When the latest trailer for the upcoming X-Men: Apocalypse landed fans were promised a 'surprise mutant reveal'. A lot of fans speculated that it would be the reveal of Wolverine's inclusion in the film, whilst some hoped that it would be the inclusion of a new character to the franchise, such as the much hinted at Dazzler. The people in the first camp were the ones who were correct, though, as the final shot of the trailer revealed that Wolverine would indeed be included in the film.
To some this was a good thing, as there are certain viewers who feel that it wouldn't be an X-Men film without his inclusion, even if it were just in a cameo role like his part in X-Men: First Class. It does however,1 confirm a slightly annoying trend of the series, the fact that they seem incapable of producing an X-Men film without using Wolverine, with Deadpool being the only one so far that he has been absent from.
It's not known how much of the film he will be in, whether or not he has a large role that has been cunningly hidden from the promotional material so far, or if he has a much smaller part in just a handful of scenes. Considering that the heroes are going up against their most powerful and deadly enemy to date, and the fact that other than Mystique and Beast the whole team are inexperienced teens, it would need some clever writing to introduce the character into the film yet leave him out of the climactic battle without it feeling forced (yes, I'm looking at you 'Days of Future Past' and having Magneto throw him away into the sky).
If you were to remove the last scene in the final trailer, which is so far everything we've seen of the clawed mutant, the film would still look like a well-made and competent picture. Up until that point everyone was still excited for the film, people were saying that it looked amazing, so the studio can clearly make an X-Men film that appears to be good without his inclusion. X-Men: First Class is a prime example of this, where if you removed his thirty second cameo the movie would still be great.
I can't help but feel that the studio gets cold feet every now and then though and feels that they have to put Wolverine in the films or fans will protest against his absence.
The simple fact is thought that Hugh Jackman has said that Wolverine 3 will be his last time in the role, and that that film will be the next superhero film on Fox's schedule. If they're going to continue to make X-Men movies they're going to have to either recast, which I don't think they'll do, or get used to the fact that they will have to get by without him.
X-Men: Apocalypse could have been their first chance to get away from the character before they're put in a situation where they don't have a choice but get by without. Sadly it would appear that they've fallen into the trap of clutching at their metal clawed safety blanket.
Perhaps I'm wrong, because the studio has proven that they can make perfectly competent X-Men movies without him, but I'm starting to get tired of always seeing him in these films, and usually in a much more central role than he really should have. It's one of the bonuses of the Avengers films that every character gets their moment to shine and feels like an important part of a whole, but the X-Men films are starting to feel more like Wolverine's film with an extended supporting cast.
'Days of Future Past' was a great film, but it would have been great if Wolverine wasn't the person sent back in time. 'Apocalypse' looks like it's going to be a great film, and it built up massive hype without Wolverine. Please, please Fox, stop pushing Wolverine into every X-Men film. If you think that they need his involvement in some way at least rethink how you're going to go about doing that. Why not use Wolverine 3 to introduce us to X23 and then use her as part of the team in the regular X-Men films, and a genuine part of the team rather than the front character like Wolverine?
If you really feel that this franchise needs to be connected to Wolverine in some way in order to survive at least get a little more interesting and inventive in how you do that. Or perhaps come to the realisation that there are enough great X-Men characters that you can produce a film without him that would still be a hit.