As president of Marvel Studios, Kevin Feige’s name is synonymous with the Marvel Cinematic Universe, particularly because he was the one who realized way back when that Marvel still directly owned the film rights to the main Avengers characters. However, his history with Marvel extends even further back than the franchise that kicked off in 2008 with Iron Man, as one of his first Hollywood credits was being an associate producer on X-Men. Even at that early stage of his career, Feige was making wise Marvel-related suggestions, namely giving an astute note concerning Wolverine’s hair.
Feige was the topic of The Wall Street Journal’s The Journal podcast episode titled “With Great Power, Part 3: It’s All Connected.” During the portion detailing the man’s time on X-Men, reporter Ben Fritz detailed how along with carrying out his associate producing duties, Feige was also the main Marvel Comics expert on set, which resulted in higher-ups paying more attention to him. This included Avi Arad, one of the movie’s executive producers and then-chief creative officer of Marvel Entertainment, who shared the following about Feige’s opinion on an earlier version of Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine hairdo:
And Kevin was the guy that I can call and say, ‘I just saw the hair on Wolverine. Do you agree that it's weird?’ He said, ‘Yes.’ ‘So, let's do something about it.’
Like Fritz pointed out, hardcore comic book fans weren’t as plentiful back in the late 1990s compared to now, when superhero movies, TV shows and video games are more plentiful than ever and have driven even more people to the printed page material. So it was fortuitous that Kevin Feige was already a fan of the X-Men comics even before coming aboard the first X-Men movie, which turned Hugh Jackman into a Hollywood heavyweight by casting the then-unknown Australian actor as Wolverine. Had Feige not piped in, evidently Jackman’s hair in the Marvel movie would have looked too “weird.”
It’s unclear if the earlier version of Jackman’s Wolverine hair simply looked nothing like how it did in the comics, or if it actually looked too close to that style and Feige realized that wouldn’t translate well in live-action. Either way, he gave his two cents on the matter to Avi Arad, and the hairstyling team tweaked Jackman’s hair to what was seen in the final version, with the cinematic Wolverine boasting that style for the majority of his film appearances. No doubt Feige’s comics expertise on X-Men also helped pave the way for him to rise up the Marvel ranks and obtain the esteemed position he holds today.
Although the X-Men film series that the 2000 movie launched officially ended with 2019’s Dark Phoenix and 2020’s The New Mutants, Deadpool 3, a Marvel Studios production, is bringing Hugh Jackman back as Wolverine, a pivot from Logan having been intended to be his last time playing the role. The clawed mutant is one of several Fox-era Marvel film characters expected to appear alongside Ryan Reynolds’ Wade Wilson in the threequel. More importantly, in addition to finally wearing his classic yellow suit, Jackman’s Wolverine will also be back to boasting his signature hairstyle, so Kevin Feige, thank you once again for that suggestion.
Deadpool 3 is slated on the upcoming Marvel movies schedule for a May 3, 2024 release, although given that production has been suspended since July, a delay is likely forthcoming. If you’re looking to stream the first X-Men movie, it can be accessed with a Starz add-on to your Amazon Prime Video subscription.