We were greeted with an unexpected — but totally welcome — surprise yesterday at 20th Century Fox’s Comic-Con panel. Hugh Jackman was the first to arrive on stage for the X-Men: Apocalypse portion of the evening, where he once again confirmed The Wolverine 2 as his last Logan outing. We weren’t expecting much in the way of news from the sequel, but then Jackman said three words: “Old Man Logan.”

If you’re not a big comic book fan, you might not have any clue what those words mean, but for some fans, those three words have the power to send minds reeling. Originally published as a series by Mark Millar, Old Man Logan jumps ahead 50 years into the future, on an alternate version of Earth. In this life, Logan is married and has two kids, and lives on a barren expanse of land in California.

That sounds a bit normal, but it’s not — in this version of events, the super villains of the world combined powers to defeat all the superheroes, and now the United States is divided into territories: there’s Hulk’s area (which he took from Abomination), Magneto’s territory (later taken by Kingpin), Dr. Doom and Red Skull, the latter of whom has designated himself the President of the United States.

In a desperate attempt to earn some cash, Logan teams up with Hawkeye (who is now blind) to run a package to mysterious clients — these clients turn out to be secret S.H.I.E.L.D. agents who kill Hawkeye, while Logan ends up in Red Skull’s trophy room, surrounded by relics from superheroes of the past. He ultimately decapitates Red Skull with Captain America’s shield.

There’s also an encounter with Hawkeye’s daughter along the way, as well as a dinosaur that’s been infected with the Venom symbiote. So yeah, a Venom dinosaur. Strangest of all is the showdown between Logan and Hulk, the latter inciting the former to take out his claws and become the Wolverine for the first time in decades. Hulk consumes Logan, who regenerates and bursts out of the big guy’s stomach.

A lot of this, obviously, cannot work in The Wolverine sequel — Fox doesn’t have the rights for the Marvel Studios crossovers, even though Jackman himself has long hoped for the opportunity. We cannot see Hulk (or his inbred descendants created by incestuous relationships in the Hulk line — this book gets real weird) or Cap’s shield, or Red Skull as president. We will not see Kingpin or Hawkeye or his daughter.

But beneath all the wacky stuff, there’s a big story possibility. There’s a reason for Logan’s retirement, and not only is it incredibly sad, but it’s pretty major: the night the super villains attacked, a group of them descended on the X-mansion. Unable to locate his team or any of the gifted youngsters, Wolverine laid waste to all the villains attacking the mansion. But just as he murdered the last of them, it was revealed that the entire scenario was an illusion created by Mysterio, and Wolverine had actually slaughtered his entire X-Men team. Wolverine killed all of his friends.

In Logan’s mind, that was all the night that Wolverine died.

The story is being revisited this year in Secret Wars with Brian Michael Bendis, so it’s unclear how much of The Wolverine 2 will be inspired by Millar’s version or Bendis’ version, or both. What does seem likely is that Jackman’s “Old Man Logan” tease indicates a big jump forward into the future to a retired Wolverine, haunted by his own grave mistakes — that’s an angle of Wolverine that Jackman handles quite well.

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