2015 has barely begun and yet we find ourselves frequently looking ahead to the 2016, which will see the release of three major entries in the ongoing adventures of big-budget tentpole comic book movies: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, Captain America: Civil War and X-Men: Apocalypse.
By now, Bryan Singer’s Days of Future Past followup has been confirmed as part of Fox’s own stab at the ever-popular Shared Movie Universe model, and we’ve seen a number of new reports on Apocalypse in recent days. From a Cerebro teaser and speculation about Quicksilver to a new, younger Nightcrawler actor and there casting of Colossus for Deadpool, Fox’s flagship comic book franchise is currently full steam ahead.
Thanks to DoFP‘s critical and commercial success, the X-Men series is not only back on track, but may prove to be as expansive and intriguing as an inter-connected universe as that of Disney/Marvel’s and Warner Bros./DC’s. While the latter is just getting going, the former is already well-established, but will see several of its key players –such as Robert Downey Jr. – potentially leave the MCU. What of Hugh Jackman, whose first portrayal of Wolverine/Logan predates all of this?
We’ve heard plenty about Jackman’s belief that the recasting of Wolverine is “inevitable“ and indeed, early plans for Days of Future Past included the casting of a younger actor in the role. Add to that the recent ‘Death of Wolverine’ comic book arc and we’re left with uncertainty on how long Jackman will play his signature role… or so it seemed.
In an interview with Cigar Aficionado (via E! Online), Jackman stated that after watching Michael Keaton’s tour de force turn in Birdman, he was inspired, saying:
“I said to my wife, ‘The moral is that I should never stop playing Wolverine. I’ve got to find a way to keep playing him until I die.’ I know that someday they’ll recast the role with another actor…I’d be happy if the role was eventually recast. It would mean that it had become iconic.”
Did Jackman decide that any attempt to move out of his famous superhero role’s shadow – as Keaton’s character attempts to do in Birdman – would be ultimately futile? If so, it’s probably an astute observation and – let’s face it – despite all the talk of Jackman someday passing the role on, Fox will likely let him continue to play Wolverine for as long as he (and/or the fans) wants.
After all, Jackman has never shown anything but enthusiasm for the role and respect for its history and fans. He once again re-confirmed his commitment to the role, saying:
“I always want to be in better shape than I was for the last one. I don’t believe in stagnation. People say they try to maintain the status quo. But I believe the natural cycle means you’re either advancing and getting closer to something or you’re receding.”
Jackman followed this up with the statement that “Every time I play Wolverine I want to go further, physically and emotionally.” With at least two more onscreen turns ahead as Logan – in Apocalypse and the still-untitled Wolverine 3 in (maybe) 2017 – could “going further” with the character mean seeing it through to a big screen death (and likely resurrection)?
Or, if Jackman gets to stick with the role for decades, would he be willing to cap off a great career by finally giving us an ‘Old Man Logan’ movie in 2035? Maybe not, but with long-term thinking now in vogue with these shared-universe films, anything seems possible.
Fantastic Four opens August 7th, 2015, Deadpool on February 12, 2016, X-Men: Apocalypse on May 27, 2016, Gambit on October 7 2016, Wolverine 3 (not the official title) on March 3rd, 2017, Fantastic Four 2 on July 14th, 2017, and some as-yet unspecified X-Men film on July 13th, 2018.