Hugh Jackman has played Wolverine for seven different X-Men movies and while one of those was a cameo appearance, it's still an impressive run and one that's going to continue. Jackman isn't officially signed for future installments in the mutant superhero series but it's all but given that he's returning for 2016's X-Men: Apocalypse and 2017's untitled Wolverine 3.
Director James Mangold and Jackman have had story ideas for a solo Wolvy followup since they worked together on The Wolverine and every time Jackman is asked about his career as the lovably rugged mutant, he hints frequently that he might soon be done playing the character, that Wolverine 3 might be his last and that some day Wolverine will be recast.
He did it several times again this week on the Happy Sad Confused podcast where he spoke about his upbringing, his career, favorite directors, and yes, what's next for Wolverine. He's currently working on the story for Wolverine 3 with Mangold, which seems to be a passion project for them. It'll be written by David James Kelly (Straw Man).
"Jim Mangold and I have been working on it really hard and I'm very, very excited about that actually."
When we chatted with Jackman on the set of The Wolverine in late 2012 and later, just before it hit theaters in summer 2013, he toyed with us about the idea that a third standalone movie could draw some ideas from the Old Man Logan Marvel Comics stories and there is a sinking feeling that it could be the end of his X-Men career (Wolverine did just die in the comics), but who knows with another untitled X-Men movie coming in 2018 and the potential for his character to live for centuries.
Even now, in the film continuity, we have versions of the characters in the past, present and (altered) future so there are limitless opportunities so long as they find worthy stories for him to act in - something producer Hutch Parker reiterated to us when stating that it's really on the creative team to come up with ideas worthy of Jackman suiting up and working out.
Speaking of working out for something he will be shooting next year...
A video posted by Hugh Jackman (@thehughjackman) on
Not a coincidence.
Before Wolverine 3 - or whatever it ends up being titled - happens, Jackman will appear again in the followup to this summer's super successful X-Men: Days of Future Past, the most critically acclaimed and financially successful entry in the franchise to date. X-Men: Apocalypse picks up a decade after the events of Days of Future Past and while writer-producer Simon Kinberg wouldn't flat out tell us if Wolverine is returning when we chatted with him for the home video release of Days of Future Past, Jackman won't either. Jackman's words though make it clear that he will, especially when coupled with his previous hints that Apocalypse and Wolverine 3 could shoot back-to-back. After what happens to his character at the end of Days of Future Past, he needs to return.
"You know, I have been speaking to the guys and I am not at liberty to tell exactly what’s going on... which is largely framing my answer here, but there's still a lot unknown about that, actually. There are some very exciting things about integrating the whole X-Men world, including the Wolverine movie. There's some really cool things going on."
Given that X-Men: Apocalypse is set in the '80s, if it really is integrating the "whole X-Men world" then maybe we'll see the time-travel plot device make a return. That's how the film - which is described as the "biggest" X-Men movie ever - can top Days of Future Past and see original cast members return alongside new younger versions of some of the original characters who director Bryan Singer and company have begun casting.
It's also how they can tie in events of The Wolverine where the character finally comes to terms with his goals in life, that he's a soldier, one with a cool, classic yellow costume...
Fantastic Four opens August 7th, 2015, Deadpool on February 12, 2016, X-Men: Apocalypse on May 27, 2016, The Wolverine 3 (not the official title) on March 3rd, 2017, Fantastic Four 2 on July 14th, 2017, and some as-yet unspecified X-Men film on July 13th, 2018.