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Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine will make his surprise return in ‘Deadpool 3’

Hugh Jackman attends the premiere of “The Son” at the Toronto International Film Festival Sept. 12. (Evan Agostini/Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Ryan Reynolds has some big news: His Deadpool is not the only X-Man set to enter the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Wolverine is coming with him. And not just any Wolverine. The Wolverine. Hugh Jackman.

Fans were wondering how Reynolds would make a splash as he brought his R-rated mouth into the primarily PG-13 MCU for the first time with “Deadpool 3,” and the answer is now simple: with Adamantium claws.

In a social media video Tuesday, Reynolds made the announcement of Jackman’s return to the X-Men movie world — which was especially shocking considering the character had died in 2017’s “Logan.” Reynolds proclaims a case of extreme writer’s block while preparing for “Deadpool 3,” which is set to arrive in theaters Sept. 6, 2024. He realizes he’s now in the superhero movie big leagues at Marvel Studios, and maybe not quite ready for the moment, but he says he did have one idea. And that’s when Jackman walks by in the background.

“Hey Hugh, do you want to play Wolverine one more time?” Reynolds asks.

“Yeah, sure, Ryan,” Jackman responds while walking up a flight of stairs and directly into the consciousness of geek fandom for the next two years.

Cue the Whitney Houston music. Yes, Reynolds always has a way of throwing in songs you’d never expect to hear in a superhero setting. Remember how important Wham!’s “Careless Whisper” was in the “Deadpool” movies? It’s surprising Reynolds didn’t get Kevin Costner to show up when the video ends with Houston’s classic rendition of “I Will Always Love You,” but if you listen hard enough, it almost sounds like “I will always love, Hugh,” which is Reynolds at maximum comedic power.

This is a homecoming of sorts. Reynolds made his debut as Wade Wilson (the man who eventually turns into Deadpool) in 2009 in Jackman’s first solo Wolverine outing, “X-Men: Origins Wolverine,” a movie just good enough to barely remember. He then spun off into his own “Deadpool” movie in 2016, creating a bloody and R-rated corner of superhero cinema, which was unheard of at the time. By the time “Deadpool 2” came along in 2018, Reynolds had separated himself from an X-Men movie franchise that was withering in the shadows of what Marvel Studios was accomplishing with the Avengers. Disney’s Marvel Studios had become the dominant creator of movies based on Marvel comics characters, and Reynolds’s “Deadpool” movies over at Fox were the only thing that could stand up to their might.

Fast forward to 2019 and Disney’s purchase of Fox (which owned the rights to X-Men movies before Marvel Studios was a thing), which created a gateway for Reynolds’s Deadpool and Jackman’s Wolverine to finally appear in a Marvel Studios production, under the oversight of its president Kevin Feige.

We, of course, should not be here. Jackman’s Wolverine died very dramatically and in R-rated fashion in James Mangold’s “Logan,” a movie meant to be a swan song for a beloved portrayal of one of the most popular comic book characters ever. Reynolds and Jackman alluded to this issue — but didn’t give away any secrets — in a tweet and a video posted Wednesday morning. It should be no surprise that Wham! was involved.

Let’s not forget that in 2018’s “Deadpool 2,” a post-credits scene featured Deadpool getting his hands on time-travel technology. He goes back in time and kills the very lame, mouth-sewn-shut version of himself that appears at the end of “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” — essentially saying sorry to fans for the horrible idea of closing the mouth of a guy whose main superpower is his sense of humor. And then he gives Wolverine a message that now seems like a much bigger hint than anyone previously realized.

“Look, eventually you’re going to hang up the claws,” Deadpool says in the scene. “And it’s going to make a lot of people very sad. But one day, your old pal Wade’s gonna ask you to get back in the saddle again. And when he does, say yes.”

Is that the loophole that will bring Jackman to the MCU? Maybe. Maybe not. This is the multiverse era at Marvel Studios right now, where alternate universes and alternate versions of heroes is a thing. There are plenty of options to justify Jackman’s Wolverine now walking in the land of the Avengers.

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Jackman signing off as Wolverine in 2017 after almost two decades on film felt like a geek Greek tragedy. The big bang of the last two decades of superhero dominance at movie theaters was when a little-known Jackman blew fans away with his performance in 2000’s “X-Men” despite being too tall and too handsome for the role. He didn’t play Wolverine. He was Wolverine. The hair. The grit. The growling. The claws. The only thing that was ever missing was his classic superhero suits (one brown, one yellow and blue), an accessory hopefully Marvel Studios can now add. It would be a crime not to. There wouldn’t be three “Ant-Man” movies without what Jackman accomplished in that first “X-Men” movie, let alone three “Deadpool” movies.

Which is why Jackman coming over to Marvel Studios feels so right. It was almost unfair that such a universally praised comic book inspired performance couldn’t breathe in the air of Marvel Studios because of executives’ decisions. There aren’t too many things from Fox’s X-Men movie era worth keeping alive at Marvel Studios, but if ever there was an exception, it’s Reynolds’s Deadpool and Jackman’s Wolverine.

And if Reynolds sitting on a toilet in his video reveal while reading “Wolverine” No. 21 is any indication, this Marvel team-up is in the right hands.

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