Its been awhile since I did an editorial called “Big Deal or No Big Deal“, where I discuss a major movie news topic and basically whether its a big deal or no big deal. The topic for this blog post is on the retirement of Hugh Jackman as the Wolverine character. The actor has recently re-confirmed that he is in fact retiring from playing Wolverine after the third solo film in 2017. Jackman has been the franchise star of the X-Men films since first playing the character 15 years ago.
Hugh Jackman retiring from playing Wolverine is a BIG DEAL for the X-Men universe.
Today, when you think of the X-Men movies, who do you think of? The answer is Jackman as Wolverine. He has been the center of the films, both the good ones and the bad. He’s embraced the character and dedicated himself to it (physically and mentally). 20th Century Fox and Bryan Singer have made him the focus of these films (except First Class), and although it has cost the development of other characters (say Cyclops), I didn’t mind it all too much, because Jackman is so good at playing the character. After 2017, he will depart the X-Men Universe, and who will take his place?
X-Men: Apocalypse will impact the films moving forward in a big way, so far as I know. We’ve seen the last of the original cast with that neat tribute at the end of Days of Future Past, although rumors claim that maybe one or two characters could appear in Apocalypse. The word around the web is that the First Class cast (McAvoy, Fassbender, Lawrence, Hoult) will also depart from the universe after Apocalypse. The film will also (re)introduce new characters like Cyclops, Storm, Jean Grey, Jubilee, along with Deadpool and Gambit. Now maybe these X-Men films will find more balance as far as focusing on the characters, but having no Jackman leaves a huge void that I don’t think any of them can fill. Don’t get me wrong, I hope one of them do. Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool and Channing Tatum as Gambit will no doubt be fun characters, but these characters are better served as side characters.
Eventually, the Wolverine character will be recast. I look at it as I do with those who’ve portrayed DC’s villain The Joker. The person who will be cast will no doubt have their haters, because “the internet”. That casting will be one of the few in the comic book genre which many people will be watching. They will have some big shoes to fill, but they will also have every opportunity to give us something different. Like Nicholson’s Joker, fans will always compare the next Wolverine and the one after that, to Hugh Jackman’s.