Wolverine was already a popular character before the first X-Men film was released, but the success of the movie introduced Logan to an entirely new audience.
Marvel fans had known about him for years - he was already one of the most iconic comic characters ever created - but non-fans were finally able to understand why he was so immensely popular.
One of the reasons the on-screen version of Wolverine worked so well is because of the man playing the character: Hugh Jackman.
For many, the first X-Men film was as much an introduction to Hugh Jackman as it was for Wolverine. The actor had been popular in Australia for a bit, but it wasn't until X-Men that he became a global sensation - and his popularity only continued to grow as the subsequent films were released.
It didn't matter how bad they were, either: if a movie had Hugh Jackman, it was bound to be a success.
However, all good things must come to an end: Hugh Jackman announced that, after 17 years of playing the character, his time as Wolverine will come to an end.
While filming an appearance on The Dr. Oz Show (via BleedingCool), Jackman announced that the third standalone Wolverine film would be his last time playing the character. When asked about his reasons for leaving, Jackman acknowledged that he'd been playing the character for nearly two decades, and that leaving after the third film felt like the "perfect time to go out."
While fans now know that Jackman won't be appearing in-character after Wolverine 3, whether or not Jackman will make an appearance in X-Men: Apocalypse has yet to be confirmed. The ending of Days of Future Past left Wolverine in a vulnerable state, though it gave the character's story arc a rather definitive close - while the possibility of Jackman appearing in Apocalypse exists, it's not exactly guaranteed.
It's completely understandable that Jackman wants to stop playing the same character over and over again...but it's still sad to see him go. X-Men was one of the first major comic book movies of the modern era, and Jackman's one of the biggest reasons it was successful.
Let's be honest: finding a worthy successor isn't going to be easy.
X-Men: Apocalypse is set for a May 27, 2016 release date, while Wolverine 3 is set for 2017.