20th Century Fox’s Fantastic Four reboot didn’t go well for the studio – flopping at the box office and earning overwhelmingly negative reviews – but Fox still has big plans for its Marvel characters. 2016 will see the release of 3 big comic book movies (X-Men: Apocalypse, Deadpool, and Gambit), but 2017 will be just as important because it will mark the end of Hugh Jackman’s time as the immensely popular X-Man with adamantium lacing: James Howlett/Wolverine.
Not many details have been released about the third Wolverine solo movie, which is titled Wolverine, but Jackman has teased fans that it may take some inspiration from Mark Millar and Steve McNiven’s memorable Old Man Logan story arc – a future timeline which Marvel has recently brought back in the comics, too. Jackman has also asked his fans what they’d like to see in his last outing as Wolverine, and now the actor is commenting on the feedback he received.
The Sydney Confidential Podcast reveals that Jackman saw a lot of calls for the return of Wolverine’s most well-known villain: Victor Creed/Sabretooth. Sabretooth is without question Wolverine’s most recognizable enemy and he’s only appeared in Bryan Singer’s first X-Men movie (played by Tyler Mane) and X-Men Origins: Wolverine (played by Liev Schreiber). Meanwhile, Jackman – who’s been playing as Wolverine since 2000 – says moviegoers also want a good ol’ dose of Wolverine’s classic berserker rage (for those unaware, that’s when he sets aside his morals and really lets loose, not caring what kind of damage his virtually unbreakable claws will unleash on his unfortunate targets).
“There were a lot of calls for Victor Creed to come back. I must admit I was quite heartened by a number of people saying please don’t make it the last, but look, I’m really excited about this last one. And if you’re a comic book fan, the words “berserker rage” came up a lot. If you know Wolverine, you’ll understand.”
Sabretooth may not have a role in Old Man Logan (aside from being an illusion), but if this really is Jackman’s last Wolverine story, then having Wolverine’s arch-nemesis serving as the big bad would be fitting. After all, changing the source material to fit a new narrative is very common. Wolverine’s second solo movie, The Wolverine, was based on Chris Claremont and Frank Miller’s Wolverine limited series, yet it made several noticeable changes. (Not all for the better, of course.)
While Fox may not have the rights to several of Old Man Logan’s noteworthy characters (e.g. Mysterio, Red Skull, Hawkeye), those individuals can absolutely be replaced by heroes and villains the studio has the rights to use. Instead of Mysterio twisting Wolverine’s vision and manipulating the hero into killing the X-Men, Sabretooth could get his hands on a mind-altering substance powerful enough – or a villain with those abilities – to mess with his long-time enemy’s head. If Sabretooth accomplished that, it would do far more damage to Wolverine than he ever could have hoped to accomplish with his claws. The comic concludes with Wolverine truly unleashing, so if fans desire berseker rage, this is a story that builds up to the bloody moment and then delivers in spades.
Assuming Jackman and Fox do take fan requests strongly into consideration, it now becomes a matter of who would be Sabretooth and just how big of a role the villain would have in Wolverine. Tyler Mane may be the first cinematic version of Sabretooth moviegoers witnessed, yet Schreiber’s performance as Creed was one of X-Men Origin: Wolverine’s few strengths. If Wolverine does take place in a tragic future, some practical makeup could transform Schreiber into a version of Sabretooth which draws inspiration from Mane’s version. (Then again, continuity hasn’t exactly been one of the X-Men cinematic universe’s greatest strengths.)
Whether or not he’d be interested in reprising the role – or if his character will be used – is a different story; back in 2009, Schreiber had mixed feelings about being Sabretooth in another movie. That was then and this is now, of course, and with the current X-Men film series drawing to a close, Schreiber could perhaps be enticed to return for “one more time,” alongside Jackman.
Fantastic Four is currently in theaters; Deadpool opens February 12, 2016; X-Men: Apocalypse on May 27, 2016; Gambit on October 7, 2016; Wolverine on March 3, 2017; Fantastic Four 2 on June 9, 2017; and some as-yet unspecified X-Men film on July 13, 2018. The New Mutants is also in development.