Before the Avengers driven MCU existed there was another superhero franchise with multiple movies, the X-Men franchise.  It all started with 2000’s X-Men starring a relatively unknown actor at the time, Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. Hugh Jackman went on to make an appearance in every X-Men movie in the series.  He finally decided to retire his claws after 2017’s Logan[Spoiler Alert] Dark Phoenix is the first movie Wolverine does not make an appearance.

Hugh Jackman as Weapon X in X-Men: Apocalypse

But why?  Hugh Jackman made a brief appearance in X-Men Apocalypse as Weapon X (aka Wolverine for those that don’t read the comics), so we know he is alive in the current X-Men timeline.  Simon Kinberg, the film’s director, recently spoke with Rolling Stone magazine about why he didn’t include the fan favorite character in this recent installment of the X-Men movie series.

“If you know the Dark Phoenix story, you’d want to really service the love story between Logan and Jean,” says Kinberg. “And I think the notion of Hugh Jackman, as great as he looks for his age, and Sophie Turner — it didn’t sit well with me. Or anyone else!”

– Simon Kinberg, Rolling Stone
Simon Kinberg at the Dark Phoenix Los Angeles Premiere (Sthanlee B. Mirador/Sipa USA/TNS)

That can’t be the only reason Wolverine got benched!

Yes, in the comics Wolverine was in love with Jean.  However, that could have been written out for the movie or as it has been done in so many other movies these days, Hugh Jackman could have been made to look younger via CGI. Kinberg gives further explanation though as to why leaving that particular character out was paramount to the film.

Jean Grey and Wolverine embraced in a kiss in the comics.

“There was an element of this being Jean’s story,” he says. “And I was committing so fully to it that I didn’t want to run the risk of pulling away from Jean by going to the well of a fan-favorite character in these movies. I wanted this to be a very different experience of seeing an X-Men movie.”

– Simon Kinberg, Rolling Stone

No matter your feelings on Wolverine being in or out of this installment of the X-Men series, with the exception of the pending New Mutants, this will be the last time we see our favorite mutants for quite some time.  Dark Phoenix marks the last X-Men movie produced under Twentieth Century Fox and any future films will now be part of the existing MCU and Disney.

Dark Phoenix is currently in theaters.