Seven films. That’s how many times Hugh Jackman became Wolverine / Logan on the big screen. Jackman, 46, is retiring from life as a superhero and overall badass in the X-Men and standalone Wolverine films.
He picked an interesting spot to make the announcement. The Dr. Oz Show. Yeah, your reaction of ‘wait, what?’ mirrors mine. He chose the TV’s doctor / diet pill salesman to make the announcement he teased previously on Instagram.
Jackman told Dr. Oz:
“This will be my last one.”
He added: “It just felt like it was the right time to do it. And let’s be honest, 17 years. I never thought in a million years it would last, so I’m so grateful to the fans for the opportunity of playing it.”
“I kind of have in my head what we’re going to do in this last one. It just feels like this is the perfect way to go out.”
So, he’s done, outside of whether he will be in X-Men: Apocalypse. Its final cast is still murky.
Seven X-Men and Wolverine Films
1 – X-Men: First Class. This was a pure cameo, but it was the most memorable scene. Wolverine in a bar as James McAvoy (Xavier) and Michael Fassbender (before he was Magneto) to recruit him to their team. It’s fantastic:
2 – X-Men: Days of Future Past. The sequel to First Class, Wolverine is sent back in time to help defeat the rise of the Sentinels. Sure, it may not have the memorable scene of its predecessor, but having the ensemble cast of McAvoy, Lawrence and Fassbender helps.
Hugh Jackman’s character returns to the early 70s where he has to rally a despondent Xavier and break Magneto out of prison for allegedly assassinating JFK. Wolverine also enlists the help of Quicksilver to aid in the prison break. Yep, two Quicksilvers now. The Internet is still debating the better of the two.
3 – The Wolverine. The second Wolverine standalone film, and by far, the better of the two. It follows the events of X-Men: Last Stand as Logan travels to Japan. The Wolverine was based on the 1982 Frank Miller series ‘Wolverine.’
His actions saving a Japanese soldier during the Nagasaki attack come back to haunt him, as he is stripped of immortality temporarily as he struggles with the guilt of Jean Grey’s death.
If you are going to pick one standalone Wolverine film, this is the one you want.
4 – X2: X-Men United. Out of the three original X-Men films, this is the best one. I’m partial to the first because it was my first look at my favorite X-Men character. The plot has the X-Men after William Stryker, who is using his son, Jason, to create a second Cerebro to kill all the mutants.
X2 introduces us to Lady Deathstrike / Yuriko as an antagonist to Logan. Does it stick with the comic origins? No, but it does give us one hell of a fight sequence between the two.
The film also shows Jean Grey picking Cyclops over Logan, which sets up the dynamic for the third film.
5 – X-Men. It’s the first and introduced us to the Marvel’s Wolverine. I loved the cartoons as a kid, so this was incredible to see on the big screen. An interesting fact? Hugh Jackman replaced Dougray Scott, who was initially cast as Wolverine.
It may not be Jackman’s best film as Wolverine, but without it, there is no X-Men franchise. X-Men still qualifies as a must-see as an introduction to the Wolverine and the rest of the team.
6 – X-Men: The Last Stand. Today, it feels like an Avengers movie if Marvel Studios decided to say: ‘what the hell, let’s wing it.’ Jammed with characters. Mutant cure. Jean Grey rises as Phoenix. Xavier dying. And then not dying, because 20th Century Fox needs a franchise in its back pocket.
Wolverine’s role? Trying to save Jean Grey as her powers consume her. Using his healing ability, he approaches Phoenix/Grey, who momentarily regains control and begs Logan to save her. He stabs her, leading to the events of The Wolverine.
7 – X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Sigh. Imagine what could have been. Even Hugh Jackman said he was unhappy with how this film turned out. The CGI? Terrible. Story? Ehh…
Its redeeming qualities? You get to understand the origins of Wolverine. Also, how he obtained the adamantium claws.
The issue is that it was all redundant. We already knew that Wolverine can’t be killed. It gave audiences a horrible version of Gambit. One of the best characters and the first look audiences have of him is garbage.
And, it makes you want to see the other characters in their own films. Yeah, looking at you Deadpool. Luckily, we are nearing a 2016 release for the standalone starring Ryan Reynolds.
With Hugh Jackman turning in his claws, where does the X-Men franchise go from here? He’s not confirmed for Apocalypse, but it wouldn’t be shocking to see him there.
But what about after? Do they recast the role? Remember, for 17 years audiences have seen Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. Phase him out? There’s plenty of characters on the X-Men roster to play with.
It was a hell of a run from Jackman, riding the waves of comic book movie popularity. Now, he’s choosing to go out at the pinnacle of the genre. Hard to fault him for that.