Hugh Jackman’s said he’s done with Wolverine – but would a Fox/Disney deal bring him back? The recent talk of the the X-Men joining the MCU has thrown out some incredibly interesting possibilities for the world’s highest-grossing franchise; the Fantastic Four and Charles Xavier’s spandex-clad mutants coming under the MCU banner could simultaneously expand the Avengers franchise and right many of Fox’s recent wrongs.
There’s been a lot to dissect – about how likely a deal is, how it would happen and when we’d feel the effects – although there’s perhaps one question that towers above others: does this mean we’ll get Hugh Jackman back as Wolverine?
Hugh Jackman’s Open To A Return (Under The Right Circumstances)
Technically we’ve at the end of Jackman’s tenure. Early this year we got James Mangold’s lauded Logan, which served as a final farewell to Jackman’s time as Wolverine. It was the perfect end to the character and while the complicated timeline means a return is possible, it felt like a final goodbye. Indeed, to drag Jackman back to the role would surely do a disservice to James Mangold’s masterpiece; Logan beautifully set up a Jackman-free future, opening up new story opportunities (not least an X-23 spin-off).
That said, the actor isn’t above coming back. When Jackman spoke with Screen Rant about the possibility of joining the MCU, the 49-year-old revealed that if the timing had been right, he would’ve loved to team-up alongside the Avengers:
“If that was on the table when I made my decision, it certainly would have made me pause. That’s for sure. Because I always love the idea of him within that dynamic, with the Hulk obviously, with Iron Man but there’s a lot of smarter people with MBAs who can’t figure that out [laughter]. You never know.”
At the time that sounded like regretful/wishful thinking, but in light of recent events certainly feels possible. The actor has since said he’s accepted that the role will eventually be recast, but that was before this news; if he’s still keen for the Avengers, there’s a chance.
All that said, while it’s possible, it might be for the best it doesn’t happen.
It’s Better For X-Men To Move Beyond Jackman
This version of Wolverine’s survived a lot. Jackman was the breakout star of the original X-Men and remained a draw even after The Last Stand and Origins: Wolverine, emerging from that franchise double-tap with barely a scratch on his adamantium skeleton. Despite serious comic inaccuracy, the muscular mutant is one of best superhero castings ever. This makes it that much harder to imagine someone else in the role of James Howlett. But it makes sense to do that.
If the deal does go through and the X-Men do actually join the MCU (two big ifs), it would be the perfect opportunity to start afresh. As much as some would love for Patrick Stewart to wheel on screen one more time, Ian McKellen to slip on his crimson helmet, or, yes, Hugh Jackman to pop out those claws, it would awkwardly combine not only two disparate continuities but two very different periods in superhero history. Just imagine if Spider-Man: Homecoming had picked up the threads of the Raimiverse and cast Tobey Maguire as an older Peter Parker – it just would’ve felt odd. If those gifted youngsters are to move over to the House of Mouse, it should definitely be a clean slate for all involved.
Whichever way the Fox/Marvel talks go, it will likely be a while until anyone sees Wolverine back in cinemas. Fox has said it is in no rush to recast Wolverine anytime soon and, frankly, don’t really need him; the franchise is focusing its efforts on more adult entries like Deadpool 2 and New Mutants that go beyond what most audiences are familiar with. Wolverine isn’t necessary for that. Besides, were any X-Men to turn up in the MCU, due to the current slate it wouldn’t feasibly be until 2020 – a further knock against the 49-year-old coming back.
Perhaps in some alternate timeline Jackman is wearing that yellow spandex and battling the Avengers in some epic crossover movie, but in our reality, the timing just wasn’t right. Thankfully, Wolverine fans can be happy that Jackman got a spectacular 17 years in the role, complete with perfect swansong in Logan. It’s hardly a case of wasted potential.
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