For a while now director James Mangold and X-Men franchise star Hugh Jackman have been at work on a story for a third solo Wolverine movie, a project opening in theaters in 2017 that would followup on their work together on 2013's The Wolverine. Jackman suited up as the iconic superhero again shortly after that adventure for X-Men: Days of Future Past which seemed to guarantee his return in next summer's X-Men Apocalypse but now we're not so sure.
We asked a year ago if Wolverine 3 would be the end of Hugh Jackman's X-Men career and now it appears it will be. Perhaps he's finally officially signed on for Wolvy 3 and did so knowing it would be his last for the studio. This is what Jackman told SFX magazine a year ago about the future of his Wolverine:
"I don’t know yet. We’re talking it through. I still am very ambitious for the character. And tonally I feel like we corrected the ship with the last one. But I feel we can still go further, in a way. If I did another one I’m 99.9% sure it would be the last, so that will inform what it is for me."
He wasn't kidding. This explains his smile when I asked him two years ago about adapting the "Old Man Logan" story from Marvel Comics and why he said "of course we’re looking at Old Man Logan" when talking about a third Wolverine adventure last year. Elements of that will most certainly be used in Mangold's next story if that's Jackman's last time playing the character.
Of course, this calls into question how Wolverine 3 will fit in the universe. We know Jackman wants to cameo in Deadpool (check out Ryan Reynolds' amazing costume for that if you missed it!) and we know his character was pulled in an interesting direction in both the past and future segments of last year's Days of Future Past, giving the studio plenty of options for where to take the character next... and with who he could act with. Recent rumors hinted that Wolverine would only cameo in Apocalypse which seems almost strange given his prominence in the last team-up film and knowing how "big" X-Men: Apocalypse will be.
We also know Patrick Stewart, the original present-day/future Professor X and founder of the X-Men, will have a major role in Wolverine 3 which means whatever Logan is doing in that film may be for the greater good of mutantkind and the X-Men. After all, The Wolverine concluded with the character coming to terms with his role in the world, that of a soldier, and seemingly stepping up to become a hero. We'd love to see that Wolverine back and see him suit up in the classic yellow costume. If Deadpool is getting his real Marvel Comics costume, so too should Jackman. We know he really wants to.
Wolverine 3 begins shooting in early 2016 and while Jackman is saying "one last time" we do believe he'll at least make an appearance one or two times before his sendoff. It's also possible, however much of a stretch it may be, that his "one list time" with the photo of his claws may specifically refer to him playing Wolverine. And by that we mean, it's absolutely possible that he play another character, one who's been mentioned time and time again over the years: Cable.
Cable is the time-travelling mutant from the future, created by Rob Liefeld (who also created Deadpool) who's essential to Deadpool stories, the X-Men and X-Force. Now that time-travel is in the mix, Deadpool is in production and a script is ready to go for X-Force, if Cable is on the way, it's going to be soon. In the standard Marvel Comics universe Cable is the son of Cyclops (who's returning in, played by a younger actor, in X-Men: Apocalypse) but in the Ultimate Marvel Comics universe where many of the movies draw their inspiration from, he's actually a future version of Wolverine. Is it possible for Wolverine to be recast and for Jackman to play Cable?
More on this as it develops! Share your thoughts in the comments!
Fantastic Four opens August 7th, 2015, Deadpool on February 12, 2016, X-Men: Apocalypse on May 27, 2016, Gambit on October 7 2016, Wolverine 3 (not the official title) on March 3rd, 2017, Fantastic Four 2 on June 9th, 2017, and some as-yet unspecified X-Men film on July 13th, 2018.