Even as superheroes like Iron Man and The Avengers thrive under Marvel Studios’ watch, the X-Men film franchise (over at 20th Century Fox) has continued to struggle.

First, X-Men: The Last Stand took longer than expected to happen, after director Bryan Singer was swapped for Brett Ratner. Thereafter, the Origins: Wolverine spinoff/prequel was infamously passed around to several different filmmakers, ultimately suffering from too much studio interference; and, just last year, X-Men: First Class managed to re-invigorate fan interest in the franchise, despite it being pushed through the production pipeline at a furious rate.

The same has been true for Wolverine 2 (a.k.a. The Wolverine) – which, after a couple years’ worth of false starts, is finally ready to begin production. Fox officially settled on a July 2013 release date for The Wolverine a few months back, but it’s star Hugh Jackman who has revealed (via Twitter) that principal photography will commence this August. That will allow the A-lister around two months to “take a break” from acting – and rebuild his bulky frame, after he dropped some weight in order to portray a malnourished Jean Valjean for the Les Misérables musical adaptation (which will wrap production in a few weeks, says Jackman).

Location shooting on The Wolverine will take place overseas in Japan, as the film is based primarily on Chris Claremont’s famous “Wolverine” comic story arc from the 1980s – wherein Logan goes on an adventure in (and around) Tokyo, encountering many a dangerous foe and friend along the way. However, sound stage work on the X-Men flick (which may or may not be released in 3D) will be completed over in Australia.

James Mangold (3:10 to Yuma, Knight and Day) is directing Wolverine 2, working from an original script draft penned by Christopher McQuarrie (The Usual Suspects, Valkyrie) – then, subsequently reworked by Mark Bomback (Live Free or Die Hard, Unstoppable). That’s a complimentary mix of talent, as McQuarrie is known for writing more cerebral, dramatic thrillers, whereas Bomback’s forte is in the area of faster-paced, spectacle-driven action fare. Mangold completes the triumvirate by being a flexible filmmaker, who has handled everything from serious real-life stories (Girl, Interrupted) to lightweight rom-coms (Kate & Leopold) and the previously-mentioned western/action titles.

That’s all to say: there are enough skilled people working behind-the-scenes on The Wolverine to suggest it could potentially be Jackman’s best outing as the titular character yet (something the actor has long promised). Many fans will probably always wonder what the film might’ve been like, had it been directed by Darren Aronofsky as originally planned – but, c’est la vie, as they say…

Look for The Wolverine to attack theaters around the U.S on July 26th, 2013.

Source: Hugh Jackman