Summary

  • Wolverine’s real name is James Howlett, not Logan, as revealed in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, despite movie continuity inconsistencies.
  • Stryker’s shot to the head wipes Wolverine’s memory, leading him to go by “Logan” based on the dog tags he wears since X-Men Origins.
  • Wolverine may regain his memory in Logan, where he is referred to as James Howlett, showcasing the character’s complex backstory.



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In most Marvel movies, Wolverine is referred to by either his code name or Logan, but neither is his real name. Wolverine’s real name is only used extensively in one movie, and is included in Logan as a minor Easter egg. In fact, Marvel movie timeline viewers who are only familiar with Wolverine through the movies likely assume his name is simply Logan, since that is what people call him most of the time, and it’s the name of one of his most popular movies.


Wolverine’s name is actually a somewhat complicated subject in Fox’s X-Men universe, given the character’s backstory. Logan himself is confused about what his real name is for some time, at least depending on which of the X-Men movie timelines is being followed. There are some minor consistencies, but that is to be expected with a franchise that played it pretty fast and loose with its continuity.

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Wolverine’s Real Name Was Revealed In His Worst Movie

X-Men Origins Gave Us A Wrong Deadpool And Logan’s Real History


X-Men Origins: Wolverine is best remembered for Wolverine’s fake-looking claws, and its terrible depiction of Deadpool. What audiences might not remember is that it was also the movie that introduced Logan’s real name in the X-Men franchise. The film starts with a flashback to Logan’s childhood, and it’s revealed that Wolverine’s real name is James Howlett. However, it is later revealed that James is actually the son of the family’s groundskeeper, Thomas Logan.

In Marvel Comics’ Wolverine: The Origin, after killing his real father, Thomas Logan, James’ bone claws first manifest. He is given the name “Logan” by his childhood friend Rose, as a disguise when on the run.

Though Wolverine’s legal name is technically James Howlett, were he to take his biological father’s last name, he would be James Logan. When Wolverine joins up with William Stryker’s Team X later in the movie, he simply tells them his name is Logan. This is the name that Stryker prints on his dog tags, which will eventually lead to it becoming the name that Wolverine goes by most often. However, this isn’t initially a choice that he makes.


x men origins

X-Men Origins: Wolverine

After Bryan Singer’s X-Men trilogy, Hugh Jackman returns as the titular clawed mutant in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. The 2009 superhero movie explores Logan’s origins with a look back at Weapon X, the experiment that covered his skeleton with adamantium. It marks Ryan Reynolds’ first appearance as Wade Wilson a.k.a. Deadpool, and it precedes James Mangold’s The Wolverine and Logan, which retroactively make Origins the first installment in a solo trilogy for Jackman’s iconic Marvel hero.

Director
Gavin Hood

Release Date
April 30, 2009

Runtime
107minutes

Wolverine Lost His Memory, Including His Name

Wolverine’s One Weakness… Being Shot Point-Blank In The Head

Hugh Jackman as an older Wolverine in Logan

At the end of X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Stryker shoots Wolverine in the head with an Adamantium bullet, hoping to kill him. While it doesn’t kill Wolverine, it does wipe his memory. When he regains consciousness, he doesn’t even remember his own name. All he has on him to remind him is his Team X dog tags that read “Logan.” Since he no longer remembers being James Howlett, Wolverine simply goes by Logan from that point on, at least for the most part.


In Logan, audiences get a quick glance at the ID Wolverine has his limousine registered with. On the card, it reads “James Howlett.” This means at some point Wolverine either regains his memory, or Logan takes place in a different timeline from X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Either way, the reason Wolverine isn’t called James is simply that he didn’t remember that being his name for a long time, and since he’s immortal, neither did anyone else who was still alive.

Logan Wolverine Poster

Logan

Logan sees the titular hero, AKA Wolverine, in his twilight years as his healing factor has begun to fail him, and he has begun to age more rapidly. Set several years in the future, Logan finds himself caring for an ailing Professor Xavier, whose mind has begun to succumb to dementia, making him an incredibly dangerous mutant that can cause widespread destruction accidentally. But when the preoccupied Logan is asked to meet with a woman that requests he transports a young girl to a mutant haven known as Eden, he learns that she may have his DNA and that the fate of mutant-kind may rest in her hands.

Release Date
March 3, 2017

Runtime
137 Minutes

Key Release Dates

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