Now that Hugh Jackman has hung up the adamantium claws of Wolverine after his guts and glory display in the terrific Logan, we take a look at who could be next to play our favourite regenerative mutant. After all he can’t stay on the shelf forever.
Hugh Jackman has played Wolverine over the course of 17 years and across 9 X-Men films. It started with X-Men, and he was one of the best things about the last film X-Men: Apocalypse. Will anybody ever successfully fill the void he now leaves after departing the character? Probably not, so fresh off of Logan it seems a monumental task. However that doesn’t mean we can’t play casting director once again as a few of us Snooty Ushers look for the next potential person to play such a pivotal character in the X-Men universe.
Dan – By the time X-Men was released in 2000 Jackman was 32, fellow Aussie actor Jai Courtney will turn 32 next year. I don’t raise this as coincidence, just presenting the fact that the stars seem aligned for the actor to take on the role in a similar manner to Jackman. A major hangup for this is he just played Captain Boomerang over at Warner Bros in Suicide Squad, not to mention probable sequels or an appearance in the forever gestating Flash film. There is no doubt Courtney has the action chops to take on the role having appeared in the franchises of Die Hard, Divergent, and Terminator. But even when he isn’t dealing out damage he has proven himself to be a rather sturdy actor with a heck of a lot of experience under his young belt. Just check out Unbroken, The Water Diviner, or Jack Reacher.
Dan – Boy did Hardy dodge the proverbial bullet when he had to drop out of Suicide Squad. Not only does it mean he doesn’t have that travesty of a film tarnishing his resume, but it also doesn’t leave him saddled to any superhero franchise…yet. At one point Hardy teased he would love to play Frank Castle if The Punisher were ever to get a redo, but that role went to Jon Bernthal in the Daredevil show on Netflix. Not all is lost though, if playing a bottle of rage ready to explode at any point is of interest to him then surely Wolverine would be of interest. Hardy can chew scenery like few others, and with his physique can embody the raging tornado that Wolverine is prone to becoming. As fitting a choice he seems to be, I don’t see him slotting into the fantastical world of X-Men currently on offer after X-Men: Apocalypse, but if they were solo films that is a different story entirely.
Welshy – An unusual choice I know, but physically he is close to Wolverines height (Wolverine’s height being 5ft 3). With a bit of training he could easily get the body type and his face also has unconventional attractiveness. I haven’t seen Caan in a role like this, usually playing lighter roles. Most famously in Hawaii Five-0 and Oceans Eleven. Both of these he is brilliant in. He has done some drama in films like Boiler Room and Lonely Hearts, but this could really be a vehicle to take him to the next level. His writing and directing credits also provide him an interesting perspective on the character. It would be a different choice but I think different could be what we need.
Welshy – I am aware of the age, he is a young choice. Maybe in a few years….Regardless, he has the tools for this job. He is a fantastic young actor and a rising star. A master at tackling serious roles and difficult themes. He has a solid resume to look at, Skins being one and Starred Up as second, though there are many more. If you want to see mental ferocity just watch him in Martina Cole’s The Runaway. Imagine him with the claws and the bezerker rage, I think it could work. Also if he took on the role at a younger age you could get him on the ground up mainly he is not currently tied up with any franchises and he could take on the role for another 17 years.
James – Ideally, 20th Century Fox retire the character for at least a decade and if he does return, we get a totally fresh take on the character. However, I understand that they might get a bit twitchy and decide that the X-Men series needs a Wolverine. And if so, recasting the role could be done with an actor of similar age to Hugh Jackman, and have an older Wolverine appear alongside the younger cast members. Now, if we all make a pact and agree that X-Men Origins: Wolverine didn’t happen, then Liev Schreiber could step into the role. His performance in Ray Donovan has made me certain that he could bring the quiet, brooding menace to the role before the explosive rage. However we’ve seen the a lot of the raging Wolverine during Jackman’s time in the role, so maybe a slightly more restrained, human Logan in the hands of an older actor could be a way to freshen up part of the franchise.
Other options for this type of recasting would be Ray Stevenson (although again there are issues with his previous comic book characters) or Karl Urban (if he never gets that Dredd sequel).
James – The dark and brooding Poldark leading man could be the next James Bond, and his Hobbit roles show that he has got a rising profile that means that the studio would be willing to give him a chance. There’s also Mitchell in Being Human, which ticks off almost every part of what you would want in a big screen Wolverine. Despite being a young actor, he even showed the regret for his past actions (to quote Shane: “there’s no living with a killing”) that the Wolverine character has shown, especially in Logan. If he doesn’t get the call to join Her Majesty’s Secret Service, he could take on the Wolverine role.
From the same TV show I would also suggest Michael Socha, a few years younger, and a rougher, less smooth character, since I’m legally bound to recommend young British actors!