Following the earthquake that devastated Japan more than a year, it seemed anything but certain whether Fox would be able to film parts of The Wolverine in that country, where much of the story takes place. Further doubt was cast by erroneous reports of a Vancouver shoot, followed just last week by the official announcement of a Sydney, Australia, production.
But at CinemaCon 2012, Fox CEO Tom Rothman confirmed that Fox Studios Australia will be used only for the stage work, with Japan being utilized for location shoots for the James Mangold-directed feature.
"Stage work is always in a warehouse, so it doesn't really matter," he told MTV News. "Location work will be in Japan. So it's filmed in both places, set in Japan. A great number of Japanese actors will be in it, and it's based on the very famous run of the comics."
That famous run, of course, is the 1982 Wolverine miniseries by by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller, which has Logan battling ninjas and the politics of the Tokyo criminal underworld for the heart of his ex-lover, the daughter of a Japanese crime lord. Star Hugh Jackman revealed at Comic-Con International that his character will fight Silver Samurai, indicating the screenplay, by Christopher McQuarrie (The Usual Suspects) with rewrites by Mark Bomback (Total Recall), also borrows from Uncanny X-Men #172-174.
Although 2009's X-Men Origins: Wolverine grossed $373 million worldwide, it was widely panned by professionals and fans alike -- a critical reception Rothman, and Jackman, have no desire to repeat.
"We listen and learn -- you gotta listen and learn and try to do better every day. [...] The script is excellent, and Hugh Jackman is committed, he's very, very determined," he said. "He feels very personally involved, very committed to the fans, and I can just tell you on behalf of him, his goal is to make the ultimate bad-ass, berserker rage Wolverine."
Production is set to begin in August. The Wolverine opens July 26, 2013.