Photo via @mang0ld

Logan opens this coming Friday, March 3, kicking off the year in superhero movies. More importantly, it will be the last time Hugh Jackman portrays Wolverine, the character that made his career in Hollywood: Marvel’s mutant who can heal from any wound and wields six lethal claws between his knuckles. He’s angry and a loner, but did manage to find a family in the X-Men. But it looks like all of that might be coming to an end in what’s being viewed as the final Wolverine story.

With Logan being the final time Jackman bulks up, grows those mutton chops and whips out the claws, the actor had the mindset that he would give the performance everything he had since there wasn’t going to be a next time. The mentality resembled what we see from athletes who know that they’ll be playing their final game, competing in their last event, and want to go out on a high note.

That comparison certainly wasn’t lost on producer Simon Kinberg, who has worked on most of the X-Men (and related) films since 2011’s X-Men: First Class. In talking to Comic Book Resources’ Brett White, Kinberg thought Jackman’s performance resembled Peyton Manning’s final NFL game, quarterbacking the Denver Broncos to a Super Bowl 50 victory.

“I was also thinking about recently, this is a super-random metaphor, it’s rare to think of an example in movies and I don’t think I can come up with one. I came up with one in sports, of someone going out at the peak of their powers,” Kinberg said. “Not that he had a great Super Bowl, but Peyton Manning won the Super Bowl and then retired. This, I believe, is the best Wolverine movie. That’s easy to say. I think it’s arguably one of the best — or the best — X-Men movie. The fact that Hugh and Wolverine, at least for this moment, are going out in some ways on top creatively is something that Hugh wanted from the very beginning and we all aspired toward.”

Jackman has played Wolverine in nine films over the past 17 years, beginning with 2000’s X-Men. When he was hired, his previous credit was a British TV movie production of Oklahoma! (Yeah, comic book fans freaked out, wondering what the hell director Bryan Singer was thinking.) Jackman has had other notable roles, such as Jean Valjean in the movie version of Les Miserables. But people throughout the world largely know him as Wolverine.

Logan takes place 12 years in the future with a Wolverine who isn’t nearly what he once was. His healing abilities have diminished, so the injuries he’s sustained are lingering. You see where the comparison to Manning, who was broken down after the physical toll that accumulated after 17 NFL seasons, might apply, though Kinberg was referring more to Jackman retiring after one of, if not the best moment of his career. Maybe it’s a stretch, but it’s not something you typically see in movies. Roles are recast (Wolverine almost certainly will be eventually), and both studios and actors move on. Movie and comic book fans are hoping Jackman provides a performance to remember.

[Comic Book Resources]

About Ian Casselberry

Ian is a writer, editor, and podcaster. You can find his work at Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He's written for Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, MLive, Bleacher Report, and SB Nation.