Few actors will ever be as iconic in their comic book movie roles as Hugh Jackman was in portraying Wolverine. Fans were moved to tears when James Mangold brought the curtains down on the character in this year’s Logan, wrapping a franchise that yielded the critically slammed X-Men Origins: Wolverine in 2009, and Mangold’s first stab at the character in 2013’s The Wolverine. Logan proved to be the most critically (even being touted as Oscar-worthy) and financially acclaimed of the lot, but what it did was signify just how perfect Jackman was for the role. He didn’t simply play the Wolverine on-screen, Jackman was the Wolverine.
The Aussie actor debuted in 2000 in Bryan Singer’s X-Men and would go on to become the face of Fox’s X-Verse. From X2 to Brett Ratner’s X-Men: The Last Stand, Jackman stood head and shoulders above everyone else. Whether the film was panned by critics, whether it boasted a weak script or whether the cast failed to live up to expectations, one constant stood out over the years and that was Jackman. As he faded into the sunset 17 years later, Logan’s death also marks the end of Jackman’s appearances in these X-Men movies, as Mangold’s swan song was written years ahead in a dystopian future where all the X-Men were dead.
And Jackman did indeed make it clear that he was done with the role and not looking back. There would be no more cameos like those he took on when Fox softly rebooted the X-Men with First Class and Apocalypse. The claws were retracted permanently and in the wake of Singer’s Days of Future Past Jackman was now ready to officially hand the baton off to a younger generation of mutants for a new audience. But does that mean that Fox has to retire the character? When it comes to one of the biggest faces of Marvel Comics, the answer is a resounding no! Fox should get to recasting ASAP because they need to have their MVP on board as things get busier in their mutant universe over the next few years.
The studio will be dishing out a lot of properties revolving around the X-Men with X-Men: Dark Phoenix and New Mutants already being two key projects. Now another has been confirmed with Drew Goddard directing the X-Force movie. With Cable and Deadpool (thanks to a couple solo films) currently at the center of Fox’s setup, having Wolverine enter the fray would give Fox a trifecta to go toe-to-toe with the MCU’s trio of Captain America, Iron Man and Thor, as well as the DCEU’s trinity of Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman.
Some would argue that Fox already has this with the younger versions of Xavier, Magneto and Mystique but the reason why the aforementioned triple-threat makes sense is that Wolverine has been affiliated with the other two soldiers much more in the comics over the last few years. Wolverine brought Deadpool into Uncanny X-Force to ensure the black-ops team had their fair share of killers without a conscience, and Ryan Reynolds already begged Jackman to link up — sadly it all came to no avail. Now Goddard has a chance to look past the shadow Jackman cast and merge this modern X-Force run with the ’90s comics which saw the team founded by Cable after he groomed the New Mutants. In short, Goddard has the catalyst for all three badass anti-heroes to link up! The question now stands — should Jackman’s absence rob fans of this opportunity?
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