Next year we will see Hugh Jackman play one of the greatest comic book characters ever for the last time before hanging up the adamantium claws for good.
The 47-year-old Australian actor has played the Wolverine for 16 years, first bringing the character to the big screen in 2000 with X-Men. Many fans would agree that Wolverine is one of the most legendary and well-know comic book icons in history. In IGN's Top 100 Comic Book Heroes list Wolverine earned the number four spot only behind Spider-man, Batman and Superman. Wolverine was ranked above other comic icons like Wonder Woman, Captain America and Hulk.
Jackman's portrayal of Wolverine is slightly different than comic book versions, but he still managed to bring out the characters best qualities in his big screen run. Appearing in eight X-Men/Wolverine films (including cameos in X-Men: First Class and X-Men: Apocalypse) in the span of 16 years, Jackman has a longer acting role as a superhero than anyone else. Think about this, in the 16 years that Jackman has played Wolverine, there has been two different actors for Batman, two different actors for Superman, two different actors for Hulk, and three different actors for Spider-man.
The third Wolverine film, which is rumoured to be titled Weapon X (although something like Wolverine 3: Weapon X would be more appropriate), will mark the end of an era in comic book films. When X-Men was released in 2000 it became the highest grossing film based on Marvel characters. The films success sparked a superhero franchise which is currently 9 films deep and going strong. The success of the first X-Men film may have also been the factor that led to the creation of other Marvel films in the early 2000s such as Sam Raimi's Spider-man trilogy, Daredevil, Hulk, The Punisher, Elektra and Fantastic Four.
X-Men laid down the foundations for future Marvel movies. If it wasn't for the success of the original X-Men trilogy there is a good chance we wouldn't have seen the X-Men prequels (First Class, Days of Future Past, Apocalypse) or Deadpool. If the early X-Men films went differently, we might not even have the Marvel Cinematic Universe that we have today.
Although some comic book purists would argue that Wolverine is not a core member of the X-Men, Jackman's Wolverine is still the biggest draw the X-Men films have and once he is gone 20th Century Fox could suffer a box office blow (unless Deadpool is able to carry the torch). Jackman's departure from Fox's X-Men universe will mark the end of the 2000 comic book movie era. The era that led Marvel to its glory that shines upon the company today.
Wolverine 3/Weapon X is rumoured to include X-23, a female clone of Wolverine. There is no word yet on who will play X-23 A.K.A Laura Kinney, but we hope that whoever is cast is able to carry the adamantium mantle with the awesomeness that Hugh Jackman's Wolverine did.
The third Wolverine is currently scheduled to be released on March 2, 2017. The film will likely receive a bittersweet reception. It will be sad knowing that Hugh Jackman will not be playing Wolverine again but we will love seeing the skull crushing bone shredding action from the character one last time bub.