Batman’s fighting Superman. The Avengers are saying goodbye to old friends and hello to new ones before they all have a not-so friendly wrastlin’ match in Civil War. The X-Men just kind-of, sort-of bid a fond farewell to its original trilogy cast members in X-Men: Days of Future Past, and now apparently even the First Class people are walking away after next year’s X-Men: Apocalypse.
Things are all topsy-turvy, I tells ya’. Eras are ending all around us, new eras are starting. However, a lie which has been so tempting to believe is that Hugh Jackman would outlive all of this. In one of the most unfriendly-sounding, yet kind-hearted analogies I could make, Jackman’s Wolverine has been like the cockroach of the super hero universe. Ever since his introduction in 2000, cinematic versions of Batman and Superman have come and gone. We’re on our third Hulk by now, and second iteration of The Fantastic Four. Everyone around Jackman in the X-Men universe has been recast at this point. His most notable love interest, Jean Grey, will now be played by an actress, Game of Thrones‘ Sophie Turner, who was only 4-years-old when the first X-Men came out. Yet Jackman’s Wolverine remains, somehow looking better and more muscular with each new movie.
It takes an insane number of man hours to maintain that body, yet there is a limit on the number of times Wolverine can get cut in the face, wince in pain, and then turn to the camera as his heal wounds and his enemy more or less craps his pants before it seems too familiar. There are comic book storylines in which Wolverine does begin to age, albeit at an extremely decelerated rate, and they have talked about maybe using the “Old Man Logan” story arc (at one point, Wolverine tries to commit suicide by placing his head on train tracks) as a basis for Wolverine 3, which will re-unite Jackman with The Wolverine director James Mangold. Whatever they do, it will in fact be our last time seeing Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. He’d previously teased as much on Instagram, but he’s now flat out confirmed it, stating on the Dr. Oz show:
“[Wolverine 3] will be my last one. It is my last time. It just felt like it was the right time to do it. And let’s be honest, 17 years. I never thought in a million years it would last, so I’m so grateful to the fans for the opportunity of playing it. I kind of have in my head what we’re going to do in this last one. It just feels like this is the perfect way to go out.”
Moreover, if the rumors are to be believed Wolverine 3 will bring an end to the entire Bryan Singer X-Men Universe, original trilogy and First Class trilogy included. Of course, Fox also has two X-Men spin-off projects due next year, Deadpool and Gambit. Fox likes money. If those movies make money I’m sure they’ll make sequels in the hopes of making more money. That’s just what movie companies normally do. But come March 2nd, 2017, they’ll have finally reached their limit for the number of times they can plug Hugh Jackman into something to play Wolverine. We still don’t really know what Wolverine 3 will be about, with Jackman citing “Old Man Logan” as an obvious possibility in one interview and Patrick Stewart surprisingly implying it would be an Old Professor X/Wolverine team-up movie in a separate interview. They’re on their second screenwriter at this point, Michael Greene (Green Lantern) replacing David James Kelley. But, more immediately, we don’t even know if Jackman will be appearing in X-Men: Apocalypse, which is currently filming in Montreal in advance of its May 27, 2016 release. I’ve previously argued that at this point it is perhaps best for the X-Men films to take a bit of a break after Apocalypse and Wolverine 3. Still, facing the news that Jackman is definitely out (a year and half from now) is forcing me to play a montage of his best X-Men movie moments in my head, set to Madonna’s “This Used to Be My Playground” from A League of Their Own. You too? No? That’s just me?
Deadpool opens February 12, 2016, followed by Apocalypse on May 27, 2016, Gambit on October 7, 2016, Wolverine 3 on March 3, 2017 with a currently untitled Fox adaptation of a Marvel property (X-Force? Another Fantastic Four? Another X-Men?) on July 13, 2018.
Get ready to say goodbye to these (signature Wolverine screams):