Our time with Hugh Jackman as The Wolverine looks like it’s coming to an end. The 46-year-old actor revealed today on Instagram that he will be playing the X-Men character one last time, probably in the next Wolverine movie that The Wolverine helmer James Mangold will direct.
The Australian actor famously landed the prime role as a young newcomer, replacing Dougray Scott in Bryan Singer’s 2000 film X-Men. He would go on to play the character seven more times, and became the first X-Men actor to get his own spinoff movie, X-Men Origins: Wolverine. That effort was a misfire, but he subsequently recovered with the swell The Wolverine and became the link between the old cast and the X-Men: First Class cast in X-Men: Days of Future Past. Jackman had previously been reported as having at least some sort of role in X-Men: Apocalypse, Singer’s next X-Men film that’s due to start shooting soon, but I would be surprised if that ensemble pic would be his final time playing the character. What’s more likely is that he’ll give it a fitting sendoff in the next Wolverine movie, which Fox has dated for March 3, 2017. It’s unclear if he’ll still make an appearance in Apocalypse or if he’s saving it all for his standalone Wolverine movie.
This isn’t a shocking development, as Jackman famously puts in a lot of effort to physically transform into the character each and every time, and it’s likely not super fun to have to make yourself look like an animal every one or two years. Moreover, Jackman’s an incredibly talented (not to mention versatile) actor, so it’s not like he’s saying goodbye to his career. He’s currently in production on the ski jumper biopic Eddie the Eagle starring opposite Taron Egerton, and he steps into the role of Blackbeard in this summer’s Pan from visionary director Joe Wright. Production-wise, Jackman is poised to shoot the P.T. Barnum biopic The Greatest Showman on Earth later this year, and then he and Mangold will likely reunite for the final Wolverine movie sometime in 2016 in anticipation of that film’s 2017 release. We know very little about what’s in store for Wolverine in his next standalone movie, but Patrick Stewart recently let slip that the film might involve a team-up between Charles Xavier and Logan. Jackman’s story as Wolverine began with the character being taken in by Xavier, so it’s only fitting that he says goodbye with Charles by his side as well.
UPDATE: James Mangold confirmed via Twitter that he will direct Jackman in his last go as Wolverine, saying he’s been “toiling quietly a while now”.
— Mangold (@mang0ld) March 29, 2015
What do you think about this news, folks? With Jackman departing, who could ever step into the character’s shoes now? Sound off in the comments below.