Hugh Jackman Talks Leaving the Character of Wolverine Behind; Considers Whether He’d Rather Be Rebooted or Replaced

     May 13, 2014


For all intents and purposes, Hugh Jackman is The Wolverine.  His performance of the X-Men character has now spanned over a decade and seven feature films, and whenever one thinks of Wolverine, Jackman’s portrayal immediately comes to mind.  However, Jackman can’t play the character forever, and though at the age of 45 he arguably looks even better as Wolverine than he did in the 2000 film, the actor has admitted that his time as the character will come to a close sooner rather than later.  We know that he will return in the 2016 sequel X-Men: Apocalypse and most likely in another standalone feature, but beyond that, the future is uncertain.

Steve recently spoke with Jackman in anticipation of his seventh portrayal of the character in X-Men: Days of Future Past, and during the course of their conversation he asked Jackman if he’d rather see another actor simply replace him as Wolverine or if he’d rather see the character completely rebooted.  He also discussed how he’s taking inspiration from Jerry Seinfeld in leaving the character behind, though he noted that right now he doesn’t want to let go because the scripts are so good.  Read on after the jump.

hugh-jackman-wolverine-rebootSince 20th Century Fox won’t simply retire the character of Wolverine when Jackman stops playing the role, Steve asked Jackman if he’d rather have a new actor simply inherit the role or if he’d like to see the character be completely rebooted:

“Oh that’s interesting.  I just presume, in a way, that if it happens they will reboot.  I don’t know why I thought that.  I think you could replace him because he’s older, but it would be interesting—because I was 30 when I got the role, it’d be interesting to follow that character from 20, or even 18, because we haven’t seen it.  So that’s just what I assumed it would be.”

It certainly feels like rebooting the character would be the most fruitful route, as Jackman pointed out that there would definitely be some fascinating material to mine from the perspective of a very young Wolverine.  Alas, that day still may be a few years off.

x-men-days-of-future-past-hugh-jackmanThe actor reiterated that he’s nearing the end of his tenure in the role, and added that he’d like to follow in Jerry Seinfeld’s footsteps when he departs:

“Well you’re spot on in that it will be some form of replacement that we know (laughs).  So I don’t know how long to do it.  And personally, I was always really inspired by Jerry Seinfeld, how he left that show at its height on his own terms.  I think that’s a really smart way to do it.  It’d be great to leave people wanting more, rather than the other way around.  It’d also be great to make the decision rather than getting that phone call, ‘Now listen Hugh, I know you thought you were going to [keep going], and thank you so much for all you’ve done, but…’  I think it would be much better to be making that decision together.”

hugh-jackman-wolverine-3We know that Jackman and The Wolverine director James Mangold are developing another standalone Wolverine film, and while the tentative plan is to shoot that back-to-back with X-Men: Apocalypse, Jackman has said that he won’t make the film unless he’s confident it can bring something new to the table.  For now, though, they’re far from reaching a dry spell:

“I’m enjoying this more than ever, and you and I have talked about this a lot, I think the scripts from what Jim [Mangold] pulled off with The Wolverine to what Simon Kinberg and Bryan [Singer] have pulled off with [Days of Future Past], the scripts are getting better and better.  For me there has to be something new and some new direction, I suppose, for the character to go; not only for me, but for the audiences.  And I feel that that’s been happening.”

Steve mentioned that it must be hard to be in Jackman’s shoes, as he can see the end coming but it’s hard to let go when the material is so good:

“Right now I don’t [want to let it go], and as long as it keeps going this direction I probably won’t (smiles).  But I’ve made that promise to you, it’s not something I will stick around at and stay at if I feel it’s dropping off or if I don’t feel that urge to go and do it, because I know there’s 10 million actors out there who would kill themselves to play the part.  They should, it’s a great part.”

Watch the full interview with Jackman below, and if you missed what he told us about X-Men: Apocalypse and the next standlone film, click here.  Look for more from Jackman on Collider soon.

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  • Lex Walker

    I know he didn’t mean it that way, but by saying “I know there’s 10 million actors out there who would kill themselves to play the part. They should, it’s a great part.” He essentially just told 10 million actors to kill themselves. Kind of darkly funny.

  • Yeah, NO

    I certainly don’t think Hugh Jackman when I think Wolverine. It’ll be great to see him go.

    • Travis Gowen

      Seriously, then what do you think when you hear Wolverine? If it weren’t for his portrayal of the character through the first 3 movies (and his origins story) the X-Men franchise could have died for 20 years, because aside from X and Magneto the rest of the cast basically could be replaced (not saying they should).

      Instead it managed to withstand a disaster in the Last Stand and have one of the most highly anticipated films of the summer.

  • AUSome actor!

    One of the most classy actors alive.

    • Kyle Chandler

      He seems to really care about the character and what it means to fans. Even when the movie falls short (let’s pretend Origins never happened), he definitely gives it everything he has.

      • Redjester

        Not to mention just how versatile he is as an actor. The guy can literally do it all.

      • Aquartertoseven

        Origins was a pretty good film, the hyperbole, it never ends!

      • Kyle Chandler

        I’m sure there was a pretty good film in there somewhere, but that’s not what ended up on screen. I liked the backstory elements, Liev Schriber was actually pretty awesome as sabertooth, and Jackman does give it his all.

        However, the end result was just a bit of a mess, and still managed to cram way too many mutants into a “solo” movie. The Wolverine was the movie I hoped I was getting with Origins.

      • Aquartertoseven

        It could’ve been better but it was still good. Who cares about how it treated Deadpool, it worked within the film. That’s what comic loonies don’t realise. What works for the film =/= faithfulness to the comics.

      • Kyle Chandler

        Completely agree that what works for comics doesn’t always work in film, but that really wasn’t the problem here as far as I am concerned. Clunky dialog and completely uneven pacing are what caused the movie to not work.

      • Aquartertoseven

        I can kinda see what you mean but it had enough positives to be a pretty decent film.

  • DNAsplitter

    Maybe Fox can just CGI him over another actor’s body and have him do the voice over like FF7 for Paul Walker that way he can do the role until the day he dies. LMAO. Seriously it would be smart to reboot the character at a younger age since they are skipping around in timelines w the new X-Men films. Hugh will be sorely missed once he’s gone.

  • Kyle Chandler

    Honestly, after Jackman is done (who I think has been great), I would like to see them rest the wolverine character for a while…give some of the other xmen a chance to shine. They have a deep well to pull from and while wolverine might be the most popular, he isn’t always the most interesting of the xmen.

    • Redjester

      Nice thought.

      When they do bring him back into the fold, perhaps they could go with a shorter Wolverine this time around. Another reason for doing so is that I can’t for the life of me think of another actor with Jackman’s height and build that is actually a strong enough actor to pull it off as well as he did.

  • MJ

    Good actor, but I was bored with his morose, overly introspective, angst-filled take on Wolverine, about two movies ago. They should have rebooted him for this new X-Men movie. His Wolverine is depressing and boring now.

    Does anyone really give a shit anymore about his oh so depressing origin story and all of his failed female relationships? God save us all from more flashback scenes in future Wolverine movies…been there, done that…WE GET IT NOW, OK?

    And no, he looked much more convincing in 2000 as Wolverine. He now looks like a middle-aged, mid-life crisis guy who hits the weight room too much to keep his action movie role paychecks coming in.

  • Grendal Sven

    I got drunk one night alone and made the horrid mistake of watching “Movie 43″ on netflix.

    Now every time I see Hugh Jackman, I can’t stop picturing a nutsack on his chin.

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  • ʝoe ßloggs

    ENOUGH Wolverine already for goodness sake!
    There are OTHER characters yet to be explored.

  • Yurine

    Just replace him. I don’t want to hear about another slew of Wolverine movie’s.

  • Yurine

    Just replace him. I don’t want to hear about another slew of Wolverine movie’s.

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  • I am the smrt

    In order for WOlverine to seriously be a big movie. they need to reboot this movie and make it rated R. this guy is savage and does major damage with those bladed hands. im talking kill bill type of blood. parts flying everywhere. it just needs to be plain out raw and dark.