The search to replace Darren Aronofsky in the director’s chair of The Wolverine ended two weeks ago when James Mangold was selected by Hugh Jackman and Twentieth Century Fox to helm the X-Men Origins: Wolverine follow-up.

With fan-approved Aronofsky dropping out of Wolverine 2, combined with the terrible natural disasters Japan faced, it seemed for quite some time that The Wolverine wouldn’t be able to claw its way to a timely production start in order to make its tentative 2012 release date. According to Hugh Jackman however, the film can still be ready for theaters next year.

In an interview on Toronto’s CHFI radio station, the host asked Jackman about the second Wolverine solo affair to which Jackman gave a rather candid response.

“We shoot in October, so it will probably come out a year after that. That’s usually around the timeline.”

Up until now, due to the various circumstances listed above, we haven’t had a a clear idea of the timeline for the next X-Men franchise installments. With an October start date, Jackman can continue on his intense diet and workout regiment to build his body up to the “powerful” and “stocky” Wolverine physique that Aronofsky requested Jackman to aim for.

The Wolverine may then mark the first time an X-Men movie opens in the fall – That, or Fox will pull another X-Men: First Class and have it rushed for a prime-time summer release during the May-July period.

The adamantium-laced mutant’s first solo outing banked $370 million at the box office, despite poor reviews, so the studio and producers will not pass on the opportunity to launch Wolverine 2 next year, thus making room for the Tim Miller-directed Deadpool film in 2013, possibly joined by a sequel to X-Men: First Class.

The Wolverine is designed as a standalone film as opposed to a direct sequel to X-Men Origins: Wolverine, allowing screenplay writer Christopher McQuarrie to ignore what happens in that film like the rest of the franchise is seemingly doing as well (see: X-Men: First Class & X-Men Origins: Deadpool). The story follows Wolverine as he heads to Japan and is based on the popular Frank Miller and Chris Claremont’s Wolverine comics from the 1980s.

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Source: CHFI (via The Playlist)