Comic-Con 2013 may be over, but there's still a major comic book-related event to look forward to this week: The Wolverine, the second solo movie featuring Hugh Jackman in the titular role, which sees Logan heading to Japan at the behest of a character from his past who wishes to "repay" a very old debt.
Given Logan's tendency towards getting extremely angry and violent, it seems almost a shame that The Wolverine is being released as a PG-13 movie in order to ensure a decent box office take from younger audiences. After all, when a character's primary superpowers include the power to heal from even the most gruesome of injuries, and adamantium claws that can rip through just about any material with ease, it would be a pity not to show these features off to their fullest, bloodiest extent.
The Wolverine director James Mangold agrees that there are scenes which were cut from the theatrical version of the film that X-Men fans would probably love to see, and as such is hoping to release an unrated cut of the film when it comes to home video. When asked by Digital Spy about the possibility of different cuts, Mangold promised that there's more to be seen:
"I'm very happy with the [theatrical] cut, and the studio was very generous in terms of letting me finish the movie as I wanted, but I do think we will have a slightly more violent version... let's say an unrated, a bloodier version. There's about ten or 12 minutes of scenes that I'd love people to see, that we'll produce some kind of longer version of the movie at some point on Blu-ray or whatever. There's another great scene with Hiro Sanada and a much more elaborate battle with ninjas from the third act that is a pretty huge battle sequence that you'll see."
Screen Rant also had the opportunity to speak to both Hugh Jackman and James Mangold at Comic-Con this year, with in-depth discussion of how Logan's chaotic, berserker rage style of fighting clashed with the grace and controlled form of Japanese martial arts and sword-fighting. If you enjoyed the clip of Logan battling the yakuza on the top of a bullet train that was released recently, the director and star also give plenty of insight into how that scene was shot and translated onto the big screen.
During the interview, we quizzed Mangold a little on the subject of a sequel to The Wolverine, and his response was simply that he will "never say never" to such an idea. When Screen Rant spoke to The Wolverine producer Hutch Parker during a set visit, he said that there is "absolutely" room for more movies, and that the goal during the making of The Wolverine was to create a film that would demand a worthy follow-up.
"Never say never" was also the sentiment expressed by Mangold in a question-and-answer session with fans conducted on Yahoo. Mangold has spoken multiple times about his passion for comic books and his love of the Chris Claremont & Frank Miller saga upon which The Wolverine is based, and therefore was inevitably asked if he'd want to direct another movie about the character. It sounds like it would all depend on the pitch:
"If it presented me with the opportunity as this one did then yes. What I mean is the location and the world in Japan really presented me with a unique set of freedoms. Certainly any project with Hugh is enticing, but if someone came to me, or I came up with a strategy that stays as inventive and as exciting, I wouldn't hesitate to do another one."
The question of whether or not The Wolverine will get a sequel - being the second standalone movie about the character and one that we're hoping will make up for the weaknesses of X-Men Origins: Wolverine - will likely be answered once Fox have finished counting the box office dollars. With the surging popularity of comic book movies, however, there are plenty of other characters who could be tackled, and Mangold was asked which of his comic book favorites he would like to work on in the future. He was very assured in his response:
"The Sandman. Neil Gaiman’s Sandman is a great property. Actually I've talked to Neil about it before. I think it’s one of the great really interesting modernist tales. Also, on the complete other side of the universe I've always been a fan of The Flash. Although the outfit would have to definitely change, with those little wigs on his ears."
The last sentence seems to contain a typo that should read "wings," but you've got to love the idea of the Flash with little ear toupees. Of the two characters mentioned by Mangold, the Flas has already begun making his way onto the big screen, since Warner Bros has already put the movie into development and has a solid script for it, but Neil Gaiman's "The Sandman" is perhaps an even more interesting project.
Published under DC's darker, edgier imprint Vertigo, "The Sandman" tells the story of the Lord of Dreams, who escapes after 70 years of imprisonment and is left to pick up the pieces of his kingdom and restore himself to his former glory. Along the way he meets an expansive number of gods, demigods, demons, fairies - including his sister, Death herself - and runs into a number of other characters from the DC universe.
Gaiman fans would no doubt be delighted by the prospect of a Sandman movie, and it may not be all that far away. DC Entertainment President Diane Nelson described Sandman as being "right on top" of the list of comic book properties that she'd like to bring to the big screen. Given how popular the series is, Mangold may find himself having to duke it out with other prospective directors for the helm, if Warner Bros does elect to go ahead with The Sandman. Failing that, there's potential for Sandman to make a cameo appearance in Guillermo Del Toro's Justice League Dark movie, though that is also still awaiting a green light.
There's plenty of food for thought here. Do you want to see Mangold take on The Sandman or are you withholding judgment until you've seen The Wolverine?
The Wolverine arrives in theaters on July 26, 2013.