When X-Men was released back in 2000, it sparked a wave of superhero films we're still enjoying to this day. It seems only fitting then that 14 years later the X-Men franchise is still a staple of the summer blockbuster season with the upcoming X-Men: Days of Future Past.
At the center of Fox's X-men series is Hugh Jackman's Wolverine, a character the actor has played an unrivaled seven times. And out of those seven X-Men films, he didn't have a crucial role in only one - X-Men: First Class (though he did appear in a very memorable cameo).Needless to say, Wolverine has been integral to the X-Men franchise and it's almost impossible to imagine an actor other than Jackman in the role at this point. But seeing as he doesn't share the same regenerative properties as the character he plays onscreen, in a recent interview with IGN, Jackman admitted that recasting Wolverine is "inevitable."
On the set of Days of Future Past, IGN asked Jackman if there were ever a conversation about casting another actor in the role of the younger Wolverine, to which Jackman responded:
"I’m sure they had the discussion. They didn’t mention it to me, obviously! [Laughs] Look, that’s inevitable, man. Anyone who thinks they're indispensable in this business is fooling themselves. But I feel unbelievably blessed to have this part. I never thought in a million years I'd get to play him seven times. Every day I walk on the set with the claws and the hair, I thank my lucky stars. I don't take any of it for granted. To think that in a second version we'd have this cast and this director, and you guys don’t know the script, but I would say probably the best script of all of them, is pretty amazing. I think that's why I'm still here. I'm sure by the way, that it won't always be my decision to always be here. At some point, someone will close the door on me… [Laughs]."
Days of Future Past was surely something of a coming home for Jackman, whose first American film was X-Men with director Bryan Singer. With Singer back at the helm for Days of Future Past, there might be a nice sense of closure for Jackman if this were to be his last appearance as Wolverine.
However, Jackman also mentions to IGN he's in even better shape now than he was for the 2013 film The Wolverine. In fact, Jackman has had to be at peak Wolverine shape for the better part of two years since he filmed these last two X-Men films back to back. So perhaps Jackman has yet to age out of the role he defined after all.
Fox shows no signs of stopping the steady stream of X-Men films anytime soon, what with both X-Men: Apocalypse and an X-Force film on the horizon. Which means that eventually the Wolverine character will need to be recast or retired - permanently. Though given the character's status as a cash cow, the latter option seems less likely...at least in the long run.
Which would you rather see happen - a new actor in the role of Wolverine or for the character to meet a tragic, though undoubtedly heroic end? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!
X-Men: Days of Future Past hits theaters May 23rd, 2014.