Well, this is it – the end of an era for comic book fans. After almost two decades portraying Wolverine on the big screen, Hugh Jackman is officially done with the iconic Marvel character. Sure, we’ve heard this before and while it’s not completely set in stone, a recent interview with Lauren Shuler Donner, who produced all of the films in the X-Men franchise, indicated that with Kevin Feige and Marvel Studios set to take the characters from 20th Century Fox, the search might soon commence for an actor who can bring new, and perhaps younger, life to Wolverine.
Jackman first appeared as the gritty, metal-clawed superhero in X-Men back in 2000 and since then has appeared in 10 films either in a starring role or as a cameo, the most recent of which was Logan in 2017, and afterward the actor admitted that he hoped to put the character behind him. Perhaps his best role as Wolverine, the film featured an older, yet still swole and badass, version of the character, one that seemed fitting for the now 50-year-old. But it seems like the time and energy involved with getting into Wolverine shape isn’t something Jackman wants to continue doing at this point.
But that won’t stop Marvel from continuing to adapt the character to film, with more than enough comic book storylines ripe for the picking and not sight of the bubble bursting for the genre in sight. Plus, Wolverine seems destined to be a substantial part of an upcoming Deadpool sequel. So, that begs the question as to who Jackman should hand down his claws? No other actor has portrayed a real-life version of Wolverine on film, so this search won’t be an easy one.
Initially, the first actor that came to mind was Tom Hardy. Known for portraying characters that are in the same basic genre as the X-Men, whether it was Bane in the Dark Knight Rises or Max Rockatansky in Mad Max: Fury Road, as well as more sophisticated Oscar-worthy efforts, Hardy exudes everything Marvel could want from its next Wolverine. The 41-year-old is right in the sweet spot, with the ability to play an older or younger version of the character. He’s got grit and an edge that would perfectly capture the griminess of the character and he often portrays a man of few words. There’s only one problem here. Hardy is already involved with the MCU, playing Venom in the film of the same name last year, which has already received the go-ahead on a sequel.
It wouldn’t be the first time that the MCU has featured an actor playing more than one role, however. Lesser-known actors have portrayed more than one character and so have a-listers like Josh Brolin (Thanos and Cable), Michael B. Jordan (Human Torch, Killmonger) and Chris Evans (Human Torch and Captain America). Those last two don’t really count as the Fantastic Four franchise is a mess and something Marvel has looked to revive on several occasions. Brolin is the exception to the rule, however for Hardy to play two of the most infamous roles in comic book history seems like it might just be a recipe for disaster – and an unwise way to build the brand. With so many other actors out there, why risk accidentally blending Venom and Wolverine together?
Another option would be Andrew Lincoln, better known as Rick Grimes from AMC’s The Walking Dead. Lincoln, 45, would be slightly on the older end though he could still play a younger version and is ripe for the picking, since he’s fresh off of the zombie television drama. Over the course of nine seasons he proved he has the ability to play a filthy person with zero moral code, who will do whatever it takes to survive. He looks like several of the comic book versions and has a voice that would be perfect for the character – just imagine him with a cigarette saying “bub.” The most difficult part might be getting the actor into ridiculously good shape. But Lincoln also has a softer side, starring in the 2003 romantic comedy Love Actually. Not really sure where that comes into play here but don’t forget, Jackman did star in Kate and Leopold.
As for the last actor that came to mind, well he might be a little bit of a dark horse – and, oddly enough, he’s already played a significant character in the X-Men franchise. Oscar Isaac, best known for playing mega-villain En Sabah Nur, better known as Apocalypse, in X-Men: Apocalypse looks just like Wolverine. At 39, Isaac should have no issue playing a younger version of the character and definitely has the chops to do it and do it well. In some ways his portrayal of Poe Dameron in the Star Wars sequels seems similar to Wolverine, in that Dameron is brash and really doesn’t take any crap from anyone in an authoritative role.
Isaac seems like the type of actor that would really delve into the role and better familiarize himself with the comic book material. Let’s not forget, he did win a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor back in 2016. And, let’s be honest, Apocalypse could always be reprised by someone else.
It could be a while before Feige and the rest of those in power at Marvel make any sort of decision regarding the fate of Wolverine in the MCU but don’t worry, everyone on social media will be keeping a watchful eye, making predictions with each little morsel of information. No matter who it might be, they are certainly going to have humongous shoes to fill. Guys like Jackman just don’t come around often.