While the X-Men franchise is showing no signs of slowing down as X-Men: Apocalypse is on the horizon, the next Wolverine movie is shaping up to be something special. Hugh Jackman has expressed reluctance to return as the character in the past, but this time he came out with supreme confidence to announce that this follow-up to The Wolverine is, without doubt, his last time playing the character. So, naturally, there are some sky-high expectations to see how he’s gonna go out given that Jackman’s portrayal of the mutant is undoubtedly iconic.
We know that Patrick Stewart will be appearing in the film alongside Jackman as Professor X, and Jackman is currently developing the script with The Wolverine helmer James Mangold, who is expected to return and direct. But beyond that, very little is known about what’s in store for fans with this third standalone Wolverine movie.
So when Steve sat down with Jackman recently at the press day for the Peter Pan reimagining Pan, in which Jackman plays the villainous pirate Blackbeard, the conversation veered into Wolverine territory. As for an update, Jackman says they’re about halfway through the script and revealed that the story will delve into the relationship between Wolverine and Professor X:
“I’ll be really honest with you, the actual script in its full form we’re up to about Page 60. Obviously there’s a treatment, so it’s not fully done yet, we’re not fully there. Patrick does figure in it that’s for sure. I think it’s a really important relationship but I want to see signs of that quasi-father/son sort of relationship that has not been seen before, and sides of particularly Professor X that have not been seen before. So we have some really, really cool ideas.”
This is actually pretty great, as it brings the story full-circle from when Professor X first found and mentored Wolverine in the first X-Men movie. It’s also exciting to hear that care is being given to further fleshing out Xavier instead of just using him as “another mutant” to put alongside Wolverine.
But while things are moving full-steam ahead, Jackman cautioned that he’s being very careful with ensuring that this lives up to expectations, saying he won’t officially sign off until he’s sure the script is just right:
“I’m saying ‘but’ and I’m sounding a little cagey because this is the last time I’m playing him, and I have just made the commitment to myself, really, and told everyone that until that script is perfect, until it is that perfect way to sign out, I’m not gonna start shooting. So that’s why I don’t wanna say ‘Yes’ for sure, because until Page 115, 120, whatever it is…”
That being said, Jackman says the outline that they came up with is 90% to where he wants it to be, so the finished script only needs a bit more work to get it to where Jackman feels comfortable:
“I feel that I’m pushing harder than I’ve ever pushed before. I suppose the stakes just go up when you announce before your last season that this is your last season, you don’t want one game to not be your best… People ask me, ‘How are you gonna be able to let it go?’ To me the only way you can let it go is if you left blood every day on the studio floor.”
But while Jackman is hesitant to say “Yes” until things are just right, he confirmed that the plan is for shooting to start next year, adding that he’s known how he wants to end his tenure as Wolverine for a long time:
“The ultimate plan is let’s start shooting next year… I’m starting the training, I’m starting the eating and mentally really preparing for it. It’s not just me, the studio as well—I’m trying to do something with this that’s a little special, a little different. I’ve got a very, very strong idea of what that is. I really have known for quite a long time how I want to finish this sort of odyssey that I’ve been on, this amazing journey. And I won’t let it fall anywhere in between. I won’t fall short of it.”
Steve also asked the actor if they’d be returning to Australia for production, where they shot The Wolverine, but Jackman says they haven’t nailed down the location just yet:
“Possibly. They do [have great soundstages], and the dollar’s being nice right now. That is one of the things that is up in the air a little bit, not 100% sure where we’ll shoot. And that’s part script, part life, family life and all of that.”
So if everything goes according to plan and the script comes out just right, this next Wolverine movie will be in production next year for release hopefully sometime in 2017, though maybe 2018 if the development takes a bit longer.
What do you think, folks? Are you intrigued by the idea of exploring the father/son relationship between Professor X and Wolverine? How do you want to see Jackman end his time as the character? Sound off in the comments below, and look for Steve’s full interview with Jackman closer to the release of Pan.