I asked this question on Twitter shortly after news broke that 20th Century Fox planned to move forward with yet another X-Men movie in 2016. Will Hugh Jackman really be back in the claws? He’s in next summer’s Days of Future Past. He’s reportedly planning on doing another standalone Wolverine movie with James Mangold. And now this? That’s a lot of "Snikt."
Vanity Fair must have had the same concern. While on a phone interview with Jackman to promote the DVD release of The Wolverine, they asked the tireless A-lister if he’ll return for a record-breaking portrayal of Logan. And he hedged his bets, to say the least. When asked if the Mangold sequel was a "done deal," Jackman admitted:
I don’t know whether or not I will do this next movie. I am really proud of this movie and I am excited to develop something with Jim Mangold from the beginning because that is a great ride. That’s exciting, to see what we come up with but I have a very high expectation of what it would need to be [for me to star in it] and if it doesn’t reach those, I won’t be doing it. … There is [no script], but Jim Mangold and I were literally on the phone last night talking about ideas but there is no script and no writer yet so it’s a way off."
What could that mean for X-Men: Apocalypse? If Jackman’s already hesitant to come back for a solo Wolvie film, how excited can he be about strapping for a multi-character Apocalypse film?
There are options. Fox could continue the X-Men franchise without Wolverine, who arguably has been the franchise’s most popular character (but could be suffering from story and screen fatigue). Or, the studio could recast. That seems like blasphemy … but maybe after all of these years, it’s time to give another actor a chance in Wolverine’s signature claws.
As Jackman himself says, this is "a way off." Maybe he’s following a path used by pro athletes, pretending not to be sold on a franchise or a roll so that he can negotiate a HUGE payday in order to return. Jackman seems to actively enjoy playing Wolverine, and fans still love him in the role. Fox has big plans for the mutant franchise, and this hero in particular. Will Jackman be part of the solution? Right now, it sounds up in the air.