Thinking about the reasons for the utterly futile X-Men Origins: Wolverine, made me consider the above point. We don’t care what the Man With No Name’s actual name his. The lack of name is part of his character, the mystery is central to the character and destroys it when broken (he is a walking Schrödinger Cat Box). Wolverine in Marvel Comics for thirty years did not have a back story, he pops up with no memory after Weapon X treatment to give him adamantium claws, and there is a suggestion that his healing factor also masks his ageing, he could be hundreds of years old. In the first X-Men film this origin is pretty much repeated, his berserker rage, his haunted cynicism comes from this lack of memory.
About five years ago Marvel comics thought it was time to wring all the money they could out of one of their most popular characters, and publish Wolverine: Origin, much of which is nicked as a pre-credit sequence here*. But origin stories aren’t really suitable for the X-Men, they are mutants who one day manifest their powers. There is little spider biting fun. Indeed in X-Men Origins: Wolverine there is little fun at all, just a string of mutant encounters and fights between people who can’t be killed.
Look, I moaned about this back in 2003, when X-Men 2 came out! Watching indestructible characters trying to kill each other is a bit of a busted flush. Its even more of a busted flush in a prequel where nearly all of the main characters (here Wolverine, Sabretooth and General Stryker) all survive for the rest of the franchise. So we have a film with pointless fight scenes with nothing to play for, and a plot which exists to not upset the status quo. All we discover is what will win in the epic battle between claws and fingernails -WHICH WE ALREADY SAW IN X2! To whit I sat Shnikt!, but take out the n and the k.
As for the Man With No Name, well he is called by names in each of the films, each name could well be just a nickname. Joe, in A Fistful Of Dollars, Monco in A Few Dollars More, and Blondie in the Good The Bad And The Ugly. Even if a nameless man has a name, he protects his uniqueness by never saying it. Wolverines schtick was the enigmatic background. Once he has lost that he is a man with funny sideburns and a knifeblock in his knuckles.
*With this one, and the Watchmen one, 2009 is slowly being remembered for as the year of the narrative credit sequence.