There was a time when it seemed that Hugh Jackman would play Wolverine until the day he died. Whether experiencing a high or low, the X-Men movie universe was always able to win fans over thanks to Jackman's charm, and the character's surly, brutally effective demeanor. But all good things must come to an end, and Jackman has admitted that it is finally time for him to hang up the adamantium claws, once and for all.
The decision isn't taking Fox entirely by surprise, as the studio had already begun to consider hiring a newer, younger actor to portray Wolverine in the early days of X-Men: Days of Future Past. That never turned out to be the case, but with Jackman claiming that Fox may have already begun casting, the mention of Kingsman star Taron Egerton in the running for X-Men: Apocalypse's new Cyclops took us by surprise. As we see it, he'd be an intriguing choice to pick up Jackman's mantle. And the thought - even in jest - has crossed his mind.
Egerton took mass audiences by surprise as Kingsman: The Secret Service's unlikely super-spy, Eggsy Unwin. Rising from humble beginnings opposite co-star Colin Firth, Egerton claimed the spotlight all by himself by the film's ending, guaranteeing more starring roles before long. Surprisingly, Egerton passed up another high-octane film for the biopic Eddie the Eagle, telling the story of British ski jumper Eddie 'The Eagle' Edwards' memorable 'successful failure' at the 1988 Winter Olympics.
The role is a far cry from the fit, well-dressed Eggsy, but gives Egerton an opportunity to co-star alongside Hugh Jackman. When we spoke with Egerton from the film's set, he revealed that any attempts at movie-level fitness pale in comparison to Jackman, as he prepares for his final role as Wolverine:
Well, I am not on a strict regime for this film, I'm quite pillowy at the moment. And he is not [Laughs]. He’s eternally rock solid. But yeah, I’ve talked to him about that, because I did my fair share of diets and training stuff for Kingsman. Hugh and I, our version of Eddie the Eagle, our story is very much a double movie between mine and Hugh’s characters. So it kind of lives and dies on our chemistry, really. I don’t know how it will relate to screen, but we have spent two months with aching sides laughing at one another. It really has been amazing. I quite like to sing as well, so we’ve sort of been wandering around the set doing songs from the shows, most to the annoyance of the crew. It’s been quite a wonderful experience, actually.
It’s been lovely as well, because this being my second lead - lead, lead - my second main part. It hasn’t had quite the monumental pressures of Kingsman. So it really has just been... it’s just been the most enjoyable experience. And Hugh is such a relaxed, easy-going, lovely personality to be around. That’s also largely due to Dexter Fletcher, who is directing the picture. The atmosphere that he brings as well, it’s just been amazing. Working with Hugh has been wonderful.
Knowing that Egerton is expected to work alongside director Matthew Vaughn (the man who first pitched the idea of handing Wolverine off to a younger actor) in the apparently greenlit Kingsman sequel, and that he has been working closely with the current actor in the role, we would be remiss to not ask if he had considered playing the part.
Although his response isn't as elusive as some would hope (since evasion tends to mean there is some truth to a rumor), Egerton confirms he's a fan of the series - even if his facial hair would raise some problems:
[Laughs] I am a huge X-Men fan! My feeling about that is... I don’t know if I’m quite grizzly enough. My facial hair is still very thin and patchy. I feel someone who plays Wolverine potentially needs testosterone in abundance. Yeah, I’d love to have a go at it, but I don’t know. [Laughs] I don’t know. I was with Hugh the day that he announced his retirement from that role. I did joke about that very thing with him. But the phone hasn’t rang yet, my friend, so I don’t know.
There's no telling which direction Fox will head with the character going forward - will they keep Wolverine as the franchise star, or hand that role off to a new leading man (considering Wolverine is rarely the official leader of the chief X-Men team)? If the decision is made to stick closer to the comic book source material, perhaps the new Wolvie will actually be a shorter, less staggeringly handsome and charming specimen. Egerton's name has been thrown around in many fan circles already, and while his comments are more in good humor than seriousness, fans can take some comfort in the fact that Jackman has heard the pitch from the actor himself.
Do you think Egerton is an interesting choice for the new Wolverine? Is there another young actor you have in mind, should Fox choose to replace Jackman sooner rather than later? Share your thoughts and picks in the comments below, and stay tuned for more from our interview with Egerton.
Kingsman: The Secret Service will be available on DVD and Blu-ray starting June 9, 2015.