When Bryan Singer & Fox cast Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, it was a match made in heaven. Here we are some 17 years later and it's still a match made in heaven. Jackman has gone on record as saying the as-yet-unnamed Wolverine sequel will be his last outing as The ol' Canucklehead so with the exception of likely cameos in Deadpool and [X-Men: Apocalypse](tag:1194267), we're left with one final look at perhaps the finest example of casting in history. There are a few options open to Fox in terms of what happens next, let's take a look at some of them.
Hugh Jackman Is Lying
That's a ridiculously bold statement, isn't it? Think about it though, why would Jackman need to hang up the claws? It's not like playing Wolverine is keeping him from other roles. It certainly isn't that he's too old for it - have you seen the dude in those movies? He's ripped! What a great way to stir up some mainstream interest in what is more than likely going to be a fairly non-mainstream story - who's not going to want to see something 17 years in the making? If rumors are to be believed and the second (let's forget Origins) solo Wolverine movie is based on Old Man Logan, then every comic book fan is turning up, but this would be a great way to bring in the masses. An awesome idea, but unfortunately not very likely.
No matter how amazing Tom Hardy would be as Logan, re-casting the role is a bad idea. People will constantly compare whoever ends up playing the part with Hugh Jackman and Jackman will always inevitably end up on top. Just look at Batfleck – he suffered so much fan backlash because people were still in love with Bale's Batman and just didn't want to give him a chance.
For the record, Bale's Batman is phenomenal and I'm 100% certain that Affleck will be incredible. If they absolutely, 100% have to re-cast the role, wait a decade and then do it - don't make Wolverine a laughing stock and turn it into the next James Bond.
Maybe Fox's X-Men Universe can move forward without Wolverine. There would have to be an extremely definitive end to the character at the end of Wolverine 3, otherwise every single fan will constantly be waiting for Wolvie to pop up in the next movie. This achieves nothing but detracting from people's enjoyment of the movies. Rather than moving on without Wolverine, maybe we could move on without Logan...
A New Wolverine
Following Marvel Comics's epic Secret Wars event during the last quarter of 2015, they relaunched with a collection of All-New, All-Different books and characters. One of those was All-New, All Different Wolverine. Formally known as X-23, Laura Kinney was cloned from a damaged copy of Wolverine's genome. I won't go into the details of her origin or subsequent adventures, but she's now taken up the mantle of Wolverine and fights alongside the X-Men.
Moving forward without Logan is not only the best option - it's an absolutely fantastic idea. It's easy enough to kill off Logan in Wolverine 3, and have Laura show up in the post-credits tag. No mention of who/what she is would be necessary, just show her connected to the Government somehow, possibly with one of those badass double-claws popping out to end the scene. It would be a fantastic set-up for a new solo movie, or another X-centric flick, either would work.
This is the path I think they should take; it saves the awkward embarrassment of re-casting the role and pretending nothing changed, and it means the Wolverine mythos can move forward in the X-Men movie universe.