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Logan Director Explains Why Wolverine’s Yellow Costume Doesn’t Make Sense

February 21, 2017

The original X-Men movie trilogy, a set of films that helped establish the superhero mega genre we enjoy today, was often criticized for its use of black leather costumes – a significant deviation from the classic Marvel Comics designs of the characters. The medium was different then and superheroes weren’t “mainstream” whereas now, seeing Iron Man in red, Captain America in blue, and a completely accurate-to-the-source-material Deadpool totally works.

So, when James Mangold’s 2013 hit The Wolverine was approaching its home video release and images (and a display at an event for the film) revealed a faithful yellow and brown costume in the “Unleashed Edition” of the movie for Hugh Jackman to potentially wear inside of a case, there was a lot of reason to be excited for.

Jackman of course returned for the following year’s X-Men: Days of Future Past but wore a different, armor-heavy futuristic costume and in Logan, there are no superhero costumes at all. So, why the tease and was there ever a plan to let Hugh Jackman suit up in the classic comic book costume the Wolverine and his successor (X-23) are so recognized for?

Speaking with James Mangold, who helped form the story, write the screenplay, and direct Logan, I was told an interesting answer that may disappoint some fans.

With The Wolverine: Unleashed Edition, we get that great tease, of course, of the yellow costume – was there ever any pressure or desire to, “Fine, let’s suit him up in the yellow”?

James Mangold: I always feel a certain contingent of fans who are yearning for it. 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. I somehow feel that if somehow we ever put Hugh [Jackman] into one of those outfits, people would not be happy. Essentially, it’s something that lives on the page and I’m not sure could live anywhere else.

Mangold totally understands the desire to see it, and it was he who managed to squeeze in the fun nod to fans in The Wolverine after the movie was shot, but his explanation is sound for the stories and setting he’s trying to explore. In our interview with Hugh Jackman, he – like Mangold did later as well – reiterated and heavily emphasized that Logan is the last Wolverine story for Hugh. And with this response, despite Hugh’s personal interest in the yellow costume, we may never see him wear it. Unless of course, the super secret Logan post-credits scene is a big twist and there will be more of Hugh Jackman, but the Aussie star himself seems more keen on the idea of recasting the character.