In more ways than one, Logan signified the end of many things. It was not just the end of the lien for the original X-Men movie timeline. It symbolised the end of an era, an era of Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. Jackman cited multiple reasons for deciding to hang the claws. In the movie Logan, Wolverine was also victim to the tides of time. Even the seemingly immortal Logan and his formidable healing factor could not stop him from the one single truth of life – it all ends sometime. But with a healing factor like Logan’s, one could expect to cheat death forever. No matter how many wounds or injuries he gets, Logan’s healing factor was supposed to bring him back over and over again. In Logan, it did not. Why was it so? Why did Wolverine’s Healing Factor fail in Hugh Jackman’s final rodeo?
The answer might surprise you.
To know why Logan lost his regeneration powers, we have to take you to a stroll down history lane. Let’s start from scratch. Before Wolverine became the maniac we know him as today, he used to be a mercenary. After helping Government forces and doing their dirty work for them, Wolverine was later kidnapped and then forced into inhuman experimentation. The Weapon Plus project abducted Wolverine and forced him to take part in the Weapon X program, a dangerous and powerful procedure that can enhance a mutant’s powers but causes tremendous pain and agony only a mutant with the healing factor like Logan’s could survive.
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The Weapon X program involved injecting raw adamantium into Wolverine’s skeletal system. The adamantium will bond with his body and make him nigh-indestructible. Wolverine also received additional augmentations as part of the project. His mutant abilities were enhanced. The biggest beneficiary of the procedure was Wolverine’s healing factor. It advanced by leaps and bounds due to the adamantium bonding. Weapon Plus intended to recreate the Super Soldier project using mutants as test subjects. While Wolverine was successful in surviving the painful ordeal, he later escaped the facility. Slaughtering everyone he could find in his way out, Wolverine fled but the process also gave him permanent amnesia.
Wolverine was now a new man. He had no memories of his past and he had no connection to it. He had new powers to boast but nobody to fight. Logan wandered the countryside for years, trying to unlock the secrets to his past. It was not until he found the X-Men when he realized his true purpose in life.
In Logan, his mutant family are all dead, killed by Professor X in a freak accident where he lost control of his abilities. Logan him-self is a shell of his former self. Now working as a limousine driver, Logan does whatever he can to make ends meet and keep Professor X, the last survivor of the X-Men along with Wolverine, alive. Wolverine is him-self dying. During the beginning of the movie, we see Logan realizing that his body is giving up on him.
And the reason why it is doing so is very simple – it is the adamantium in his bones, the very source of his abilities that is killing Logan. Adamantium may be one of the strongest metals known to the Marvel Comic Book Universe but it is poisonous in nature. If a human body is exposed to adamantium, death is imminent in a few minutes. Logan had an entire skeleton made out of pure adamantium. The metal kept poisoning his body and his healing factor kept fighting it, keeping the poison at bay.
But that is not the only reason for his death. The actual reason is multi-layered and has several facets to it. Sure Wolverine’s healing factor failing and the adamantium poisoning finally coming to haunt his body were factors. They were important ones at that. There are other reasons involved too. Let us explain it to you more.
When we met Logan, he had become a shadow of his former self. He was living the life of a recluse. He had lived a life of vigilantism and heroics. He had fought, battled, been scarred, and mutilated many times. Every single time, his healing factor brought him back. The reason Wolverine survived these attacks was because his regeneration abilities were at play. The amount of punishment Wolverine received at the hands of his enemies is way too much, even for a superhero that lives a life on the edge. The punishment his bodies received were also a reason for his healing factor’s failure.
In the field of biology, there is a term called the Hayflick Limit. While it is used to signify the human process of aging, it is applicable for Logan too. The Hayflick limit states the number of times each cell in the human body can divide. After the cell has divided for a fixed number of times, it will reach its genetically programmed death called apoptosis. The human Hayflick Limit is 40 to 60 times. For Wolverine, the limit probably ranges in millions or even billions.
Notice the fact that even though it does sound a lot, it is still a finite number. If Wolverine had not gone through the intense amount of injury rigged life, he would not have reached his Hayflick Limit and would have probably lived forever. Had he remained a common man living a normal life and having an ordinary job, Wolverine would never have died. Mind you when we see Logan in the movie, he is the only one shown to have some level of immunity to Professor X’s psychic screams. The toll it takes on the body is immense. His healing factor allowed him to survive those bouts. We still do not know how many such episodes Professor X must have had. It could number in hundreds. Every time it was Wolverine that brought him back. The mental and physical stress of doing that every time would be immense, even for someone with a healing factor like Wolverine’s.
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In a world that still shuns mutants and considers them as pariahs, Wolverine had no one to turn to for medical advice and care. The adamantium poisoning was only a small factor that led to his eventual demise. It is the inhuman amount of punishment he let his body to be inflicted with that with time, brought down even his Godlike healing factor to its knees. That is the real reason his healing factor failed and the adamantium poisoning kicked in.