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There's almost a 100% chance that you may have heard about this deal between Disney and Fox. In an historic deal, Disney tentatively purchased Fox's movie and TV assets in a transaction that is valued somewhere close to $60 billion. As part of the deal, Disney will get the rights to Fox's entire movie IPs, which includes Avatar, Alien, Planet of the Apes, Ice Age, as well as several others. The one the nerds cared most about, though, was the X-Men, who will now finally be making their way to the MCU. That includes the most popular X-Man of all, Wolverine, which has begged the question:
Will Disney recast the role or will Hugh Jackman cut his retirement short to play in the superhero sandbox of his dreams?
As great as it would be to see Hugh Jackman finally suit up in a comic book accurate Wolverine costume, it is likely for the best that Jackman stays retired from the character, and for Disney to find a new face once Wolverine makes his MCU debut. Logan was meant to be Hugh Jackman's final portrayal of the character he helped make famous almost 18 years ago, and Jackman seemed pretty adamant about that. Through all his press interviews, he made it clear: it was just time to move on. However, Jackman has also gone on record saying that he would be more than down to be in a movie with Iron Man and the Avengers. (A sentiment I'm sure a lot of us share).
Hugh Jackman said that had an MCU crossover been on the table before Logan, he likely would have reconsidered his decision to hang up the claws. Does that mean he wouldn't have retired? Who can really say, but what's important is that it would have given him genuine pause, and some recent words from Sebastian Stan seemed to imply that it's something that's been on Jackman's mind a lot lately.
But I think that Hugh Jackman should stick with his gut on this one. It stinks that he got out of the game just as it got way more fun to play the famous mutant, but he had a legendary run as Wolverine and he went out on top. Logan will likely go down as one of the best superhero movies of all time; a film that takes itself and its main character incredibly seriously, but doesn't shy away from the comic booky stuff people want to see. If it hadn't have come out in so early in the year, Logan might even have had a stronger chance at the Oscars; Hell, it still might! Logan is what "going out on top" looks like.
If Hugh Jackman is the MCU's Wolverine, then that's going to take some serious mental gymnastics to understand. Spoiler alert, but Wolverine dies at the end of Logan. How is he supposed to come back in the MCU? Our nerdier readers may be quick to shout "Multiverse!" but that's unnecessarily confusing to moviegoers who may not be as used to the concept of infinite realities -- especially when it's never suggested that Logan takes place in an alternate future.
In addition, we don't know exactly what Disney or Kevin Feige's plans are for integrating the X-Men. Is the current cast of the Fox movies going to jump universes to live in the MCU, keeping their own continuity intact? Are they just going to occasionally dimension hop for big crossovers? Are we going full timeline reboot so that they've been in the MCU from the beginning? Hugh Jackman's involvement would break most of those plans. You can't recast the entire universe but keep one guy (unless he's Deadpool).
Reprising the role of Wolverine would also do a lot to diminish the ending of Logan. At least part of the reason the movie is so powerful is that it was billed as, you know, the last time we'd see this iteration of the character. He was giving an ending, an all too rare occurrence in superhero and blockbuster movies these days. Logan gave his life to save some children, all the while coming to terms with his animal instincts and personal demons that haunted him for years. To just have him show up in the MCU right as rain is to at least sour that ending. Logan got his ending, so let's let him rest in peace.
If Hugh Jackman were to return as Logan in the MCU, it couldn't be for just one or two appearances. He'd be locked into the job for at least another 5-10 years, meaning he'd be screaming and slashing until he's almost 60. Not that age should be a major factor in what an actor can or can't do, but these Marvel contracts can be intimidating. It'd make sense for Jackman to be wary of playing the same part he's been playing for almost two decades for another five years when there are other opportunities and challenges he could be pursuing.
Hugh Jackman's image is as intimately tied to Wolverine as Robert Downey Jr. is to Iron Man. It's tough to picture anyone else in this role, but it's not an impossible feat. There have been three different Spider-Mans in the past decade and people have gotten pretty used to more than one Batman (good thing, too). Someone new will eventually pop the claws, and while they'll have a tough job ahead of them, they'll bring with them necessary freshness that only new blood can. Jackman has more than earned a break.