Superheroes – especially male ones – are often depicted as being over six feet tall, strong, big, and imposing when compared to average men. Well, Wolverine was supposed to be something different, as he is nowhere near as tall or big as your common superhero. Well, at least not in the comics. So, how tall is Wolverine in Marvel Comics, and how does he compare to his live-action counterpart?
How tall is Wolverine in the X-Men comics?
Having a 5’3’’ (160 cm) superhero that holds such amazing physical power and skill was something unprecedented in Marvel Comics. In fact, you’ll hardly find any superhero – at least a humanoid one – that is shorter than Wolverine’s compact 5’3’’ size. So, why did the writers choose to do that?
To put it mildly, there was a redundancy of big, imposing superhero characters who tower over anyone else. You had Iron Man, who was well over 6’2’’ (188 cm) in his suit, Captain America around the same height, and Spider-Man just breaking 6 feet (183 cm) despite being a teenager. Not to mention the colossal, muscular behemoth – the Hulk.
So apparently, when Roy Thomas conceived the idea of Wolverine, he told Len Wein that he wanted a new character to be included in ‘Incredible Hulk #180’ in 1974 – which is when Wolvie was first introduced.
He wanted Wolverine to be pretty much like the animal of the same name – small and non-menacing-looking at first, hiding a skilled, ferocious beast underneath that can go at it with the best of them. They wanted Wolverine to become a Canadian agent and operate with sharp claws and extreme speed. The healing factor was just a bonus.
They opted for the height of 5’3’’ (160 cm), but they never made his height a problem for Logan. In fact, he embraced his size and used it to his advantage in almost every fight due to his ability to outspeed and outmaneuver larger opponents with ease.
He proved that height wouldn’t be an issue for him from the moment he first appeared, as Wolverine immediately faced off against the Hulk, which gave him a ton of problems right away. Later, Logan became a member of the X-Men after undergoing the Weapon X experiments and getting his skeleton coated with adamantium – but his relatively minute size never changed.
Despite the obvious size disadvantage, the fans never seemed to notice it that much because Wolverine was capable of beating much, much bigger enemies to a pulp. As he so eloquently said numerous times: “I’m Wolverine. I’m the best there is at what I do, but what I do best isn’t very nice.” (Wolverine Vol. 1 #1).
How tall is Wolverine in the X-Men movies?
In the ‘X-Men’ movies, Hugh Jackman got the role of Wolverine, and he ran that franchise into stardom with his incredible portrayal of Logan. However, his physique is nothing even remotely close to that of the comic book Wolverine. Sure, they are both bulky and exceptionally strong – but the height discrepancy is huge.
Instead of a 5’3’’ ferocious guy, Wolverine is 6’2’’-6’3’’ (188-191 cm) tall in the ‘X-Men’ movies. That’s the height of the actor Hugh Jackman, who nailed the role despite not being a clear-cut fit in the resemblance category. However, he was fiery, strong, and incredibly powerful, and fans never even noticed how much different the character was from the one in the comics.
Little did we, as fans, know that Hugh wasn’t the first choice to take on the role. Heck, he wasn’t even the second choice. Firstly, Dougray Scott was supposed to be Wolverine, but he was shooting ‘Mission Impossible 2’ at the time, and he wasn’t allowed to cut his time between the two sets in half.
Then the producers contacted another guy, and then another guy, Russel Crowe – who had just finished playing the lead role in the now-cult-classic, ‘Gladiator.’ He actually refused the role because, at the time, he felt like the timing wasn’t right.
And then came Hugh Jackman getting the role – and eventually, it proved to be the best thing the producers could’ve done, as Hugh simply hit the nail on the head with his portrayal of Wolvie – despite being a full foot taller than the comic book guy.
One thing still remains a question, though – why did they opt to choose a guy that is so much different and so much taller than the original version of Wolverine?
Why is the movie Wolverine so much taller than his comic book counterpart?
Die-hard X-Men comic book fans had major issues with the movie producers opting to go with Hugh Jackman – not because he’s not a brilliant actor, but because it’s hard to replicate Wolverine’s personality, and the whole ‘small-but-ferocious’ trope if he isn’t actually small and ferocious.
And I get it – the fact that Wolvie was 5’3’’ in the comics made him who he is. Take that away, and you have a different character. It’s still madly powerful and cool, but different.
Now, you might blame the casting cancelations and multiple choices for eventually landing on Hugh Jackman as the third, fourth, or even fifth option, but the reality is – all the candidates for the role that were seriously considered are over 6 feet (183 cm) tall, including Jackman with a staggering 6’3’’ (191 cm) frame. So why did they opt for someone so much higher to play Wolverine?
Well, it’s simple – they wanted him to look more authentic, more powerful, and more imposing on camera. I mean, if you want to introduce this super strong guy with adamantium claws on his hands, you don’t want him to be tiny on camera – you want to assert that he is physically dominant right away.
In the comics, you get time to put the character into perspective, but in live-action cinema, he is what people see he is – and people would simply see a dude that’s half the size of your common movie superhero or supervillain, making it almost impossible for the filmmakers to make him look scary, ferocious, or powerful.
I mean, if he were actually his real height, people probably wouldn’t want to see more of this character. Naturally, comic book purists were initially enraged by the casting (until everyone saw Jackman kill it as Wolverine), but then again, I think there wasn’t that much they could do other than make him look a bit taller.
Sure, perhaps a whole foot upwards was a bit much, but I bet you’ll change your opinion after seeing the meme below. I mean, Imagine if Wolvie was really 5’3’’ tall in the films. It would look like this:
In the end, the final reason why Wolverine wasn’t 5’3’’ in the movies is the fact that the pool of actors who are 5’3’’ tall, bulky, and imposing wasn’t really long. I believe that limiting your opinions based on physical characteristics such as height is wrong – you should always go for the actor that does the part best, not that looks the part.
Jackman was the right choice in the end, although they basically got lucky with the casting. Maybe the guy in the comics is only 5’3’’, but the movie version of Wolverine will always be remembered as Hugh Jackman’s Logan.
Have something to add? Let us know in the comments below!