The shortlist of director candidates to helm Wolverine 2 was narrowed down to one two weeks ago and now it’s being reported that negotiations with Darren Aronofsky are almost complete. While we can now say Aronofsky will be directing Hugh Jackman yet again, talks have now moved to selecting a start date and shooting locations.

The Gavin Hood-directed Wolverine was shot mainly in New Zealand and Australia, with a few scenes filmed in New Orleans and British Columbia. For the sequel, much of the movie will be shot on location in Japan with the sound stage portions being done in New York for the sake of Jackman’s and Aronofsky’s families as Deadline points out.

Since Hugh Jackman is intimately involved with the production of Wolverine 2 as he was with his first solo outing, Fox wanted to bring someone in who has a resume of films that fans can get behind and someone who already has a strong working relationship with the Aussie star. Both Wolverine and X-Men 3 earned big money at the box office but both were not so successful from a critical standpoint. The studio and producer Lauren Shuler Donner wish to turn that around as they move forward in expanding the X-Men franchise and they hope to bring back the ratings and positive fan reception with X-Men: First Class and Wolverine 2.

Wolverine 2 will follow Logan after losing his memory in the first movie as he heads to Japan. The film, penned by Oscar-winning writer Christopher McQuarrie will attempt to adapt one of the most popular and famous Wolverine stories from the Marvel Comics by Chris Claremont/Frank Miller.

Jackman had dropped out of Avon Man back in August to begin training for Wolverine 2. With production set to begin in Spring 2011, we can expect Fox to set an early Summer release date in 2012 in similar fashion to all four previous X-Men titles. With First Class opening in 2011, this will give Fox at least one mutant blockbuster per year for the next two years unless they can also get Ryan Reynolds to shoot Deadpool next year as well, also for 2012 release, in between his Green Lantern movies for which they’re already scripting a sequel.

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Source: Deadline