Wolverine has been the center of Fox’s X-Men universe for seventeen years, and while the rest of that cinematic world has changed, one thing remains the same: Hugh Jackman. The Australian actor has played the adamantium clawed mutant in nine films over nearly two decades, from his first appearance in X-Men to his last hurrah in Logan. Of those nine films, an impressive three are solo movies, where Wolvie is the star - although many fans would say that only one of those three solo flicks really did the character any justice.
Logan, with its gritty, heartbroken feel and R-rating, finally allowed the character the kind of brutality that he is known for. It got to the heart of what Wolverine is all about - but it also killed him off, effectively ending his time in the X-Men universe. Previous solo film The Wolverine was a less impressive offering, but this look at the character’s connections to Japan and a little more of his time away from the X-Men team was still a reasonably satisfying extension of the franchise.
Then, there is X-Men Origins: Wolverine. A cringeworthy mess of a movie, Origins became better known for its absolutely appalling adaptation of Deadpool than its retelling of Wolverine’s origin story. Widely recognized as one of, if not the worst, of the X-Men films, this disastrous solo movie was so bad that even the stars have admitted that they hated it… and there’s a lot about it that you probably don’t know!
That’s right, Jackman himself has admitted that it was just a bad film, and that it did not do what he wanted it to. In fact, he was so disheartened after the film came out that he nearly quit playing Wolverine altogether. In several interviews, he has admitted that he knows how much the fans hated it, saying that they are always very vocal in their opinions about his work. The actor had wanted the film to deepen the audience’s understanding of the character, and add more to his version of Wolverine. Instead, he has described it as ‘the fourth X-Men, with different characters’ and said that Origins didn’t achieve what he was aiming for.
When promoting The Wolverine, he was open about his hopes that this second solo movie would be an improvement, and said the same again when it came time to talk Logan. And while Origins may have been a dismal failure, at least the solo Wolvie movies got significantly better with time!
Ryan Reynolds has never made a secret of the fact that he wanted to play Deadpool from the start. In fact, Reynolds was originally attached to a Deadpool movie as early as 2004, along with writer David Goyer. The two had worked together on Blade: Trinity, and would have made a pretty fantastic team for a Deadpool movie, but the project never made it out of early development.
So when Reynolds heard that the character would be making an appearance in the Wolverine origin film, he went straight to the filmmakers and asked to play Wade Wilson. This was a decision that he almost immediately regretted, as he saw the character getting increasingly distant from the one that he had loved for years in the comics, but he stuck with it rather than see someone else play him. However, he has never made a secret of how much he hates this version of the character, even if it did serve as a launch pad for him to play the Merc With A Mouth a second, much more successful time, in 2016’s Deadpool.
Reynolds' love of the character certainly came in handy on set, as he ended up writing most of his own lines. The actor has revealed that because the project was being filmed during the writers’ strike of 2007/2008, during scenes, he was working with as little script direction as ‘Wade Wilson talks really fast’, and he had to fill in the gaps himself.
In an interview, the actor recalls “So we were in the middle of production, there were no writers, no anything. Every line I have in the movie I just wrote myself.” Despite this, Reynolds did such a phenomenal job that his role was eventually expanded from a cameo to a more central role in the movie - albeit one that didn’t portray the character properly at all, but hey, you already knew that.
Although the first X-Men movie to get an R-rating was actually Deadpool in 2016, X-Men Origins: Wolverine could have taken that crown all the way back in 2009. The first version of the script, written by Game of Thrones’ David Benioff, was described as ‘darker and brutal’ and intended as an R-Rated film. The writer wanted to show a side of Wolverine that wasn’t in the opening trilogy of X-Men movies, onw that was closer to his character in comic books like Weapon X and the Claremont/Miller run of the character.
However, the film eventually ended up being downgraded to the usual PG-13, as an R-rating wasn’t felt to be necessary, and of course, because it would limit the potential box office returns.
Wolverine’s claws have changed quite a bit over the seventeen years that Jackman has been playing the character, and for this installment, many of his scenes involved claws that were entirely CGI. Of course, this is par for the course for the character, and scenes where Logan’s claws are popping out of his hands or being used to stab someone are usually at least partially CGI, but this was particularly obvious in Origins.
A copy of the film leaked ahead of release, and when fans gave it a look, most assumed that the CGI was not quite finished - until the actual film came out, and a majority of the CGI claw shots looked no better than they did in the leak! There’s no one reason for the effects in this film being significantly worse than they do in other films, but it was definitely one of the big complaints that fans had about the movie.
Jackman has often talked about his many injuries on-set while playing Wolverine - including the times that he has accidentally stabbed himself with his claws! He’s not the only one to get injured on a Wolverine set, though… director Gavid Hood accidentally got whiplash while setting up one scene on Origins. While rehearsing the scene where Logan wakes up in a hospital, Jackman decided to do a little demonstration on Hood. He grabbed the director and slammed him up against the wall, the way that he does in the scene itself, just to show what would happen. He put a little too much force behind it, though, and actually gave poor Hood whiplash!
As revealed in the commentary track, the director actually had trouble moving his neck for a couple of weeks after the incident.
Rapper Will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas made his big screen debut in Origins as John Wraith, and he got a few scrapes on set while filming - including a scar on his hand. He revealed in an interview that some of those injuries were simply down to the fact that he has no experience as an actor… so much so that he accidentally punched a camera!
“You see that little scar I've got on my knuckles? I'm a newbie when it comes to big action films and stuff. ... It was my fight scene. I was real into it, and then I missed my mark, and I punched the camera and broke the lens!” He wasn’t concerned about the (minor) injury, however, and tells the story with glee, as evidence that he’s a badass in real life, not just in the movie.
When the trailer for X-Men Origins: Wolverine came out, fans of Ororo Monroe got excited at the sight of a little girl with white hair in one of the scenes - it looked like Storm was going to get herself a cameo in the film. However, the scene never showed up in the final cut, having made its way onto the chopping block in the editing room.
Producers did later confirm that the little girl was intended to be a young Storm, though: ‘She was a little part of the movie, she was in a village where they visited. The movie was edited, and that particular character didn’t make that scene’. Clearly, the scene wasn’t particularly vital to the plot, and was more of a nod to fans than anything else, but Storm fans can see the deleted scene on the DVD.
Origins wasn’t just the first appearance of Deadpool in the X-Men universe, it was also marked the debut of Remy LeBeau, aka Gambit. The Ragin’ Cajun (played by Taylor Kirsch) gets a decent-sized part in the film, but he was meant to be in previous X-Men movies as well.
Initially, Gambit was set to appear in X-Men, as a student blowing up basketballs, but was cut after Singer thought that the audience wouldn’t know who he was in the cameo. In X-2, Gambit’s name appears in Stryker’s computer, but he nearly had a on-screen part in this film, too. Originally, Gambit was debated as a new character for the second installment, but he lost out to Nightcrawler. Then again, in X-Men: The Last Stand, Gambit was intended to appear as a member of the team when Singer was still attached to direct, but was cut after Singer left.
Poor Gambit’s luck hasn’t improved much in the years since, either - his solo movie (with Channing Tatum attached to star) has been in development hell for several years now.
Liev Schreiber was cast as Sabretooth after Jackman suggested him for the role, as the pair happen to be good friends in real life. However, when he was first picked, Schreiber was given a muscle suit to wear for the part, to allow him to compete on-screen with the (incredibly ripped) Jackman. However, the actor felt that the suit would be humiliating to wear (especially after reading some less-than-complimentary comments online), so he decided that he would have to train until he didn’t need it.
Jackman actually helped him bulk up, putting him on a protein-heavy diet that involved a whole lot of lean chicken. Schreiber joked about the regime, saying that he felt like “the Hitler and Mussolini of the chicken world. But I felt like I owed it to the genre to be big”. In the final film, he didn’t need the muscle suit.
Before Origins: Wolverine was released in theaters, a copy was leaked online, to disastrous reviews. The leak was a massive issue for 20th Century Fox - and a bigger one for Fox News reporter Roger Friedman.
The entertainment columnist not only watched the leaked copy, but wrote an online review of it that was definitely less than complimentary. To make things worse, Friedman included a line in the review about how easy it was to find the leaked copy online and download it - all but pointing potential viewers to the site himself.
To no one's surprise but Friedman's, the studio was not happy with the review, and he ended up getting canned - not for writing a negative review of a Fox movie on a Fox website, but for admitting that he pirated the film, and telling readers that it would be easy for them to do the same.
Origins: Wolverine is based heavily on the Wolverine: Origin comic book, which finally gave the title character a clear and indisputable backstory - and one that explained his family history as well as his own. However, one major detail was changed in the film, primarily to simplify things for the audience: the decision to make Sabretooth and Wolverine brothers.
The movie shows the two fighting together and suggests that their similar mutations are the result of similar DNA - which has since become something that many casual fans believe to be true of the comic book version of Wolverine as well. However, Sabretooth is actually centuries older than Wolverine (he's been shown fighting in the Colosseum), while Logan was born in the 1800s. He was briefly connected to Wolvie… but as his father, and even that was quickly debunked with a paternity test. Thanks to the film, however, this misconception persists.
Although Liev Schreiber eventually ended up getting the part of Sabretooth (thanks in part to Jackman) several other actors were considered for the role of Victor Creed. Tyler Mane, who played the part in the earlier X-Men, asked to return for this film, but was turned down. It was decided that the actor should be younger, given that the film takes place earlier in the timeline. (He wasn’t the only actor from previous films to be left out of Origins, either. Brian Cox would have returned as William Stryker as well.)
Karl Urban and Gerard Butler were also considered for the role of Sabretooth, before Liev Schriber was finally cast, as Jackman claimed that the competitive nature of their friendship would translate well onto the big screen.
End-credits scenes are a fantastic part of Marvel movies (even those by Fox, which aren’t made by Marvel Studios) - and X-Men Origins: Wolverine was no exception. However, there wasn’t just one ending filmed for this film, but three different post-credits end scenes, which were originally intended to be sent out to different theaters.
The first shows Stryker walking down the road with bloody feet, before being detained for questioning. Two more were also filmed - one, showing Wolverine in a bar in Japan, "drinking to remember". The other shows the return of Deadpool, as his hand crawls across rubble to take hold of his severed head. The Stryker scene was attached to all versions of the film, but the other two appeared on different versions...though both appear in DVD copies.
While there are plenty of issues with X-Men Origins: Wolverine, few would argue against the idea that the biggest one of all is the absolute travesty that was Deadpool. The Merc With A Mouth ended up having his mouth sewn shut, for one thing, but he also had some fairly awful design flaws: no Deadpool suit, eyes that shoot lasers, and of course, a big ‘ol sword that somehow telescopes into his forearm (or bends, who knows!).
This version was so bad that Ryan Reynolds nearly quit the film, and later made fun of it during the promo for the (much, much better) Deadpool solo movie - but whose fault was it? Director Gavin Hood revealed in an interview that a big problem was that the character was 'encumbered by, you know, PG-13 requirements and a great deal of marketing debate”, and that it was difficult for him because of ‘certain parameters’ set by studio heads.
Do you know any other fun facts about the horrific pile of awfulness that is X-Men Origins: Wolverine? Let us know in the comments.