The best thing that the MCU did with Spider-Man was giving us a version that combined elements from a few previous versions from the comics that hadn’t been adapted for the screen yet. So, Tom Holland’s Spider-Man felt completely different from Tobey Maguire’s and Andrew Garfield’s incarnations.
Whoever plays Wolverine next (when the character joins the MCU, eventually), their take on the character should probably be completely different than Hugh Jackman’s. Jackman is so iconic in the role that the only way to compete with him is to differentiate this manifestation of the character from his. So, here are 10 Actors Who Could Play The MCU’s Wolverine.
10 Taron Egerton
Funnily enough, Taron Egerton was with Hugh Jackman when he announced his retirement from the role of Wolverine, so it would make cosmic sense for him to take on the role next. He would also be perfect for a younger on-screen version of the character.
Egerton’s fears about taking the role mostly involve his physical appearance: “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.” That might not be a problem – it would just differentiate his version from Hugh Jackman’s.
9 Jon Bernthal
He may have just played the Punisher in a woefully underrated Netflix series, but since Disney+ seems to discount those shows from the franchise, perhaps Jon Bernthal could play another grizzled antihero from the Marvel universe.
Bernthal has always nailed characters who have a rage problem and a penchant for brutal violence that get in the way of their drive to do the right thing, like The Walking Dead’s Shane Walsh (before he became an out-and-out psychopath), Fury’s Grady Travis, and of course, Marvel’s Frank Castle. Bernthal can play intense, morally questionable characters who do violent things, but are ultimately likable.
8 Charlie Hunnam
Thanks to big, steaming piles of movies like Pacific Rim and King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, Charlie Hunnam has been deprived of the leading role in a blockbuster franchise that he deserves.
He carried one long-running serialized narrative as a complex and deeply flawed antihero when he played Jax Teller in FX’s biker drama Sons of Anarchy. He’s a really great actor, and it’s a shame that on the big screen, he’s never been given the material that he deserves. With his physicality and gruffness with an undercurrent of sweetness, Hunnam would make an ideal choice to play Wolverine.
7 Dafne Keen
If the MCU decides to go a different route with its incarnation of Wolverine, then the producers might make Logan canon and bring back Dafne Keen’s X-23. It would be a little bit like how the MCU’s Ant-Man is the second incarnation of the character.
With the MCU’s current focus on diversity and bringing in younger heroes like Kate Bishop and Ms. Marvel, perhaps Laura would be a better choice for the MCU’s Wolverine. Keen was very popular and likable in the role and we were promised a spin-off that we never got, so this would go towards rectifying that.
6 Jason Momoa
As unlikely as it is that Jason Momoa would have time to play one of DC’s most popular superheroes and one of Marvel’s most popular superheroes, everyone’s favorite tattooed badass would make an awesome Wolverine and, perhaps more importantly, a very different Wolverine than the Hugh Jackman incarnation. He could combine Aquaman’s easy charm with Khal Drogo’s intimidating presence.
Momoa has said that he’d be open to playing the role. When he was asked if he’d be interested in an MCU role, he said, “I’d love to play Wolverine...[Hugh Jackman] was phenomenal. I grew up just loving Wolverine.” So, maybe he’d be able to find time in his schedule after all.
5 Tom Hardy
Tom Hardy can do brooding intensity in his sleep – just look at Locke, Bronson, Mad Max: Fury Road, and any Christopher Nolan movie he’s been in – and last year’s Venom proved that he can bring a comic book-y eccentricity to that kind of role that would make him more suitable to be featured in the MCU.
Hardy isn’t the tallest actor, but then Wolverine isn’t the tallest superhero. Hugh Jackman may be over six feet tall (6’2”), but the Wolverine of the comics is actually more on the short side (5’3”), so it would make sense for Marvel Studios to seek out a shorter actor for the reboot. Their greatest success so far has been faithfulness to the comics, and casting a shorter actor would also go a long way towards differentiating this version of Wolverine from the previous one.
4 Andrew Lincoln
After a lengthy tenure of playing one rage-filled comic book antihero in a popular TV series (and an upcoming trilogy of movies, for some reason), perhaps Andrew Lincoln would be interested in starting another one.
There are a number of primal similarities shared by Rick Grimes and Wolverine, like their unchecked aggression and the fact that they’re tormented by their past. But there are also a lot of big differences that it would make it a fresh challenge for Lincoln. Rick is a born leader, whereas Wolvie prefers to work alone and has to learn to begrudgingly join a team.
3 Joaquin Phoenix
Marvel Studios originally contacted Joaquin Phoenix about taking the role of Doctor Strange and he turned it down due to a reluctance to sign on to a multi-movie arc. What appealed to him about the new Joker movie was the chance to do a one-and-done comic book character study. So, it seems unlikely that he’d agree to play a fan favorite like Wolverine, who fans will want to see again and again for several years.
Still, if there’s any chance he would be interested, since he’s a very complex character and would present an intriguing acting challenge, his role in Lynne Ramsay’s You Were Never Really Here proved he could play a terrific Wolverine.
2 Oscar Isaac
We may have seen Oscar Isaac in Fox’s X-Men: Apocalypse playing the titular villain, but that role didn’t do his talents as an actor anywhere near justice. His best-known role is Star Wars’ lovable rogue Poe Dameron, who’s a lot more upbeat than Wolverine, but as his role in Ex Machina proved, he can play a really intense character who isn’t necessarily likable and is unpredictable due to a drinking problem with considerable gusto.
This would make Isaac one of the greatest casting choices for Wolverine, if he’s willing to give the X-Men property a second chance, because it’s right in his smaller-scale indie wheelhouse.
1 Keanu Reeves
Marvel reportedly meets with Keanu Reeves to discuss a role in pretty much every MCU film, and they’re waiting for the right character to come along. Some fans have suggested Namor, Moon Knight, and Adam Warlock, but maybe Wolverine would be the right choice.
We know that Reeves can do action roles in his sleep with enough commitment to the stunts and choreography to sell every fight scene, but it’s his burning intensity that would make him an ideal Wolverine. Imagine the rage and fighting skills of John Wick with the adamantium claws and emotional trauma of Wolverine – he’d be unstoppable!