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.
Since 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.
The 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.”
We 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.