ByKit Simpson Browne, writer at
Writer-at-large. Bad jokes aplenty. Can be gently prodded on Twitter at @kitsb1
Kit Simpson Browne

Good news, X-Fans! From the sounds of it, the apocalypse has officially been cancelled.

Now, don't worry - Fox hasn't cancelled the upcoming X-Men: Apocalypse, and Pacific Rim 2 is still just as possible (or otherwise) as ever. Instead, I'm talking about the emotional apocalypse that's sure to ensue when Hugh Jackman - the X-Men series' increasingly iconic Wolverine - finally steps down from the role that made him a mega-star.

Which, according to his latest interview at least, is now looking a whole lot further away than we previously thought.

The reason?

Hugh Jackman Wants to Keep Playing Wolverine... Forever

Gun shot wounds be damned...
Gun shot wounds be damned...

As he put it to Cigar Aficionado Magazine:

"I said to my wife, 'The moral is that I should never stop playing Wolverine. I've got to find a way to keep playing him until I die.'"

The only limitation?

''I always want to be in better shape than I was for the last one. Every time I play Wolverine I want to go further, physically and emotionally."

Now, that doesn't mean that Jackman believes he'll be the only man to play Wolverine on screen...

"I know that someday they'll recast the role with another actor...I'd be happy if the role was eventually recast. It would mean that it had become iconic."

...but it sure does suggest that he has absolutely no intention of hanging up his claws any time soon.

What Does That Mean for the X-Men Franchise, Though?

Other than more claws in its future.
Other than more claws in its future.

Well, more than anything else, it's seriously good news for everyone who was struggling to imagine anyone else taking on the role of Wolverine. Much like Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, Hugh Jackman has largely defined the character for an entire generation of superhero fans, and the idea of him handing over the role to another actor is a pretty big deal. That we're now likely a long way away from that happening is therefore a pretty big relief.

The news also, though, suggests that we could be set to see three key things happen over the next decade or so:

1. We Might Get to See Wolverine Age

Sorry, bub.
Sorry, bub.

After all, Hugh Jackman may look frighteningly youthful right now, but in a decade's time, he's going to be 56 - and most likely look a fair bit different to his first appearance as Wolverine back in 2000's X-Men.

Could that, then, mean we're set to see Wolverine begin to age within the movies - something which flashbacks have revealed hasn't happened in the past hundred or so years of movie continuity?

Well, short answer? Yes, it almost certainly does.

After all, the comic-book Wolverine recently found himself in a similar situation, with his healing factor being stripped away by an extra-dimensional virus, leaving him both mortal - and able to age.

Something only Wolverine could be cheerful about.
Something only Wolverine could be cheerful about.

Could we, then, see Hugh Jackman's Wolverine lose his healing factor at some point? It would, after all, allow both a whole lot of new plot-lines, and for Jackman himself to age alongside the role.

Could That in Turn Mean We'll See Old Man Logan?

Yes, yes it does.
Yes, yes it does.

Specifically, could we eventually see a movie adaptation of the fan-favorite Wolverine story-line Old Man Logan, in which an aging Wolverine battles his way through a future in which super-villains have taken over the United States, killing almost all of the world's heroes in the process.

Closer to a revenge-thriller Western than it is to most mainstream comic-book tales, the story-line would seem to be a natural fit for a future X-franchise installment, were it to continue along the somewhat darker path it currently seems set to take with X-Men: Apocalypse and Deadpool - especially since it would allow for an older Hugh Jackman to play a very different version of the hero.

And, Eventually, Could We See Wolverine Die?

While looking like Colossus, apparently...
While looking like Colossus, apparently...

After all, the comics recently saw Wolverine finally meet his maker - though how long he'll actually stay dead is anyone's guess - so it's not an unprecedented move, and given twenty-or-so years to prepare for it, Fox and Jackman may well see it as a useful way to provide the character with a fitting send-off...before re-casting and rebooting the character for the 2030's.

Either that, or we should start getting ready for 2052's epic Wolverine 14: Really Old Man Logan...

What do you think, though? How long do you think Hugh Jackman'll stick around as Wolverine - and what plot-lines do you think we'll see while he does?



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