'Wolverine: The Long Night' Finale Has a New Version of an Old X-Men Enemy
Stitcher and Marvel’s Wolverine: The Long Night felt light on the mutants and even on Wolverine for almost its entire run, but it proved a brilliant stroke of misdirection because the series finale just delivered a game-changing revelation that rewrote an important piece of X-Men canon. Inverse recently caught up with The Long Night writer Benjamin Percy to talk about how his unconventional storytelling approach helped remystify Marvel’s most popular mutant.
Huge spoilers follow for Wolverine: The Long Night Chapter 10: “No Escape”
The Season 1 finale, “No Escape,” intentionally disorients the listener with its framing. Agent Pierce interrogates Agent Marshall, accusing him of violating the “Weapon X code of ethics,” saying he “intentionally destroyed and erased [his] neural surveillance drive.” As it turns out, the series protagonists aren’t human FBI agents at all. They’re both highly advanced Sentinels working for the Weapon X program merely pretending to be FBI agents. That makes these two some of the most advanced Sentinels ever presented in a Marvel property and totally different from the giant “rust buckets” Wolverine has spent tons of screentime shredding in his history.
The Long Night writer Ben Percy confirmed to Inverse that many of the “flashbacks” we heard throughout the series were, in fact, Agents Pierce and Marshall replaying their own surveillance audio back to one another.
“Yes. They’re literally walking surveillance,” Percy confirmed to Inverse. “The whole story is about surveillance. As they interrogate, they pry into people’s minds. So we get these recordings, sometimes unreliable, about what happened.” Rather than a giant flying robot that can shoot lasers, this story’s dangerous Sentinel is instead a superpowered humanoid that can record surveillance and is programmed to manipulate people.
We hear flashbacks and second-hand accounts of Logan’s actions through the entire series, but Logan himself is only teased until the end of the penultimate episode. As such, the show itself is fundamentally about unreliability and perception. Even the entire finale is framed in secondhand accounts through the interrogation between the Sentinels.
For canon-obsessed fans struggling to fit Wolverine: The Long Night into some broader place in the Marvel Universe, re-listening to the entire series with all of this in mind can prove a fruitful experience. Ben Percy confirmed there were little hints along the way that Agents Pierce and Marshall were something more than human.
“That revelation is what we had been building to since the very beginning,” Percy said. “If you re-listen, you’ll see the hints seeded there.” Percy pointed out that earlier in the series, Bobby comments on how fast the agents can run and how they can see in the dark. They’re also able to “sharpshoot and knock people out of a tree without injuring them.” When we first hear these things, we think nothing of it. Shouldn’t top-tier FBI agents be at their physical peak?
There’s even one scene in which Agent Marshall takes a shower and says there’s “mold” in his system and he “needs a reboot.” But considering this is the same guy who walks around with a fidget spinner, we think he’s being quirky and strange, not literal. Another instance of these hints happens in Episode 9, when Agent Pierce is talking about Hudson potentially being a mutant and says, “He can’t be a mutant, or we would’ve — ” She probably meant something like, “ — or we would’ve detected the presence of the mutant gene with our systems.”
Percy cites tales like Moby Dick or The Great Gatsby — stories told from the perspective of someone else perceiving the central figure — when describing his approach to writing The Long Night. “I feel as though he’s been in the spotlight a little too much,” Percy said. “It made him overly familiar. But he is a loner. He’s not a team player. He’s someone who’s done very bad things. He’s someone we should be fearful of. I wanted to re-mystify him and regulate him to the shadows.”
But just because we don’t see or hear from Wolverine a lot doesn’t mean we won’t get more of him. The finale teases the yellow Wolverine suit was once a real thing, but it’s unclear if it came as part of his time with the X-Men or with the Weapon X program. The general public in The Long Night knows that mutants exist, and Percy also referenced many hints to a larger universe.
When asked about the future of this potential Marvel podcast universe and where the X-Men were during The Long Night, Percy was cryptic: “I can’t speak too much about this or the Weapon X assassins will come after me. Let’s just say we’re rolling things out patiently.” He described the werewolf-like mutant Hudson, for example, as a “seed” to something larger. “There are things about this season you might not recognize until later as seeds of a larger mythology.”
So if there is some kind of “later,” then does that mean we’ll get more Marvel stories told in this podcast universe? That would confirm the previous speculation that Wolverine: The Long Night is launching a new Marvel canon separate from everything else.
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