After set photos revealed the various looks sported by star Hugh Jackman portraying The Wolverine’s titular character at different points in the X-Man’s life, the buzz surrounding the standalone is-but-isn’t sequel to X-Men Origins: Wolverine hit a new high with the latest reports. From rumors of X-Men franchise star Famke Janssen making an appearance in the film to confirmation that the film is based after the X-Men trilogy, these were only a few tips of the proverbial iceberg.

The first official look at Hugh Jackman’s abs Wolverine debuted a month ago and today we have the very first official poster to go along with news that The Wolverine will be the first 3D X-Men film.

Twentieth Century Fox has begun the marketing campaign for the next Wolverine solo affair and today star Hugh Jackman and director James Mangold sat down for a live chat with Marvel.com’s Ryan Penagos (Agent M) to discuss the development of The Wolverine and answer loads of fan questions. The video can be watched up top and here are some of the interesting bits covered:

  • Villains get to Wolverine in ways other characters haven’t in the previous films
  • Mangold’s aim was to avoid the “super-duper abilities” and keep the film “grounded” in that what Wolverine does feels physical and possible for someone with his “credible abilities” – bring things down to earth, no less visually exciting, little less dependant on CG
  • Action is very physical, fight choreography is amped up big time.
  • Hugh: Wolverine’s ultimate weapon is his rage and that shows through more than ever.
  • Mangold compares to The Bourne movies and The Dark Knight
  • Hugh talks about training harder, eating better and starting earlier.
  • Wolverine deals with Yakuza, industrialists, politicians, etc.
  • Jackman and Mangold talk their favorite Wolverine comics and superpowers
  • The Wolverine is more action-packed than any other X-film
  • For Hugh, film and its development feels fresh, even after starring in four series installments already

Perhaps the juiciest highlight for moviegoers following the film’s development is when Mangold talks about why they placed The Wolverine after the X-Men trilogy, explaining that they chose this path so it doesn’t have to follow a narrow path and setup one of the previously released films. We’ll find out more on the implications of this decision soon, but it’s becoming increasingly clear that The Wolverine isn’t quite as “standalone” as first pitched. Not only is it a sequel of sorts to the stories told thus far, but could very well lead-in to X-Men: Days of Future Past the following summer.

The live chat ended with the unveiling of the first official poster for The Wolverine, one that embraces a minimalist black and white sketch design:

This image of course, is not to be confused with the unofficial one-sheet we at Screen Rant discovered before shooting began – the same one-sheet which sparked a tad bit of controversy from some Japanese fans of the character none too happy with the idea of the mutant’s adamantium claws shredding Japan’s national flag.

We’ve also learned today via Stark Industries RU that The Wolverine will be post-converted into 3D, marking the first time Twentieth Century Fox has embraced the money-making format for one of their Marvel films. X-Men: First Class, despite releasing against Green LanternCaptain America and Thor which all came in 3D last summer, did not come in 3D itself. Much of that was due to the highly rushed nature of the prequel’s production but Fox won’t miss that opportunity going forward.

For a film seemingly dark in visuals from the imagery and set photos made publicly available so far, and the fact that the film wasn’t shot in native 3D, there will justifiably be plenty of skepticism behind this decision by the studio, especially considering Mangold’s emphasis on reducing reliance on CG effects – the type of effects that actually are easy to post-convert and would benefit the most from the process.

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.

Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes.

Sources: Stark Industries RU, Marvel, Fox, We Got This Covered