The Wolverine: A Look At 8 Potential Directors

Published 4 years ago by , Updated February 15th, 2014 at 8:46 pm,

The Wolverine New Director The Wolverine: A Look At 8 Potential Directors

Ever since Darren Aronofsky dealt a crippling blow to the production of The Wolverine by exiting the project, Hugh Jackman and Twentieth Century Fox have been forced to find another director who, by Jackman’s own description, is “as good” as Aronofsky. In their search to pick the right person to helm the quasi-sequel, names such as David Slade (The Twilight Saga: Eclipse) and Duncan Jones (Source Code) popped up, with no news on the project in a month and a half since.

Reports now claim that Fox is looking at a shortlist of directors which includes 8 names, none of which include the previously rumored candidates.

Both X-Men Origins: Wolverine and X-Men 3, directed by Gavin Hood and Brett Ratner respectively, were torn apart by critics, splitting the fanbases in two. After two well-recieved X-Men films by Bryan Singer, these two following films were considered the “bad” ones and the studio desperately needed to right the ship of the X-Men franchise if they wanted to continue expanding it with more spin-offs, prequels and sequels.

By all indications, they’ve successfully done so with the help of director Matthew Vaughn and producer Bryan Singer with X-Men: First Class which has received nothing short of positive reviews from media screenings thus far. This trend was expected to continue with the high-in-demand Darren Aronofsky re-teaming with Jackman for a new take on the adamantium-laced mutant which would follow the character’s adventures in Japan.

So, without further ado, the current 8 candidates to direct Wolverine 2 (titled “The Wolverine”) include:

  • Antoine Fuqua (Training Day)
  • Doug Liman (Jumper)
  • Gary Shore (commercials director)
  • Gavin O’Connor (Pride and Glory)
  • James Mangold (Knight and Day)
  • Jose Padilha (Elite Squad)
  • Justin Lin (Fast Five)
  • Mark Romanek (Never Let Me Go)

Many would argue that some of these names don’t exactly compare to the profile of Darren Aronofsky but there are some interesting choices to be had. The obvious commercial choice would be Justin Lin who recently hit a home run with Fast Five, a movie that confirmed a long-term future of the Fast and the Furious series. With Terminator 5 going nowhere at the moment due to Arnold Schwarzenegger handling personal issues and the Highlander remake sounding more and more like he won’t even direct it, Lin’s schedule is open and this could be a film he’d be very interested in doing. Better yet, if he could do for Wolverine what First Class is doing for the team-based X-Men series, he’d solidify himself as an A-List director.

David Slade (Left) and Duncan Jones (Right) not in the running.

Another interesting choice is Antoine Fuqua who holds a resume loaded with powerful action films including Tears of the Sun, Shooter and The Replacement Killers. The tone of Tears of the Sun meshes with what I believe fans want from a Wolverine flick so I’m a supporter of him helming its successor.

The third and fourth options most viable are Mark Romanek, who directed the television adaptation of Locke & Key which unfortunately was not picked up by Fox, and James Mangold who, while making the fluff pic Knight and Day with Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz, nailed it with 3:10 to Yuma and Walk the Line prior to that. Locke & Key is another beloved comic book adaptation and at the moment and its pilot’s director, Romanek, who made a splash last year with the impressive and dramatic Never Let Me Go, is free. Mangold on the other hand, is only working on the upcoming TV series, The 2-2, at the moment with other film projects in development for the future.

Lastly, Doug Liman is also a serious contender, having seen major success with the Brad Pitt-Angelina Jolie starrer (and relationship starter) Mr. & Mrs. Smith. While his Jumper didn’t meet expectations, he helped launch the Bourne franchise with The Bourne Identity.

In filling Aronofsky’s lightly treaded shoes, Fox likely won’t go with a relative unknown (i.e. Jose Padilha, Gary Shore), but then again they signed visual effects guru Tim Miller to direct X-Men Origins: Deadpool with Ryan Reynolds so all 8 do have a chance.

Who’d you like to see direct The Wolverine?

The Wolverine was aiming for a summer 2012 release, but without an official release date and post-tsunami conditions in Japan, it could be delayed another year.


Follow me on Twitter @rob_keyes

Source: Variety

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  1. I hope it works out for Wolverine 2 like it seems (Strong emphasis there) to be with XFC. If not then its time for Hugh to hang up the claws.

  2. I hope it works out for Wolverine 2 like it seems (Strong emphasis there) to be with XFC. If not then its time for Hugh to hang up the claws. He needs this to be better.

  3. Antoine Fuqua would be the most interesting choice given the nature of films like Training Day, Tears of the Sun and Brooklyn’s Finest if they are going for a darker themed movie. He also has shown a skill for action with Shooter, the Replacement Killers and King Arthur(the directors cut not the butchered film release version).

    Odds are though Doug Liman would be a better fit for the studio since I think he could give them want they want commercially. Lin and Mangold kind of fall in the category as well, the rest pretty much seem like safety net choices and probably will catch all kinds of hell from people.

    • I totally agree! All awesome films in my collection and he can get it done..

  4. my bigger concern is what can Jackman do finally, imho, really fill Wolverines shoes. to he he’s so far only reached for Logan, and as of yet even begun to live up to the suited moniker. sorry Hugh… loved you in Oklahoma, but you just haven’t shown me the rage that is Wolverine.

    now, what director can help release that from him? okay, well a bit tough to play at since i haven’t read the screenplay, but i do have a general idea of where the films going (based on the Marvel canon). that being said, i’d be willing to see the project taken on by Lin, or dark horse of the list, Shore. though i have not seen what Lin has done in Tokyo Drift or Fast Five, i think the aggression drawn out in Better Luck Tomorrow has more going for it that any efforts offered up by the other choices. sure Fuqua did captured some great grit in in Training Day, but i credit Denzel for that. and Mangold really did a fantastic job with the 3:10 remake, it still wasn’t the type of action i’d attribute to Wolverine.

    other than Lin, i’d be willing to give Shore a shot. i think he’s the youngest of the group and has much to, and would be willing to, prove.

    but ultimately, if i knew which if any of these directors has previous knowledge of the character, i’d automatically peg them. and if i’m being totally honest, i’d reboot casting. sorry hugh, you just aren’t the feral little runt.

    • A lot of Hugh not being feral would be how the character is written. Jackman just can’t go all feral when he is sitting in Prof X’s mansion drinking a Davani.

  5. I think Justin Lin would be an excellent choice to direct “The Wolverine”!

    • was thinkin the same thing =)

  6. Out of all the mainstream Marvel properties – Wolverine has the potential to match the grit of Dark Knight.

    They need to unsheathe the claws and let Wolverine be Wolverine. So far he’s been nothing but a shell of the character.

  7. I think Gordon hit the nail on the head. Wolverine is a pretty visceral character. Batman could go dark because his character operates at a dark level (Bruce Wayne is basically his alter-ego in that he has to act like a mild mannered rich boy when all he really wants to do is seek out justice). Wolverine isn’t a laugh-a-minute character, he’s a badass weapon of chaos and I think the Japan story arc is supposed to be him trying to find peace when it just isn’t going to be in the cards for a person like Wolverine. It could go dark and it could do it well but they have to stop trying to make the character something it isn’t just like they did with Batman. Batman wouldn’t have worked if we thought Bruce Wayne wanted to be the rich guy as much as he wanted to be the man in the costume.

  8. The Wolverine needs to remove the kid friendly approach as well as improve on Wat origins brought more action more blood and finally show the real animal that Wolverine is so let’s get this done right the 2nd time around

  9. HA HA HA

    this movie went from Possible gold nugget to a polished turd reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeal fast!!

    From Fonz to 5 hacks (one of which woke up to make Training Day then went back to sleep)

    Love it

    HA HA HA

  10. I’d vote for Fuqua since I like the way he brought me on the edge with tears on the sun and with his experience on training day as well and also a good script, he can do better when teaming up with Hugh Jackman. They r both talented in their own way. If not, then, I’d vote for Justin Lin, for a lot of actions lol
    Just my Humble Opinion.

  11. i knew this flick was gonna blow turds when Aronofsky peaced out.

  12. Out of all of them, I think Antoine Fuqua, Doug Liman, Jose Padilha and Justin Lin may direct but Lin has lots of work now that he is directing the Highlander remake and Terminator 5.

    My choices for the directors that are not on the list would be Ridley Scott, John Hyams and James Cameron.

    • yea cause thatl happen. antoine fuqua is the best choice and probably can get the tone right. but my second choices would be jose padilha and gavin o’connor. pride and glory was pretty good

  13. They have to do a better job with this!! The wolverine video game was what the film shouldve been like…

  14. Does anyone else here agree with me that Aronofsky was a bad idea? Imagine this, someone wanted to stray from the source material so drastically that even Fox stepped in and said “actually, there is no way in hell you can do that”

    • I don’t know that he was a bad idea, I just think some people were very excited by any idea. I can only really judge him from the Wrestler and Requiem for a Dream so I don’t really know how he would have translated Wolverine to the screen. I also don’t know how many other people have seen most or all of his movies and think the buzz for him was more for his last two movies then his overall work. If he was put on the project after the Fountain I don’t know that he would have gotten all the thumbs up from the fanbase.

      • I think an Aronofsky film scripted by Christopher McQuarrie would have been great, but I’m glad he ditched the film. I want Aronofsky to make more original films like Black Swan, and not sell out by making a comic book movie. His own reason behind doing it was basically b/c everyone else was making them.

        • I’m not sure it’s as much about Aronofsky selling out as much as does he want to have the headache of handling a big budget film with who knows how many people looking over his shoulder. The Fountain didn’t have nearly as much money behind it in comparison and there seems like there was some issues with his vision of things as it related to the money spent. Granted had it made money nobody would have cared.

          The fact that the script writer is a friend of and collaborator of Singer who just returned to the Donner-Schuler camp in my mind has something to do with allot this too. The tone of the production of First Class has made it seem like Singer feels the whole franchise is his baby (that he left) and any director they get might have that breathing down their neck.

  15. They will ditch “The Wolverine” title, just a guess. I didn’t like it from the moment I heard it. Aronofsky is good at making movies about characters that he wants to bring to life. How much was he going to adapt Woleverine to his likings? How much of the source material was he going to swear off? Was it going to be a violent/romantic/tragedy about a guy in Japan with claws that retract and that is it? Was their going to be other mutants? Are they actually going to follow the saga? I think that they should go with a japanese horror director that wants to step it up in the American film market and break into something commercial. They need someone younger that is passionate about this project. Someone like the guy doing the Mortal Kombat web series(I only mean this in terms of passion and respect for the source and not ability.)

  16. I think it’s fair to say none of these guys provides near the excitement quotient that Aronofsky brought to the table. That having been said, I echo the sentiments when I say that Fuqua and Lin could both be capable replacements. If the story follows the Japan story thread, I think I would favor Fuqua. Lin could do a solid action flick, but I think we’re all expecting something with a little more substance and depth.

    By the way, do we know what commercials Shore is responsible for?

  17. So glad to hear this & the Deadpool news, don’t understand (other that continuity/ storyline problems) why Wolverine was hated on. W’s “problems” were more easily acceptable than X-3 or most of what I’ve heard about First Class, which sounds more and more like a mockery of original X-Men history, but that’s Hollywood 4 ya

    • For me the Wolverine movie actually made some attempt to follow both what had been established in X-2 and things from the Weapon X storyline for the most part. Where it went off the rails in my opinion is the whole Deadpool thing and how they shoe-horned Cyclops in there after throwing that character off a cliff so to speak in X-3.

      Also along those lines throwing Gambit, the Blob and a few other people who at this point may or may not be named characters just put it on par with allot of the rest of the series as just throwing characters out there for the hell of it.

      It suffered from what for me defines one of the issues with the series as a whole. They dumped about ten boxes of puzzle pieces out at one time and then try to put them back together and they have no problems just cutting pieces to fit when needed. What you end up with is abstract art that some people get and some people don’t.

      • I agree with that synopsis,and I would also go to say that x3 had a similar problem with that Ratner took different pieces of the xmen comic series and through it together expecting a great film that never connected the dots…

        • X-3 and the series as a whole has had script problems, even die-hard fans have to admit that. X-2 was a mix of two stories involving Stryker that happened about twenty years apart and a dash of events from separate Wolverine stories that did not involve the team as whole.

          X-3 just looked like it was thrown together by whoever has involved in the project at various times and what came out on screen was organized chaos. Having a higher budget then the other two movies also gave too much leeway as far as effects were concerned and allot of meaningless eye-candy was put in just because there was money left on the table. Regardless of the quality issues the movies made their money back but, Fox in their infinite need to make more seem to want Star Wars or Avatar numbers.

  18. No Aronofsky.. No wolverine. Period!

    • I don’t think Arfonsky would have been good for the Wolverine. There is nothing about his movies that screams to me that he would know how to make the film work. I don’t think his talent for movies like Black Swan, the Fountain and the Wrestler make him the only viable option… as a matter of fact, I don’t think they make him an option at all. That being said, I think he’s an excellent director and I’ve enjoyed all of his films that I’ve seen.

      • Thank you for saying that, cheers.

      • Yeah the Wrestler was good and the only other movie I saw of his was Requiem for a Dream. The Fountain I could sit through and I have not seen Black Swan yet but, I think people got excited more because his name his been out there recently and everyone likes the flavor of the month.

        For the studios part even though the Fountain was not a success clearly Jackman liked working with him enough that they felt it would be a good fit in that regard at least.

  19. I’m actually hoping for Gary Shore to direct. They obviously see something promising in him, and from what I’ve seen he might be the best candidate, plus he’ll be cheap comparatively, which only makes him look even better. Plus he’s going to work incredibly hard so that he can walk away with a career and not just a pay check.

  20. Justin Lin will be perfect choice for The Wolverine well was really impressed by Fast five ahh Link should direct it!

    • HAhahahahahahahahahahahahahahhahahahahahahahaahahahahaha. You cant be serious… So weve gone from aronofsky to Lin????? This world is doomed…

  21. It doesn’t matter trolls. This film will be a fail without Aronofsky. This “short” list seems rather loooooong to me. The best of the bunch would be Fuqua or Liman probably. It doesn’t matter tho.

  22. First Class looks terrible. The costumes, makeup and effects look like crap. The XMen films have become tired and old!

  23. Singer

  24. Justin Lin