While promoting X-Men: Days of Future Past in early 2014, Hugh Jackman started expressing his feelings on his future with the franchise. He was going into the press tour with X-Men: Apocalypse and Wolverine 3 likely being his last two movies in the series (and his last two times playing the fan-favorite poster boy of the X-Men universe), but admitted that after seeing Days of Future Past, it felt "fresh" again and that he was no longer certain if he wanted to stop. He has since made it official that Wolverine 3 would be the last time he wears the claws.
He also teased at the time though, that he wanted another chance to share the screen with Ryan Reynolds' Deadpool, to re-do the fight they had in X-Men Origins: Wolverine (when Reynolds played an awfully strange version of the character). In the many months after, the Deadpool standalone movie became a reality (it just finished production!) and Jackman has since gone on record expressing interest in making a cameo in that movie. Given that Jackman has appeared in every X-Men film to date, it almost seems like a must. Even Reynolds said the only thing that might hinder it happening is "scheduling."
Speaking with HuffPo to promote his documentary Dukale’s Dream - a film about fair-trade coffee and poverty - Jackman spoke a little on his mutant movie hero future, beginning with the Deadpool rumors of which he's coyly avoiding. He mumbled the following while smiling:
"Hmmm, I can't ... no. Nope. But, I am really good mates with [Reynolds] so ..."
And on his inevitable role in X-Men: Apocalypse?
Keep in mind, Jackman pretended to know little or nothing about being involved in X-Men: Days of Future Past when we met him in 2012 on the set of The Wolverine. We later discovered Matthew Vaughn had met with Jackman already and pitched him the whole idea, so it's all part of the game to deny and pretend not to know. Jackman knows exactly how his future as Logan plays out. He just can't talk about it yet.
At 46 years old, Jackman is in incredible shape but it's a large amount of work to maintain. The Aussie actor frequently shares photos and little videos via social media of him hitting the gym, preparing for his final adventure in James Mangold's untitled Wolverine 3 (and yes, Apocalypse we believe):
"Weirdly, I'm really excited about shooting it. I feel great enthusiasm. I suppose it's denial -- like the football player who announces their retirement before their last season -- and so I'm really looking forward to it. But, I know its not over yet! I still got a lot of 4 o'clock mornings and a hell of a lot of egg white omelettes and steamed chicken to have, and all of that."
Jackman continues, explaining that a few years ago he believed that by continuing to play Wolverine his career options were being limited, but that it's changed so much now thanks to Les Mis, Prisoners and Pan. He hopes that when he puts down the claws he won't regret it. We don't expect him to since there's always a creative comic book way to bring Jackman back. There are multiple versions of an older Wolverine already in the comics (Ultimate X-Men, Old Man Logan, and even the "all-new, all-different" Marvel Comics relaunch this fall).
Fox and the X-Men franchise producers were all supportive of Jackman's decision to plan out a good ending for his character and he teases that the studio may already be looking to recast. It wouldn't be surprising either of Jackman's quip about that is true since we know from Vaughn that the initial plan for Days of Future Past was to recast a younger Wolverine.
"They were all really supportive -- 17 years is a long time. And I'm sure that they've already started casting, you know? Someone may sign up for an 11-picture deal, as we speak."
As Jackman said it a year and a half ago, an eventual new Wolverine actor is "inevitable." But that doesn't necessarily mean we have to write off Jackman just yet.
Fantastic Four opens August 7th, 2015, Deadpool on February 12th, 2016, X-Men: Apocalypse on May 27th, 2016, Gambit on October 7th, 2016, Wolverine 3 (not the official title) on March 3rd, 2017, Fantastic Four 2 on June 9th, 2017, and some as-yet unspecified X-Men film on July 13th, 2018.