The folks at Empire had a chance to speak with Lauren Shuler Donner, producer of all films X-Men related, at the press junket for the release of X-Men Origins: Wolverine on Blu-ray and they discussed the future of the franchise.
The feature that Empire put together on the interview was broken down into four sections for each of the movies: Wolverine 2, X-Men: First Class, Deadpool, and Magneto. We’ll go through and discuss each, passing to you the key things Donner says and giving our thoughts on it and how it relates to what we expected to see from these movies since their inception.
To start, they touched on the most definite film we’ll see coming our way in the next fear year: Wolverine 2.
“It’s actually the story we wanted to use for the first Wolverine film, but [Fox head honcho] Tom Rothman preferred to set the character up with an origin story first. This movie will really focus on the relationship between Wolverine and Mariko, the daughter of a Japanese crime lord, and what happens to him in Japan.”
The Chris Claremont-Frank Miller run on Wolverine which saw him on his adventures to Japan is one of the most classic Wolverine tales there is and so it’s no wonder they want to turn that story into a feature film. That being said, I can’t say I disagree with Rothman’s reasoning to want to tell Wolverine’s origin first. We saw hints of his origin scattered throughout all of the X-trilogy so it was a story that had to be told. Although I’d argue that X-Men Origins: Wolverine didn’t do a great job of that, it made sense to do that before seeing Wolverine head to Japan, something not touched on at all in the X-Trilogy. The alternative would have been to do the Japan story first as a prequel to X-Men, followed by another prequel based before it? Nah, that doesn’t work as well.
I wasn’t impressed by either of the last two X-Men movies but I still hold hope that the franchise can turn it around and it looks like they’re going in the right direction with Wolverine’s next adventure. With the hiring of Oscar-winner Chris McQuarrie to write the script, with Donner’s and Jackman’s desire to have this film closely follow the source material, and with the studio seemingly holding back until (hopefully) selecting the right director, I can’t deny that I’m excited to see Wolverine in Japan, especially with what Donner says next:
“We want to make it authentic so I think it’s very likely we’ll be shooting in Japan. Also, by the way, we are looking to have the Japanese Fox executives involved in helping and counselling us, because it’s a different culture and we don’t want to portray the way they speak, dress and act in an inaccurate way. I think it’s likely the characters will speak English rather than Japanese with subtitles.”
Remember when this was a big issue for that other film McQuarrie wrote, Valkyrie? Once we all saw the movie and how they transitioned from Tom Cruise speaking German with subtitles into speaking English along with the rest of the cast, it didn’t really affect the film’s story or characters in the end. Although I admit it was weird hearing a group of German characters on screen with a half-dozen uniquely different non-German accents. I never expected to see the Wolverine sequel mostly spoken in Japanese with subtitles so this is of no surprise and shouldn’t alarm any fans.
Another thing we can expect from Wolverine 2 is Hugh Jackman fighting a lot less with his claws (after the horrible CGI of X-Men Origins: Wolverine, this is a bonus):
“What’s cool about this part of the saga is that Wolverine will be fighting in a different style to what we’ve seen before… There’ll be samurai, ninja, katana blades, different forms of martial arts – mano-a-mano, extreme fighting. We’re going to come up with a new style of fighting. It’s going to be awesome.”
As you can tell, Donner is sure excited about the potential for Wolverine’s next story so let’s hope we get a high quality movie with Wolverine 2.