Hugh Jackman has played the career-defining role of Wolverine six times and is currently shooting X-Men: Days of Future Past in Montreal. That'll be his seventh time sporting the mutton chops. After telling the story of Logan's adventure to Japan - Jackman's personal favorite story from the Marvel Comics - and now moving onto a tale of time travel, are there more stories to tell worthy of another solo Wolverine movie?
A common topic of interest in interviews with Hugh Jackman when it comes to X-Men is his rigorous workout regiment and strict diet. While on set of The Wolverine last fall we saw it firsthand, how every few hours Jackman would feed on lean meat and steamed vegetables and how every morning he'd work out for at least two hours, followed by a swim. He even sought the advice of muscle monster Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.
When talking about returning for Bryan Singer's Days of Future Past, Jackman's only gripe was not being able to relax on the physical front. The Aussie actor is in his mid-forties and must work harder and longer to maintain the physique of mutant hero. Jackman's in the best shape of his life thanks to his hard work, but what will it take for him to come back again after the next X-Men team-up? According to The Wolverine producer Hutch Parker, there's "absolutely" room for more movies and the onus is on the studio to come up with a worthy story, one that can top the much more standalone The Wolverine, a screenplay writer Christopher McQuarrie's revealed is his favorite work.
"Absolutely, absolutely. This is a standalone piece. You guys know the story, it lives really neatly off by itself and doesn't preclude anything else. It doesn't preclude reconnecting. It doesn't preclude other standalone stories. I think part of what makes Wolverine such an iconic character is that it's an irresolvable conflict. His immortality and the emotional conflicts he has surrounding those issues are limitless in terms of where that character can go and where they would live and become an issue and engage so that, I think you've got - To Tom [Rothman]'s credit, to Bill Mechanic's credit - this is a well that can be mined for a long time. I think the challenge will be the obligation on the part of the filmmakers and the studio to make sure the stories are worthy of going back to the well. Certainly, Hugh's been a good sport about it over the years he's done this character. He clearly loves it to death but I do know that it becomes a storytelling obligation to make sure that this one will be a hard one to top, so that we can continue to serve up opportunities for him as a performer that warrant 'yes, I want to put the claws back on and grow out my mutton chops and do my thing.'"
The future of Jackman's Wolverine will be revealed next summer in Fox's most ambitious X-Men film to date, one that will likely feature more than one version of the character and could refresh or relaunch the series as fans know it. There are plenty of opportunities for Jackman to return as an aged Wolverine and Fox isn't going to stop making X-movies. It's really up to Jackman in the end.
The Wolverine is directed by James Mangold off of Mark Bomback and Christopher McQuarrie's screenplay. It stars Hugh Jackman, Svetlana Khodchenkova, Will Yun Lee, Brian Tee, Hiroyuki Sanada, and Rila Fukushima.
The Wolverine hits theaters July 26, 2013. X-Men: Days of Future Past hits theaters on July 18th, 2014.
Let me know on Twitter @rob_keyes if you want Jackman to continue playing Wolverine for years to come.