It’ll be the end of an era when the curtains drop on “Logan,” allowing Hugh Jackman to reel back in his claws and walk off into the sunset. In a time where Fox gets a lot of flak for how it has handled the X-Men characters and other Marvel properties, Jackman’s been one of the redeeming factors, truly embodying the spirit of our favorite Canadian superhero.
With X-23 now unleashed on the world, speculation’s rife as to who’ll take up the mantle of Wolverine, as the studio is seemingly pressing on with a new Phoenix saga, as well as the likes of the villainous Sinister. Fans are waiting to see what’ll happen post-Jackman, even though he’s said maybe he’ll reconsider if Marvel Studios allows an Avengers crossover. But until then, CBR decided to look at 15 candidates we think can fill his Weapon X shoes!
15. AARON TAYLOR-JOHNSON
Chris Evans and Ryan Reynolds aren’t the only ones who can play multiple comic book characters. Johnson’s already not that far behind as he’s played the lead role in the “Kick-Ass” movie franchise, as well as Quicksilver in “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” At 26, he brings with him a lot of experience while still having time on his side for Fox to pivot the franchise around.
The Englishman has shown he can be aloof and goofy (as with “Kick-Ass”), stoic (as seen in Gareth Edwards’ “Godzilla”), but he also packs intensity in his arsenal, as we witnessed last year in “Nocturnal Animals.” His depiction of a road-rage serial killer really showed how unhinged he could be, which is sure to translate over to this year’s “The Wall,” where he plays a soldier under the fire of an Iraqi sniper. Johnson has that young A-list star power to bring to the table too and freshen things up for new Wolverine stories.
14. TOM HARDY
Few people can bring it like Tom Hardy does. Whether it’s through grunts a la “Warrior” or his new series, “Taboo,” or breaking the Batman as Bane, his intimidation factor is off the charts. He’s one of Hollywood’s biggest action stars and would be a great replacement for Jackman if Fox wanted to keep Wolverine as a top-tier hero. At 39 years, he has age on his side, the physique needed to scare fellow mutants, and a resume that’s super-stacked!
“Mad Max: Fury Road” also punctuates just why directors like George Miller, Christopher Nolan and Guy Ritchie gravitate to him. He’s as dedicated as they get and can own any role thrown at him. Hardy’s disposition would fit almost any Marvel story Fox wanted to adapt and if they want to make Wolverine the leader of the new wave of X-films, Hardy’s the perfect guy for a franchise that already has immense international clout in James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender.
13. CHARLIE HUNNAM
Having the role of King Arthur, as well as piloting a big robot under Guillermo del Toro, is good enough to have on the resume when applying for the Wolverine job. Hunnam’s quickly embedded himself in geek hearts worldwide with these roles, starring as the titular character in Guy Ritchie’s “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword” later this year, and of course, in 2013’s monster hit “Pacific Rim.”
He also starred on FX’s “Sons of Anarchy” for seven seasons, cementing his position as a modern action star. At only 36 years of age, he also has time on his side, and his fans would certainly vouch for him, given his penchant for rugged, manly and tortured roles. Hunnam also fits the physique needed, and surely 2017 will be a year he explodes even bigger in both physical and professional stature. If Fox producers are smart, they’d be proactive and lock him down before Marvel Studios try to lure him in with the “Captain Britain” property.
12. PAUL WESLEY
Paul Wesley is certainly a wildcard candidate, as he’s not as versed on the big screen as well as he is on the small one. He’s specialized in television, mostly as a teen heartthrob, playing a vampire in “The Vampire Diaries,” dealing with werewolves in “Wolf Lake,” and exploring angels on Earth in “Fallen” — so he’s familiar to the sci-fi and geek realm.
Fans would also remember that in 2003 he portrayed Lucas Luthor, Lex’s brother in the “Smallville” episode “Prodigal,” so he does have some comic book cred to his name. At 34, Wesley brings a huge teen fanbase with him, as he’s one of the flagship faces of the CW network. With time on his side, he can establish himself as the new Wolverine because he’s shown the grit and dark nature needed on “The Vampire Diaries,” and could be ideal if Fox is looking to build a new movie star as opposed to splashing for a costly A-lister.
Rain is a South Korean entertainer who has successfully transitioned from the singing arena to acting. He was in 2008’s “Speed Racer” and the epic action-fest, “Ninja Assassin,” a year later, which was co-written by comic legend, J. Michael Straczynski. He’s shown his range on the big and small screens, and has that aura as an action star waiting to be discovered.
In 2014, the 34 year old was in “The Prince” alongside Bruce Willis and John Cusack, so he has what it takes to romp with big Hollywood names. We know Logan as a Canadian export, World War soldier and an Avenger, but wouldn’t it be epic to switch the character up a bit with an Asian actor? Business-wise, it’d allow Fox to crack the Eastern cinema market in a big way, and also give the creative team the ability to explore new origins. After all, the cold, winter-filled Weapon X history has been flogged to death. As seen with Marvel and Amadeus Cho as Hulk, there’s a big opportunity here to make it rain with a new spin on Wolverine’s Far East stories.
10. NIKKI REED
Nikki Reed shot to prominence in 2003 with a movie she co-wrote called “Thirteen.” It was a controversial coming-of-age story that saw Evan Rachel Wood explode big time as well in critics’ eyes. The 28 year old Reed could be a great option for continuing the story of X-23, who’s being played by Dafne Keen in “Logan.” X-23, also known as Laura Kinney, is a clone of Wolverine who’s taken over his mantle in comics.
Reed’s youthful looks makes her a prime candidate, as well as her roles in the “Twilight” franchise and last year’s indie-horror, “Jack Goes Home.” If she joins the next generation of mutants, fans shouldn’t worry as she’s shown her skills in “The O.C.” and “Sleepy Hollow” on television, too. She’s an underrated actress, who looks like a maturing X-23, and could fit Fox if they’re looking for fresh, exuberant faces for the next wave of X-Men movies. She may not be primed for a solo Wolverine series, but she can definitely act as team support for the future children of the atom.
9. NORMAN REEDUS
If they pick Daryl, we riot? Seriously though, Norman Reedus would be another left-field pick, but as seen with his depiction of Daryl Dixon on “The Walking Dead,” there’s no one who’s better at scowling as a hero and scouring the wilderness to protect humankind than him. He’s 48, just like Jackman, which may work against him, but as we’ve seen with his bike-riding, bow-and-arrow-shooting attitude on AMC, he’s certainly a man’s man, especially if that man is a comic nerd!
He’s already famous for “The Boondock Saints” franchise, his role in “Blade II,” and he also impressed in last year’s action-packed “Triple 9.” Reedus also voiced Frank Castle, aka The Punisher, in “Iron Man: Rise of Technovore” back in 2013, compounding how versed he is in the comic book arena. If Rob Kirkman and company decide to take him out on “The Walking Dead” this season, then he’ll be looking for a job, so maybe — just maybe — Fox could offer him a healing factor after years of avoiding zombies.
8. LIAM HEMSWORTH
With older brother Chris dominating as Thor for Marvel Studios, it’s about time Liam got his toes wet in the superhero arena. He’s already taken on big box office franchises such as “Independence Day: Resurgence” and of course, “The Hunger Games” movie adaptations. The 27 year old Aussie also threw down in “The Expendables 2,” so if Jackman wants to pass the torch to a countryman, Fox could have a race in the horse right here.
Liam has the looks, the right age, the fanbase and the stature needed to continue Wolverine as a Hollywood draw. It’s unlikely Fox wants that short version of Logan anymore and are spoilt by the handsome lead that Jackman put forth, so if they want a younger person to take up where he left off, Liam is primed to fill the role. This would be a great chance to prove his hunger and dispel naysayers who don’t think he can cut it like Chris does.
7. TYLER HOECHLIN
After winning hearts over in “Teen Wolf” on MTV, who’d have ever thought he’d deliver as Superman on CBS’ “Supergirl” television series? Tyler Hoechlin did just that, bringing the warmth and endearment we rarely see from Henry Cavill on the big screen as Clark Kent. Hoechlin got his big break in “Road to Perdition” back in 2002, so maybe it’s his time to take on a bigger role in cinema.
The 29 year old American is another heartthrob who’s defying critics and he’s shown that he has range on television. Couple this with his chiseled frame and looks, and we could well have a winner on our hands here for the next Logan. He seems to be able to thrive under pressure as an actor and that’s something needed to replace Jackman. His “Teen Wolf” tenure has shown how adept he is for action roles, so while they’ll be big shoes to fill, the Wolverine shouldn’t be too new territory for him.
6. IWAN RHEON
Now, even though he’s been cast as Maximus The Mad on ABC’s “Inhumans,” what’s to stop Iwan Rheon from diving into another comic book character? The 31 year old Welshman has the look, height and the crazy eyes for Logan, if they wanted to focus on the comic-loyal berserker version of the character. Fans already know what he’s capable of from “Misfits” and “Game of Thrones,” so maybe he’d be interested in another geek notch.
Rheon can be yet another actor to don multiple comic book guises because “Inhumans” isn’t a movie franchise, which could allow his schedule to take on the new role as Logan. He’s one of the most talented actors around, as HBO fans saw over the years, and is another rising star whose full potential is yet to be harnessed in cinema. With his television colleague, Maisie Williams (Arya Stark on “GOT”), set to take on Wolfsbane’s role in “New Mutants,” Rheon may find such an opportunity too good to pass up.
5. JACK O’CONNELL
Jack O’Connell is a 26 year old actor who first rose to prominence as a hooligan antagonizing Michael Fassbender in the 2008 thriller, “Eden Lake.” Since then, he’s delivered emotionally riveting roles in 2013’s “Starred Up” (as a brutally violent prisoner), “300: Rise of an Empire,” and also, “Unbroken,” which was directed by Angelina Jolie. Last year, he also starred opposite George Clooney in “Money Monster,” hinting that he’s meant for huge, dramatic roles.
Fox would be wise to invest the Wolverine franchise in him, as they did the “Kingsman” one with Taron Egerton. O’Connell has that Brit flair to him, the looks but also a charisma that really builds itself on intense performances. He may have been typecast in the past into more physical and violent roles, but hey, these can all be applied to the Wolverine. Passing the torch requires a fresh face that can rough it with the best of Hollywood and carry the franchise on his back, and in that, O’Connell has proven his mettle.
4. TRAVIS FIMMEL
Travis Fimmel has had quite a storied career. From his days as a Calvin Klein model, he jumped into the lead role in “Tarzan” in 2003 on the WB, which lasted just one season. Since then, he’s grown leaps and bounds, taking on the role of Ragnar Lothbrok in the critically acclaimed television series “Vikings” on the History Channel, and also, starring in the adaptation of the video game “Warcraft” in 2016.
If anything, he’s shown he can carry a big property and could be the foundation the new Wolverine needs. The 37 year old Aussie has a fairly decent fanbase but still remains one of the more underrated faces in Hollywood, even though he more than held his own alongside Paula Patton, Ben Foster, Dominic Cooper and Toby Kebbell in “Warcraft.” Fox took a risk on Jackman, who was unknown in 2000, so why not gamble on Fimmel here? He’s got more of a foot in, and the acting chops needed to push forth.
3. COLIN FARRELL
Colin Farrell is another highly-decorated name that can be brought in to replace Jackman and don the adamantium claws. He has a vast resume as well, and is one of Hollywood’s most versatile actors. He played Bullseye in “Daredevil,” appeared in “Minority Report,” and also starred in geek properties such as the “Total Recall” reboot, as well as 2016’s “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.”
He may have lost his luster as an A-list lead, but last year, along with his role in “The Lobster,” has shown he’s still one of best around. Logan could be the character to restart the 40 year old Irishman once more as a go-to guy for a franchise. He’s got the attitude, the physique and the overall vibe of Wolverine down naturally. Farrell embodies that beer-swigging, bar-brawling persona, so Fox has a major chance here to spring for him before a rival studio does. He’s way too big of a name and talent to just have floating around out there and would suit Wolverine quite well.
2. JAKE GYLLENHAAL
Jake Gyllenhaal has been nominated for so many awards, and is surely an Oscar waiting to happen. From “Brokeback Mountain” to “Prisoners” to “Brothers” to “Nightcrawler,” his range is off the charts and comparable to bigwigs such as Christian Bale and Leonardo DiCaprio. Geeks would be fond of him from his “Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time” and “Donnie Darko” days, where he was still just raw potential.
Now, he’s one of Hollywood’s leading men and the 36-year-old has all the scruff and buff we need for the next Wolverine. Gyllenhaal would bring star power to the character, maybe even bigger than Jackman, and would certainly fill seats. It’d be a huge investment by Fox but one that would be worth it because he’s never been one to shy away from box office titans, even though his last few roles seem to be ones meant to win awards. “Southpaw” is another example of how rough and tough he can get, which Wolverine certainly requires.
1. RYAN GOSLING
Ryan Gosling has come a long way from the “Mickey Mouse Club” and “Young Hercules” on Fox Kids. He’s one of Hollywood’s most sought-after and esteemed actors. “Murder By Numbers,” “Blue Valentine,” “Drive” and “Only God Forgives” show his range, and reiterate how good he really is. His geek status will surely be elevated this year when “Blade Runner 2049” hits screens, so if Fox wants to lock the 29 year old down, now’s the time.
The icing on the cake? He’s Canadian, so we’d finally have a Canadian Wolverine, ready to tussle with fellow Canuck, Deadpool (as played by countryman Ryan Reynolds). Gosling would be ideal to take over from Jackman as a big name carrying the franchise, and would surely be an automatic box office draw. If Fox wants the numbers to flood in, and a fine actor unsheathing his claws, then Gosling’s the Canadian they should be looking for. He’s got the big name, the Oscar attentive fans, and the charm to shape the character in his very own way.
Who would you like to see pick up the Wolverine mantle at Fox? Let us know in the comments!
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