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

Now, some things in life simply aren't meant to last. Rainbows, for instance, would be a real pain in the ass if they hung around all year, turning the sky into a kaleidoscope of distractions. Whether we're talking animal, vegetable or mineral, pretty much everything has a built-in end-date – whether its a few days, or a few billion years – and much of the beauty in life can arguably be found in that inherently finite nature.

Which should probably make us all feel better about Hugh Jackman's announcement last year that he wouldn't be playing Wolverine again on screen after the forthcoming Wolverine 3 – though of course it really doesn't.

It's Incredibly Difficult To Imagine Anyone Other Than Hugh Jackman Playing Wolverine

After all, in the sixteen (sixteen!) years since 2000's X-Men hit our screens, Jackman has pretty much defined the character for an entire generation of movie-goers. Not only is his performance widely regarded to be note-perfect, but Jackman is only now arriving at the perfect age to play the hero, who has always appeared distinctly middle-aged in the comic books.

He is, in other words, and for better or for worse, our Wolverine.

Would We Ever Be Able to Accept Someone Else As Wolverine, Then?

Well, perhaps - but perhaps not. It's possible that we'd quickly adjust to someone like Scott Eastwood or Tom Hardy playing the iconic hero - turning him into a sort of superheroing James Bond - but it's also entirely possible that the whole thing would feel... wrong, somehow.

Here, then, are three of the biggest reasons it might actually be impossible to recast Wolverine...

1. Hugh Jackman Has Played The Role For Too Long

Those sixteen years (seventeen by the time Wolverine 3 arrives) might just be a particularly big factor.

Robert Downey Jr., after all, is pretty darned iconic as Iron Man - but he's only eight years in to the role. Chris's Evans and Hemsworth have only been in their leading Marvel roles for five, with Scarlet Johansson only having six years as Black Widow. In other words, we all remember a world without them.

Hugh Jackman's Wolverine, on the other hand, is simply an established part of life for anyone under the age of 21, and an accepted mainstay for anyone older. Who knows if we could accept another actor stepping into his shoes?


2. It's Unclear How Much Of Wolverine's Box Office Success Comes From Jackman

Now, it's entirely possible that, if replaced by a major star like Tom Hardy, or even a charismatic 'unknown' like Eastwood, the Wolverine franchise would make just as much (if not more) money than it does now - and if Jackman does indeed hang up his claws, and with the hero having historically been a solid money-spinner, there's a pretty good chance that Fox will want to find out if that's true.

It's also possible, however, that a successful Deadpool franchise (along with a possibly hugely profitable Gambit series to follow) may well give Fox the freedom to put Wolverine aside for a decade or so. That would a) give Jackman the chance to change his mind, and b) leave space for an obvious acting successor to arise. Even more importantly, it'd give us as audience members time to let our fondness for Jackman fade, and increase the chances of us accepting a replacement.

It's arguably the less risky approach, and we all know how movie studios feel about risk...

Finally, though?

3. It Would Probably Require A Full Casting Reboot... And Fox Just Introduced A Bunch Of New Cast Members

Y'see, one of the surprising side-effects of the X-Men franchise's constant reboots and recastings is that the timelines we've seen so far are already so convoluted that further recasting and rebooting isn't likely to be a problem. The current cast turns out to be too expensive in five years time? Not a problem - someone can always go back to the past and change something, and suddenly Beast can look like whoever the hell you want him to.

Hugh Jackman, though, is the exception to that rule. Where James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender are destined to become Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen, we've already seen Wolverine go back to the past to change something... and he looked exactly the damn same.

In other words? Wolverine is the one constant in an ever-changing X-Universe, and changing him might just necessitate a 'full' reboot, with all of the past canon wiped away. Which, seeing as Fox is only just introducing a new team of young X-Men now, seems distinctly unlikely.

The big question now, then?


If the folks at Fox don't replace Jackman as Wolverine, what should they do instead?


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