After devoting himself to the role of Wolverine in three X-Men films and all of the comic book reading that came with the job, star Hugh Jackman wanted an opportunity to explore more of the character’s history. He did with X-Men Origins: Wolverine, but that’s not the story Jackman wanted to tell in his first solo outing. The Aussie star instead wanted to bring to life the classic ’80s Wolverine miniseries by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller that propelled the character into becoming one of the greatest comic book superheroes of all-time.

With The Wolverine, Jackman finally gets the chance to take Logan on an epic journey to Japan where the character will find love and a new threat he’s never faced before. But what’s the driving force behind the character’s trip overseas this time around?

We say “this time” since Logan (real name James Howlett) has lived well over a century, and over the decades has fought in nearly every major war, including WWII which saw him in Japan. That forgotten segment of his history is part of the plot of The Wolverine and the driving force behind his travels to Japan.

Unlike the prequel X-Men Origins: WolverineThe Wolverine takes place after the X-Men trilogy where Logan is aware of much of his past and his lost loved ones (including Jean Grey). The story therefore deals with the emotional drain of immortality and we find the titular character in a very bad place. Producer Hutch Parker tells Empire a little bit about Wolverine’s journey:

“We pick up Logan in a very isolated state, full of self-loathing. He is sought out by a young Asian woman for reasons he doesn’t fully understand, who is asking him to follow her to Japan where he is meant to reconnect with someone he spent prison-time with in Nagasaki. And the legacy of that experience – effectively Logan saved him – is that this man is on his deathbed, and is looking to give him a gift, to thank him for the life he’s had. But this gift draws Logan into a very complex and very unexpected world within both contemporary Japan, and to some degree the feudal history of Japan. The quality of this story is that it takes Logan on such a challenging personal journey. He’s so in isolation, so out of his element. It’s a much more powerful distillation of his character than you’ve seen before. It’s why people have always love this particular story.”

Is the young Asian woman who seeks Logan Mariko Yoshida (Tao Okamoto) and is that how they fall in love? Or is it Yukio (Rila Fukushima)?

What is the “gift” the old dying man offer to Logan and does it have anything to do with the ‘weakness’ his enemies employ against him?

The following image also appeared in the latest issue of Empire, featuring Wolverine dressed as slick as ever, beard and claws included.

The Wolverine is directed by James Mangold off of Mark Bomback and Christopher McQuarrie’s screenplay. It stars Hugh Jackman, Svetlana Khodchenkova, Will Yun Lee, Brian Tee, Hiroyuki Sanada, and Rila Fukushima.

The Wolverine hits theaters July 26, 2013. X-Men: Days of Future Past hits theaters on July 18th, 2014.

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Source: Empire (via CBM)