X-Men: How Wolverine got his claws, explained

Wolverine and his claws are a fixture of the X-Men movies, but how did he get them and why did he lose his memories as a result?

Madame Tussauds New York To Launch A Wax Figure Of "Wolverine"
Madame Tussauds New York To Launch A Wax Figure Of "Wolverine" / Cindy Ord/GettyImages

You can't really think about the X-Men without thinking about Wolverine. The claw-wielding mutant has been a fixture of the Marvel Comics super-team since their inception and he remains one of the most popular superheroes in the world. It will come as no surprise then to learn that Hugh Jackman's portrayal of the character in Fox's live-action X-Men film franchise is universally adored by fans.

Jackman made his debut as the character in 2000's X-Men and went on to appear in almost all of the saga's installments. His primary storyline revolved around his inability to explain how he came to possess sharp Adamantium claws, how he was virtually indestructible, and why he couldn't remember anything about his life before becoming the Wolverine.

Upon coming across the X-Men, Logan worked with Professor Charles Xavier in a bid to recover his memories, but he was unsuccessful in doing so. In X2, he remembered bits and pieces about how he was reborn due to an unexpected reunion with William Stryker, but that was it. It was only when X-Men Origins: Wolverine was released in movie theaters in 2009 that we finally learned the full extent of those answers.

Wolverine was experimented on by William Stryker

While Wolverine's metal claws were the result of William Stryker's experiments, he always had claws of his own. A mutant, his original claws surfaced when he witnessed the death of his father at the hands of the man who turned out to be his real father. The shock horror of that moment resulted in the extended bone fragments protruding from his hands, which he then used to kill his biological father with.

LOGAN, Wolverine
Hugh Jackman stars as Logan in LOGAN. Photo Credit: Ben Rothstein. /

Decades after that, he and his brother Victor Creed, a.k.a. Sabretooth, engaged in a violent brawl, which resulted in the latter breaking Logan's claws. Major William Stryker saw this as an opportunity to manipulate Logan into becoming the ultimate weapon for him, telling him that he could provide him with the tools to defeat his brother once and for all.

Logan agreed and his body was injected with Adamantium, making his skeleton completely indestructible and restoring his claws - except this time, they were coated in adamantium. And thus, Wolverine's iconic metal claws were born.

He was known as Weapon X, and was intended to inform Stryker on how to create the ultimate mutant-killing machine, as he was hoping to apply this success to Weapon 11, a.k.a. Deadpool. Logan had other ideas and defeated Deadpool, dropping the blood feud with his brother and starting a new chapter in his life - one that was a bit forced upon him.

How Wolverine lost his memories

Logan might have gotten claws from William Stryker, but he also lost a great deal because of him too. The woman that he loved, Kayla Silverfox, may have been part of Stryker's plan, but she too loved him and was willing to fight to help him. Unfortunately, her decision to stay and help Logan resulted in her death. But Logan would never know of her death, because Stryker managed to successfully steal his lifetime full of memories from him.

In the final act of X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Stryker shoots Logan in the head with two Adamantium bullets, just as he was carrying Kayla to safety. He did so knowing that it would rob Logan of his memories, revealing that his brain would heal from the trauma but that the memories would be gone. And thus, when Logan woke up, he couldn't remember anything about who he was or what he was doing on the island.

He then carries on with his life, starting over. And that's why, when he crosses paths with Rogue and eventually Professor Xavier in X-Men, he is left with nothing but fragmented memories and a ton of questions about his past.

Logan gained his claws from his run-in with Stryker but he lost his love and his memories in the process.

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