As Hugh Jackman steps down from his role as the X-Men’s adamantium-clawed Canadian, all eyes are on his final outing in Wolverine 3. A number of rumors are already swirling around the film, including the possibility of a tie-in to the Old Man Logan story arc and a possible R-rating. At this point, only Jackman, who’s received a copy of the script, and the production team at 20th Century Fox have all the pieces of the puzzle.
However, one of those pieces just fell into place. We now know who’ll be playing the main heavy in the third outing of the inconsistent Wolverine trilogy.
Deadline just announced that Boyd Holbrook, who plays DEA Agent Steve Murphy on Narcos, has signed on to play the lead baddie in the upcoming superhero epic. He’ll be joining Jackman and Patrick Stewart as a "relentless, calculating and intense head of security for a global enterprise" that apparently has an anti-Wolverine or anti-Mutant agenda in the film. Wolverine 3, written by David James Kelly and director James Mangold, will start production in New Orleans and New Mexico this May.
This role is clearly a major stepping stone for Holbrook. Previously, he’d appeared in the aforementioned Narcos, as well as the Bill Hader and Kristen Wiig festival hit The Skeleton Twins. He also had a small role in David Fincher’s noir flick Gone Girl. Aside from the brief character description, the identity of Holbrook’s character is a mystery, though. The presence of Stewart as Professor X could indicate the reentry of other villainous organizations from the X-world like Trask Industries, an appearance by Factor Three, or some other nefarious corporate entity.
Whomever his character represents, casting a corporate villain may call into doubt some of the prior rumors about the film. An overarching global corporation wasn’t present in the Old Man Logan storyline, unless they’re referring to the Red Skull-corrupted S.H.I.E.L.D. (minus Red Skull, of course, due to usage rights). Still, screenwriters often adapt a variety of storylines into their films, so it’s possible Wolverine 3 is a blend of different comic book story arcs. Holbrook’s listing a main villain also bodes poorly for Liev Schrieber’s Sabretooth, who’d expressed interest in returning to the role, and many fans were hoping would return.
Fortunately, having one lead villain doesn’t necessarily mean Sabretooth won’t return in a lesser role. He could fall under the employ of this main villain, who's hired him to take down Weapon X. It’s also possible, although highly unlikely, the adversarial pair could team up in the film. Either way, it’ll be fun piecing together the film’s plot as its cast comes together.
X-Men: Apocalypse will open in U.S. theaters on May 27th, 2016, followed by Wolverine 3 on March 3rd, 2017 and unannounced X-Men films on October 6th, 2017 (possibly Gambit), January 12th, 2018 (possibly Deadpool 2), and July 13th, 2018. The New Mutants is also in development.