Disney Will Likely Find a Younger Wolverine
Hugh Jackman hung up his claws as Wolverine in Logan in arguably the greatest bow in superhero history. The now famously bloody, surprisingly touching swan song was Jackman’s last in a role that made him famous. Working with writer/director James Mangold, Jackman delivered the perfect coda to Wolverine’s hard-living, hero-whether-he-liked-it-or-not story. In a way, this makes Disney’s situation with carrying on the X-Men franchise a bit easier. Only a bit.
It’s very hard to imagine another actor taking on the role at this point, but that’s very likely what will happen. The fact that Jackman isn’t get replaced, but retired in the most satisfying way possible, smoothes the transition a touch. Once Disney bought Fox’s film properties, everyone was curious what it meant for the X-Men. Would they find themselves in films with the Avengers? How would Kevin Feige and his Marvel brain trust handle all these new characters? And what would they do about Wolverine, the most popular X-Men, now that Hugh Jackman had delivered his last performance?
We now have a little more information. At the Television Critics Association panel, longtime X-Men producer Lauren Shuler Donner discussed Jackman, the likely future of the character and the franchise. Shuler Donner intimated that Kevin Feige would be looking for a younger cast for the new X-Men films, but it will likely be a little while before we hear about casting news.
“This man worked so hard to bulk up, [he] would get up at four in the morning to bulk and eat protein meals every two hours because his natural state, they used to call him Worm when he was a kid. So his natural state is a very skinny guy. Once you reach a certain age, the body just won’t go anymore. I think he was wise to say, ‘I’m at that point. I can’t do it.’ Now, that doesn’t mean he can’t come back as older Wolverine. You never know. Future Wolverine, you never know.”
Perhaps we’ll get a cameo from Jackman as a “Future Wolverine,” but the likely next move will be to find a younger actor to play Wolverine in a new slate of X-Men films. Feige and Marvel have proven themselves to be master world builders. The past ten years have arguably been the Marvel Decade, and having so many new, intriguing characters to play with must be terribly exciting for their team. Also fraught. Jackman has put his stamp on that character in a way few actors ever get a chance to do. It’s his face, and yes, his jacked up body, you think of when you think of Wolverine. Yet if any studio could figure out a way to reintroduce a new, younger Wolverine, it’s Marvel.
Who knows, maybe Jackman will miss playing Wolvy and come back, after all. Marvel’s already proven that age is just a number, one they can lower in post-production as they did for Samuel L. Jackson in Captain Marvel.
Featured image: Hugh Jackman in ‘Logan.’ Courtesy 20th Century Fox.