In just a matter of days star Hugh Jackman and director James Mangold get to work filming Wolverine 3. The pair had been cracking its story ever since their last team-up on The Wolverine opened in theaters in 2013, and Jackman received the script in January, one that studio Twentieth Century Fox intends to be R-rated.
Outside of years of hints that the still-untitled Wolverine 3 would take some inspiration from the Old Man Logan story of Marvel Comics, and knowing Patrick Stewart would reprise his role as a father figure and mentor in Professor X, there's not too much known about the specific plot details of the next (and apparently final) Wolverine movie.
However, while promoting the upcoming home video release of Deadpool producer Simon Kinberg spoke to CB about the timelines of the films, noting that while the recent core X-Men movies have been exploring the '60s (First Class) up to the '80s (Apocalypse), next year's Wolverine 3 will be set many years after the events of those movies.
"The Wolverine movie takes place in the future."
A vague, but telling statement nevertheless. It's also entirely unsurprising given what Kinberg told us on the set of X-Men: Apocalypse months ago where he explained how all of the upcoming X-Men movies (Deadpool included) will take place a modern or near-future setting in the same timeline as the events of X-Men: Apocalypse. That means that Deapdool, Wolverine 3, New Mutants, and Gambit all tell stories in a world where mutants are in the public eye, and where the adventures of the X-Men and their catastrophic battles are well-known.
If the untitled third Wolverine solo movie is truly the "last time" Hugh Jackman sports the claws, will Fox and director James Mangold use the movie to setup a new, younger Wolverine to feature in future movies? Given the time periods and settings of the core X-Men series (now in the '80s as of this summer with X-Men: Apocalypse), we're getting to a point where the main X-Men team are near present day - a time period when Wolverine joined them in the original X-Men movie.
Xavier (past, present, and future versions of him) is well aware of Logan and this importance to the X-Men, so it'd be odd for him not to continue featuring in the team movies as they continue down the timeline, even if Wolverine's role is moved to a supporting character - if someone else plays the character.
And keep in mind that Wolverine was almost recast for X-Men: Days of Future Past. Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass, X-Men: First Class, Kingsman: The Secret Service), who helped pitch the idea to Jackman to get him to join DOFP, had a plan for the film to be told as two movies, with the first (set in the '70s) featuring a younger actor playing Logan, only to see Jackman return as veteran Wolverine in the second part. As Jackman has emphasized repeatedly in recent years, the recasting of Wolverine is "inevitable." He even suggested Tom Hardy for the role.
Since Xavier is in the film, we don't expect Wolverine 3 to be too far into the future to the point where the world he resides isn't grounded or recognizable - like the future segments if Days of Future Past. Instead, it's possible the world had a "happy" ending as presented in the final fixed-world sequence of that story - where Wolverine woke up in the future after successfully changing the past. In that scenario, Wolverine 3 could include other familiar characters played by original trilogy cast members or future character actors from DOFP, even if those roles are just cameos. But then again, that wouldn't be following the Old Man Logan comics so time will tell.
What we do know is that Boyd Holbrook (Narcos) was just cast as the main villain of Wolverine 3 and that Liev Schreiber is interested in returning as Sabretooth. There's also a new report indicating that Fox will debut a new (and final) X-Men: Apocalypse trailer this week at the Las Vegas CinemaCon event which may include Hugh Jackman... So expect plenty of Wolverine 3 news shortly with the film beginning to shoot.
X-Men: Apocalypse opens in theaters May 27, 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.
Header art from Blur Studios concepts for X-Men: Days of Future Past.