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It was just last week that the Wolverine himself Hugh Jackman told Collider that they were finishing up the script for the third WOLVERINE flick. Once the script was “perfect” and fit to usher Jackman off from the role that he’s popularized for the past fifteen-plus years, then we’d get a specific production date.

Well it seems like that time is now, as the industry tracking site My Entertainment World is reporting that WOLVERINE 3 is beginning its production on April 25, 2016 in the city of New Orleans, Louisiana. The film itself is due for a March 2017 release date, so while it’s cutting it a bit close with its shooting date, it’s still well within the realm of reason that it’ll hit that theater date.

Of course, we’d be dumb not to notice that the film shooting New Orleans is a bit suspicious. Could everyone’s favorite card-throwing Cajun be making an appearance in the new WOLVERINE movie? I’d say it’s very possible. With Hugh Jackman bowing out of the X-MEN world in this film, the franchise would do well to find someone to replace him in some way. Going with Channing Tatum’s Gambit could be an interesting way to go if the actor can pull off the character.

And on the very subject of replacing Hugh Jackman, as the release date for this final film approaches, Fox has to start thinking about the succession of Jackman–not just in spirit, but in the actual replacing of him as Wolverine. The longer one looks at Jackman in the role, the harder it becomes to see anyone else taking it on. This hasn’t gone unnoticed by producer Simon Kinberg. In an on-set interview with Digital Spy, the producer not only revealed that Wolverine will be showing up in X-MEN: APOCALYPSE, but he also said the following regarding the potential recasting of the character.

 “I do think you would want to figure out how to tell more Wolverine stories. So either we would try to entice Hugh to come back and eat more chicken and work out for a few months, or we would have to figure out a creative way to move forward. Honestly, I can’t imagine anybody else playing the part, and there’s not too many characters I can say that for.”

While it seems crazy to think that Fox could move the storyline forward without Wolverine, hardcore fans have complained in the past that the stories in the movies have been too Wolverine-centric. Could this be Fox’s opportunity to take advantage of the myriad of characters already populating that universe.

They’ve already proven that they can tell a story without him in X-MEN: FIRST CLASS, so who’s to say they can’t again?

What are your thoughts on Jackman being replaced as Wolverine? Let us know in the comments down below!

WOLVERINE 3 hits theaters on March 3, 2017.

SOURCE: My Entertainment World, Digital Spy