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It all started in 1999. A young, up-and-coming Aussie actor named Hugh Jackman auditioned for a superhero role in Bryan Singer’s X-Men debut. They each took a chance on each other… and nearly two decades later, they took the stage at San Diego Comic-Con to celebrate the fruits of that decision. Hugh Jackman came out on stage in Hall H to thank the X-Men and Wolverine fans for their loyalty, and I recorded the whole thing. I missed him talking about how much he has aged over the years (after they showed his audition on screen), which helps explain his "Old Man Logan" joke at the beginning. The rest is truly heartfelt.
And all of what he said is true. There would be no X-Men franchise without Hugh Jackman, who has been a cornerstone of Fox’s mutant endeavor for seven films – and as he said in the video, he will do it for one more movie. And he told us, to no real surprise:
This next time is going to be my last time for putting on the claws. One last time. … [And] in this movie that we are going to make, it’s going to be directed by Jim Mangold, the great Jim Mangold. … And I can tell you, the people who are in this room, the fans, in this room, it’s going to be the best one yet for you guys."
He then shared this image of Wolverine holding up one claw. A symbolic gesture of the end.
It kind of has to be, right? Hugh Jackman is 46, and he puts his body through physical extremes to play Wolverine. It takes at least two years to make and promote these movies. How many more would he have in him?
There was some very weird back and forth between Jackman and director Bryan Singer following this exchange. By then, Singer had brought out the entire X-Men: Apocalypse panel, and Jackman was lingering around all of these actors – these stars – whose careers he helped launch. And Singer kept dangling a carrot that there would be a place for Wolverine at the Apocalypse "table." But then no announcement came. It was strange.
It’s not to be, I guess. For now, Hugh Jackman’s third Wolverine movie has a release date of March 3, 2017. And tonight, his farewell tour kicked off with grace, style and a kick-ass goodbye for the fans!