In the wake of Deadpool, studios have discovered that R-rated superhero films - compared to the PG-13 family-friendly, action-adventure flicks they have generally been - can still be wildly successful at the box office. Since earlier this year, there were rumors that 20th Century Fox was considering taking this route with Wolverine 3, which reunites The Wolverine director James Mangold with star Hugh Jackman in his supposed final turn as the eponymous X-Men.
Excitingly, the rumors are now confirmed. And in the midst of the momentum created by the upcoming May 27th release of X-Men: Apocalypse (a film Jackman is also involved in), confirmation of the rating couldn’t have come at a better time.
Collider's Steve Weintraub sat down with writer/producer Simon Kinberg at the press event for X-Men: Apocalypse in London, where Kinberg confirmed that Wolverine 3 is now filming and hinted at what fans can expect from the movie:
“It’s a very radical, bold, different Wolverine than you’ve ever seen in any of these movies... It takes place in the future, and as you and others have reported, it is an R-rated movie. It’s violent, it’s kind of like a western in its tone.”
Two seemingly antithetical ideas, it may sound strange to have a film that is both futuristic and “western,” a word that often embodies the gritty saloons and sunsets of a former era. Then again, Logan, in many ways, fits the cowboy archetype: a no-nonsense nomad prone to bar fights and taking justice into his own clawed hands. Furthermore, Kinberg's western comparison with Wolverine 3 should only further fuel rumors that the Old Man Logan comic book storyline (itself being akin to a spaghetti western set in a futuristic world of superheroes) is providing some inspiration for the film.
“It’s just a very cool, different film,” Kinberg concluded, with regard to Wolverine 3. If we learned anything from Deadpool, different can be good. Different demands attention, and fans tend to enjoy seeing iconic characters presented to them in bold, unique ways. Interestingly, Mangold had initially shot an R-rated version of 2013’s The Wolverine, but included alternate takes to keep a PG-13 option open. Ultimately, the studio opted for the more subdued version, and so it will be interesting to see how Jackman’s last hurrah as the iconic character will be delivered in all its unadulterated glory.
Alongside Jackman, Wolverine 3 stars Boyd Holbrook (Narcos), Richard E. Grant (Dig), Stephen Merchant (Hello Ladies), and Eriq Lasalle (ER). Patrick Stewart is also expected to reprise his role as the older Professor Charles Xavier in the film, in some capacity.
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.