– by David Kozlowski

Hugh Jackman walked away from his career-defining role as Wolverine earlier this year in the remarkable Logan, directed by James Mangold. If you’re an X-Men fan, it’s heresy to suggest that anyone other than Jackman should ever play Wolverine; if you’re a Fox studio exec, it’s lunacy to keep this character off the board, as the X-Men films have succeeded in large part due to the presence of Wolverine. However, both the fanbase and the studio know that Hollywood is driven by economics, and Wolverine equates to boatloads of cash — sooner or later he’s coming back. The only questions are: when will it happen, and who will play him?

According to THR, even though Logan cost less than either of the previous two Wolverine films, it was far better received and made significantly more at the box office. Jackman absolutely went out on top, and even though Logan was outside of the X-Men’s film continuity, most fans respect the movie as the definitive take on the character. You know all of this must be killing the execs at Fox.

Related – X-Men: Dark Phoenix Is ‘Very Accurate To The Comics,’ Says Actress Alexandra Shipp

As we reported earlier, the outlet also stated that Logan‘s director, James Mangold, and his team are working on a sequel that focuses on the breakout character from that film, X-23/Laura (Dafne Keen). Mangold’s intends Laura to pick up the mantle, so to speak, at least until Wolverine returns down the line… obviously, there are major questions about continuity to be addressed with this premise.

Mangold talks about his approach to Logan, in which he sought to punt the prevailing superhero film model:

“I think I have a kind of healthy contempt for this kind of film. Even the genre. I tried to bring with it a kind of jaundiced eye about formula that we’ve gotten really in the habit of delivering on, and trying to deliver a picture that offers some of the same sense of wonder and imagination that these films tend to offer, but doing so in a way where it’s less about fetishizing costumes and equipment and CG effects and more about character.”

There’s no arguing that Logan was a study in character, but despite Mangold’s best intentions the movie returned to superhero formula during the final act. Still, no one would argue that Logan, much like the equally successful Deadpool, was different enough from standard superhero fare, and audiences obviously responded to it in a massive way.

Jackman, however, has moved on and isn’t involved in Mangold’s “Laura” project; his remarks are undeniably final, in terms of ownership over Wolverine:

“I think there was a moment in the first X-Men… probably five or six weeks in… when I felt I was really making Wolverine my own. It took me a little while to get there. I think it wasn’t until this last one, in terms of watching the movie, where I felt kind of separate from the character … where I could think, ‘Man I love that character’… I was probably not fully at peace with the work I had done with him until this last one.”

And yet, Jackman is realistic about the power and resonance of Wolverine. He recognizes that it’s only a matter of time before it is recast:

“I know someone will. I hope it will be recast.”

When (or if) do you expect Wolverine to be recast? Let us know in the comments down below!

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  • Eric Anderson

    I am of the opinion, as great a run as Jackman has had with the Wolverine character, that there remains the opportunity to tell a better Xmen story where Wolverine isn’t the primary or lead character. In fact, I would say that to date, none of the Xmen movies has captured the essence of the Xmen. Yes, I know Jackman and J. Lawrence are bankable actors, but they’ve really done a disservice to what makes the Xmen (comics) great. I’ve enjoyed (more or less) all of the X-universe movies, but if I’m being honest, only Deadpool really understood the character and got it right. I think recasting Wolverine as part of a serious, tone-perfect reboot would for me be 100% worthwhile, but I personally no value in more Wolverine centric movies with some other actor. Its time to move on.

    • 2 Left Thumbs

      Well put. I support that 100%
      We have had some great supermovies with the X-Men title, but not really a great X-Men movie! The best ones were Deadpool and Logan, and those were single character stories. We really need an awesome team movie with equal importance and equal screentime for all the characters!

  • Bruce Norris

    Was watching an old episode of “THAT ’70s SHOW” and it hit me…again.

    The dynamic between Donna, Eric and Hyde is the template for the love triangle between Jean, Scott and Logan.

  • Moby85

    It’s too beloved of a portrayal to do anytime soon. I think he was the one X-Man that was so connected with that character you couldn’t/wouldn’t recast him for his roles in the First Class era films. There are so many other stories to work on, let Wolverine rest.

  • Wild Dreams

    I liked Logan….a lot. But even though it’s inevitable that either they will get Jackman back somehow or recast ( too much money to be made from wolverine not to ) I wouldn’t mind them letting the character sit for a bit, give us a chance to miss him. As I said I enjoyed Logan, I think the little girl who played X23 was great but if they wanna go that route and give Laura the spotlight I think a older slightly more comic accurate take on the character could be money if done the right way if they really wanna fill the Wolverine void.

  • jonathing

    short stocky hairy

David Kozlowski is a writer, podcaster, and visual artist. A U.S. Army veteran, David worked 20 years in the videogame industry and is a graduate of Arizona State University's Film and Media Studies.