Possible Spoilers Alert
In 2000, the first X-Men film introduced us to Wolverine, a mutant with very little knowledge of his past. His mutant powers included a healing factor and three metal claws on each hand. In the sequel, X2, Colonel William Stryker hints at a shared past with Wolverine. Both of these films are set in the present day. In 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine, it was revealed that in the past, William Stryker recruited Wolverine as a part of Team X. He subjected Wolverine to a painful operation that reinforced his skeleton with adamantium, a virtually indestructible metal. In 2014’s X-Men: Days of Future Past, a distant-future team of X-Men sends Wolverine’s mind back in time to the 1970’s to inhabit the body of the Wolverine of that timeline. This 1970’s version of Wolverine has bone claws – so he has yet to be subjected to Stryker’s operation that laces his skeleton with adamantium.
Now, here’s where things start to get interesting. Thanks to the events of the time-traveling Wolverine, the X-Men events have been altered. For example, at the end of this movie, Stryker captures Wolverine – presumably, this is the point at which he will soon undergo the adamantium-bonding procedure. However, now that the events have been altered, at the end of X-Men: Days of Future Past, it’s revealed that Stryker has not captured Wolverine – instead, it is Mystique posing as Stryker that has him.
So, as we last saw, Wolverine has no adamantium bonded to his skeleton and the person that was going to take him and administer that process doesn’t have control of him. On April 25, 2016, a new trailer for X-Men: Apocalypse dropped and, at the 2:27 mark, it shows a clawed hand. We’re to assume that Wolverine will be in this film – which is set in the 1980’s. The claws on this hand are clearly sheathed in adamantium – so, somehow, Wolverine got the adamantium on his bones again. Although, it’s now quite possible that the adamantium did not come from Stryker’s procedure. Simon Kinberg, the man who wrote the screenplay for X-Men: Apocalypse and produced the film, when asked if “Wolverine will still get his adamantium claws” said: “We don’t see it because he doesn’t pop his claws at the end of the movie [but like with elements of the story] perhaps how he got his claws is different. But he lands ultimately in the same destination.”
So … how else could the adamantium have been attached to Wolverine’s skeleton?
A big clue is that the main villain of this next film is Apocalypse (read our full Apocalypse: X-Men Villain bio) – an ancient mutant that is known for enhancing mutants and recruiting them to be his Horsemen. One of the most notable cases of this is, in the comics, when Apocalypse transformed Angel into Archangel by giving him new, metallic wings whose razor-like feathers he can shoot off like throwing knives. In the film, we know that his Four Horsemen will consist of Magneto, Storm, Psylocke and Angel. We also have seen a recent photo shoot showing Storm in an X-Men uniform alongside the team – this uniform is certainly different than her Horseman outfit.
Now, here comes the Cyberspace Comics fan theory! Let’s say Storm defects to the X-Men, leaving a void to be filled in the Horsemen. Looking to fill that void, Apocalypse recruits Wolverine and enhances him with an adamantium-laced skeleton. This provides us with a perfectly good explanation of how Wolverine gets his adamantium back and fits in nicely with the Apocalypse storyline.
Now, mind you, this theory doesn’t just come out of nowhere. There’s certainly basis for it in the comics themselves. In Astonishing X-Men vol. 2 #1 (cover date: September 1999), a new Horseman of Death is introduced. And, in X-Men vol. 2 #95 (cover date: December 1999), that Horseman was revealed to be Wolverine. That very same month, in Wolverine vol. 2 #145, it was revealed that Apocalypse had taken the adamantium-free Wolverine (Magneto ripped the adamantium out of him in Wolverine vol. 2 #75) and enhanced him with the rare metal – turning him into Death.
Could the movie be following this very same path of reintroducing Wolverine’s adamantium via Apocalypse? If so, is Wolverine going to be a Horseman of Apocalypse? It’s certainly possible – and would make for a great addition to the Apocalypse and Wolverine storyline in the X-Films.
If that happens, I expect a strong uptick in demand for the issues wherein Wolverine is the Horseman of Death. Those issues are Astonishing X-Men vol. 2 #1-3, Wolverine vol. 2 #145-147, and X-Men vol. 2 #95. And, even though it’s not in-continuity, I’d also look to What If? vol. 2 #111.