May 29, 2023
Inside Hugh Jackman's decision to return as Wolverine: 'It's been brewing for a long time'

Inside Hugh Jackman’s decision to return as Wolverine: ‘It’s been brewing for a long time’

Hugh Jackman and Ryan Reynolds shocked comic book fans in late September when they jointly announced that Jackman’s Wolverine would return to the big screen in “Deadpool 3.” Jackman hung up his claws in 2017 with “Logan,” which billed as his Wolverine swan song and ended with the character’s death. How Wolverine Returns For ‘Deadpool 3’ Remains To Be Known, But Jackman & Reynolds Said Variety the plan had been brewing for some time.

According to Reynolds, he first met Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige three and a half years ago after Disney acquired Fox. The first two “Deadpool” movies were released by Fox and each grossed around $780 million worldwide. Now that Disney owned Fox, the door was open for Deadpool to enter Feige’s Marvel Cinematic Universe.

“I asked Kevin to talk about what the future holds for Deadpool in this transaction,” Reynolds said of his first encounter with Marvel after the Disney-Fox merger. “The topic came up at the meeting about whether we could find a way to do a Deadpool-Wolverine pairing. It was not possible then. For this to happen now is damn exciting.

“Deadpool 3” will mark the 10th time Jackman will play Wolverine. The two actors first met during the making of “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” in 2009, where Reynolds played a different iteration of Wade Wilson/Deadpool. Jackman, who is currently on Broadway with “The Music Man,” is already starting to build muscle to get back into Wolverine form.

“A little part of me now thinks I’d be better at it,” Jackman said of returning to his most iconic role. “Is it the arrogance of age or something like that?” Wolverine is a tortured character, more tortured than me. But I still feel like he’s good about himself. And I feel more comfortable in my skin now, even if it’s messier.

Jackman thought so when he repeatedly stated during the “Logan” press tour that he was retiring from playing Wolverine. So what made him change his mind? A screening of “Deadpool” in 2016, it turns out. Jackman first saw “Deadpool” before filming “Logan,” but had already recorded calling “Logan” his final film Wolverine by then.

“I went to a screening of ‘Deadpool.’ I was at 20 minutes and I was like, ‘Oh, damn it!’” Jackman said. “All I kept seeing in my head was ’48 hours.’ with Nick Nolte and Eddie Murphy. So it had been brewing for a long time. It just took me longer to get here.

While Reynolds had been eager to bring Wolverine into the fold for over three years (Jackman said Reynolds had begged him “on a daily basis” to make a Wolverine-Deadpool movie), it wasn’t until August that Jackman finally agreed to play Wolverine again.

“I think, actually, he had given up,” Jackman said. “I think it was a big shock for him. There was a massive pause and then he said, ‘I can’t believe the time has come for this.’

Jackman called Reynolds to break the news while on a late summer beach trip with his family. It turns out Reynolds has already set up a meeting with Marvel and Feige about “Deadpool 3.” With Jackman now on board, Reynolds and director Shawn Levy broke the news to Feige.

“Oh my God, I’m thrilled,” Reynolds said of Jackman’s return. “It’s like the old week at home. Being on set with one of my closest friends every day is a dream come true. But to do it with these two iconic characters side by side is beyond our wildest dreams.

Reynolds added of Jackman: “I have always been blown away by the full range of his talent. He arrived on this scene and entered the zeitgeist as a hyper-masculine superhero character, but he also does musicals and he portrays these intense vulnerable characters in all kinds of films in all kinds of budgets for all types of audiences.

It’s unclear what the new film will be about. It won’t even necessarily be called “Deadpool 3”. Jackman added, “Well, not in my heart. I’m pretty sure Wolverine wouldn’t like that title.

“Deadpool 3” is set to open in theaters on November 8, 2024.

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