Last week's announcement that a healthy chunk of The Wolverine is going to be shot in Australia left many fans wondering whether star Hugh Jackman's homeland will be standing in for 1980s Japan in the delayed X-Men spinoff sequel.
While attending the ongoing CinemaCon 2012, 20th Century Fox CEO Tom Rothman clarified that Wolverine 2 will still be filmed on location in Japan. However, the majority of the movie's sound stage work is going to be conducted "Down Under."
Following the aftermath of the devastating Japan earthquake/tsunami in early 2011 - coupled with the departure of director Darren Aronofsky - The Wolverine, believed to be based primarily on Chris Claremont's four-issue "Wolverine" comic book run about the adamantium-clawed mutant's adventures in Japan, was left between a rock and a hard place. Last summer, there was a brief window of time where production on Wolverine 2 was prepped to get underway in Vancouver (as a substitute for Japan). Ultimately, such a shooting scheme proved to not be feasible, and the project was instead put on the backburner - and given a rewrite, courtesy of Mark Bomback - until Jackman completed his work for the Les Misérables musical adaptation.
Assuming there are no further unexpected delays (knock on wood), director James Mangold (3:10 to Yuma) will set to work filming The Wolverine later this year, so as to make a Summer 2013 scheduled release date. Rothman confirmed to MTV that the cast will include "a great number of Japanese actors" and reiterated Jackman's longtime claims that this flick will feature "the ultimate, badass, berserker rage Wolverine" fans know so well from classic X-Men comic book mythology. Of course, Jackman promised as much with X-Men Origins: Wolverine - but, still, by all accounts, Claremont's Samurai-themed comic book storyline about Logan is also the one that Jackman's been the most passionate about actually making since Bryan Singer's original X-Men movie.
One issue that's not been raised with respect to The Wolverine - what with all the curve balls the project has been thrown during pre-production - is whether or not the film could be shot in 3D - or, at least, with post-conversion in mind (a la The Avengers). Rothman says the issue is still up in the air right now, which seems to suggest that Wolverine probably won't be shot in the 3D format - given the degree of foresight and advance planning it requires - but could still be given the "stereoscopic treatment" during post-production. Naturally, depending on what sort of camerawork Mangold favors for The Wolverine, the result could vary from inconsequential to uneven but periodically solid (see: Wrath of the Titans).
Expect additional updates on the "to 3D or not 3D" issue, along with information about which Japanese stars will be joining Jackman for his latest romp as Wolvie, over the upcoming months.
The Wolverine attacks theaters around the U.S. on July 26th, 2013.