have been numerous redesigns of Wolverine's comic book look along the way, of course. For a number of years, he wore a less garish take on the same idea, with orange and brown becoming the dominant colors; although he subsequently returned to the classic yellow and blue, he would change his footwear, his mask and — for one brief, shining moment that lasted less than three years — abandon the superhero look altogether in favor of just wearing a leather jacket, T-shirt and pants, instead. What prompted that redesign, ironically enough, was the success of Fox's first X-Men movie in 2000.

While Marvel Studios and, to a lesser extent, Warner Bros.' DC movies attempt to re-create fan-favorite costumes onscreen, Fox has always stayed away from doing so in the X-Men movies. On the one hand, that's a shame — the X-Men comics have some genuinely amazing costume designs in them — but, when it comes to Wolverine, it's one of the smartest decisions in the entire 17-year history of the franchise. Let's not ruin things just before they end.