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How Old Man Logan Became Marvel's Most Important Future

The Marvel Universe has no shortage of possible futures. While nothing about the future is ever set in stone, Marvel has plenty of timelines where heroes ultimately win and usher in new generations of Avengers and just as many where one of Marvel's heroes is the last being alive on Earth.

Despite the multitude of possibilities, one alternate future has established itself as the most important future of modern day Marvel, the world of Old Man Logan. Although Old Man Logan recently reached the end of his road in Dead Man Logan, his world will live on, and it's remarkable to see how much it developed from its relatively humble beginnings.

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OLD MAN LOGAN LIVES

Old Man Logan started out as a story in Mark Millar and Steve McNiven's run on Wolverine. His future was a nigh-apocalyptic wasteland where few of Marvel's heroes still exist, and the grizzled titular character keeps doing what he does best in order to survive, which naturally wasn't very nice.

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Although the story was self-contained and fairly modest in scope, the character and setting proved so popular with fans that it merited sequels. After the character and his world resurfaced in 2015's Secret Wars, the main character himself joined the main continuity after the apparent death of his 616 counterpart. During that time, Old Man Logan character solidified himself as a fixture in canon as a member of multiple X-Men teams, Weapon X and the star of his own 50-issue solo series. His presence essentially allowed Marvel to have its cake and eat it too by killing off a beloved, longstanding character like Wolverine while keeping around an auxiliary version that already felt familiar.

GRUMPY OLD MEN

While Old Man Logan's popularity flourished as he ran around the Marvel Universe, his world lived on and grew across an ever-growing number of spin-offs. While Old Man Hawkeye was a direct prequel to the original Old Man Logan story, Old Man Quill offered a look at what happened to the Guardians of the Galaxy in that fallen world. Old Man Logan even inspired other, non-related stories that featured older versions of X-23 and Harley Quinn in their respective titles.

Even though the adventures of Old Man Logan have ended, his world will still live on with the upcoming Avengers of the Wastelands series. There's certainly still plenty of work for the Avengers to do in a United States that's been carved up by a cabal of supervillains, and the isolation of this alternate reality means that any character can die, since creators have the ability to continue to build out the world of Old Man Logan in any surprising direction they wish.

RELATED: Old Man Logan vs Hulk: Who Won the Marvel Icons' Final Fights?

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Despite all of that, the most important legacy of Old Man Logan might just his influence on Wolverine on the silver screen. Director James Mangold's critically-acclaimed blockbuster Logan certainly wasn't a direct adaptation of the comic storyline, but it drew inspiration in all the right places. An aged and veteran Wolverine facing his mortality in a dilapidated world with a western feel proved the perfect sendoff for Hugh Jackman, whose portrayal of the character in the X-Men franchise became a cultural touchstone over the course of a decade and a half.

While the possible future timelines of Future Imperfect, the Age of Ultron or any of Marvel's hundreds of other future worlds have shown some of Marvel's creators at their most imaginative, what really separates the world of Old Man Logan is its staying power. As time goes on, it just keeps on getting bigger and growing more interesting. While it might've been built to show off Wolverine's worst nightmare, it ended up being unexpectedly fertile soil for numerous Marvel creators.

KEEP READING: Dead Man Logan: How Marvel is Killing Old Man Logan

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