There was time it was speculated X-Men: Days of Future Past would be Hugh Jackman's final appearance in the franchise. Recasting is an inevitability Jackman is all too aware of, because no matter how much he or the fans want it, he simply cannot play Wolverine forever.
Since then, however, preliminary work has begun on Wolverine 3, a follow up to 2013's The Wolverine with James Mangold back in the director's chair and Jackman expected to reprise the lead. There's been no official word on Wolverine 3's story, but Mangold has hinted at adapting another well-known arc from the comics, saying "there are great texts about his connections to others, villains, characters from the lore and from the comics that we can bring out and have another great and meaningful adventure."
Jackman, too, has teased what he'd like to see happen in the next solo Wolverine picture, but so far he isn't officially contracted for Wolverine 3. Not that anyone's doubting he will be, and as Fox has already announced a release date for the film - March 3rd, 2017 - Jackman's signing is likely only a matter of time.
However, before signing their star Fox has (smartly) gone ahead and found a writer for Wolverine 3. David James Kelly, as Deadline reports, has been tapped to write the script for their third Wolverine film.
Originally, Kelly was attached to Fox's planned Daredevil reboot, but those plans fell apart when the movie rights reverted back to Marvel. Now Daredevil is headed to the small screen as part of Marvel and Netflix's programming deal, but clearly Fox hasn't given up on Kelly. In addition to penning Wolverine 3, Fox has accepted an original film pitch from Kelly called Sentinel (no relation to those towering, mutant killing machines). Kelly is also adapting Dark Horse Comics' MIND MGMT for Scott Free Productions.
Mangold has confirmed Wolverine 3 won't begin production until after filming wraps for X-Men: Apocalypse, the follow-up to this summer's Days of Future Past. With Days of Future Past expected to drastically alter the X-Men franchise as we know it and potentially open up alternate timelines, it's feasible a Wolverine 3 could be taking place in one of these alternate futures.
Apocalypse is slated to take place in the 1980s, following the "period" trend established by First Class' 1960s and Days of Future Past's 1970s setting. Presumably, this final film in the First Class trilogy will only feature mutants of that timeline, having sent Wolverine back to the future at the end of Days of Future Past.
Does that mean that Wolverine 3 will deal with whatever future his character lands in at the end of the film? Could Mangold and Jackman finally tackle Mark Millar's "Wolverine" meets "The Dark Knight Returns" comic book arc Old Man Logan? What other potential stories would be suitable for a post-DOFP Wolverine? Sound off in the comments below!
X-Men: Days of Future Past is out in theaters on May 23, 2014. X-Men: Apocalypse follows two years later on May 27th, 2016. Wolverine 3 will release on March 3rd, 2017.