He's the best there is at what he does — and what he does is headline "X-Men" movies.
Wolverine actor Hugh Jackman is rejoining the larger "X-Men" universe with a role in director Bryan Singer's "First Class" sequel, titled "Days of Future Past." Jackman has already appeared as the iconic comic book hero in all five released X-films, with a sixth appearance slated for next summer's "The Wolverine." "Days of Future Past" marks lucky number seven for Jackman, though it's unclear just how large a role he'll play in the film.
"Who wouldn't be excited by having Wolverine in an X-Men movie, since he's such a big part of the team — but I also wonder how big a part he might actually play," says Edward Douglas of SuperheroHype.com. "Clearly, Fox wants to shift the focus as well as make these movies cheaper (especially since 'First Class' didn't do as well as previous 'X-Men' movies), so I don't think Wolverine will be the primary focus."
Another reason why Jackman might not have as much screen time as his Wolverine is typically accustomed to is the sheer amount of high-quality actors on board for "Days of Future Past." James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence have all been announced for the "First Class" sequel. On top of that, Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen are on board to reprise their roles of Charles Xavier and Magneto from the original "X-Men" trilogy.
"I think it's entirely possible for [Wolverine] to distract from the overall story, if they make this a Wolverine and the X-Men film like the previous trilogy was," says Brett White, a ComicBookResources.com columnist with a long history as an "X-Men" reader. "But if the film follows the original 'Days of Future Past' comic book's structure, with a team of future X-Men — Stewart, McKellen and Jackman — working in concert with the 'First Class' team, then I think that'll work and keep the 'First Class' characters in the forefront, where they belong."
Some have seen Jackman, Stewart and McKellen's return to the "X-Men" franchise as a sign that Fox is looking towards Marvel Studios' model of using individual films to build towards a greater event, like "The Avengers." Says White: "I think that after the success of 'Avengers' and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, every film company is going to try to pull that off. The X-verse is totally going in that way, and I'm fine with that. It makes sense."
Others, like Douglas, don't see it that way. "Wolverine was already spun-off from the original 'X-Men' trilogy. This isn't Fox creating a bigger universe; it's them tapping into the money they made with that trilogy to try to make more money," he says. "If they introduced other characters in 'Days of Future Past' like some of the New Mutants and maybe tried to spin them off, that's one thing. Or if Wolverine makes a cameo in a 'Fantastic Four' movie, that's another — but that's probably not going to happen. The X-Men are going to stick to themselves so it doesn't get too messy."
Regardless of what "Days of Future Past" is building up to, this much is certain: the recent string of casting announcements — Jackman's involvement in particular — makes this "X-Men" sequel a project to watch very, very closely.
"Even as a huge X-Men fan and a very tiny Wolverine fan, I'm excited about this," says White. "Jackman's portrayal of Wolverine is just so charismatic and perfect, I'll take as much of it as I can get."
Check out everything we've got on "X-Men: Days of Future Past."