Few characters in the history of film have been so thoroughly embodied by a single actor. Superman has been played by four men and Batman has been played by nine (and soon to be ten) actors. Outside of comics, James Bond has been played by six (and soon to be seven) individuals and Sherlock Holmes has been played by nine different people. But from 2000 to 2017, only one man has portrayed the Marvel Comics character of James Howlett, the enigmatic mutant known as the Wolverine, across seven films and a cameo. Yes, 51-year-old Australian performer Hugh Jackman became synonymous with the adamantium-clawed Canadian, completing his own trilogy within the larger, at times uneven, 20th Century Fox X-Verse.
In March of 2019, the Walt Disney Company purchased, among other assets, the 20th Century Fox film and television studios for the monstrous price tag of $71.3 billion, acquiring with it the rights to the X-Men and related properties that Marvel Comics had sold to Fox during their internal financial crisis in 1993. As Disney had already bought Marvel Studios in December of 2009 for a comparatively reasonable $4 billion, the buy-out effectively brought home a stable of characters that fans have longed to see together under one roof.
Prior to the deal, Jackman brought his journey as the Wolverine to a close in the Academy Award-nominated Logan, and he’s since confirmed that his time playing the character is truly over. But with the rights to the hero changing hands, and the future of the wildly-popular Marvel Cinematic Universe bursting with possibility, it’s looking like Marvel’s parent company Disney will recast the part as they reboot him and the rest of the X-Men into their ever-expanding franchise. Rumors had spread for a time that Kingsman star Taron Egerton might be on the short-list of people to replace Jackman, but the 30-year-old Welsh actor has since called that speculation “unfounded,” saying: There’s other characters that I think I’d be more suited to.”
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Now, sources close to WGTC – the same ones who informed us six months ago that Disney was developing a live-action remake of Bambi and told us back in November that National Treasure 3 was in the works, both of which have since been confirmed – have said that while some folks at the studio still hope to be able to coax Jackman back into the role, if they’re unable to get him, then one name on their list to take the part is an Australian actor of Canadian descent: 25-year-old Dacre Montgomery, who’s played Billy Hargrove in seasons two and three of the Netflix series Stranger Things, as well as the Red Ranger in the underwhelming 2017 Power Rangers reboot.
Six years ago, Kevin Feige told ScreenRant that the broad strokes of the Marvel Cinematic Universe are mapped out through 2028. How the studio might work Wolverine or his fellow mutants into that plan, and who they might ultimately cast to play them, is anyone’s guess, but for now, Montgomery is indeed at least one person that they’re looking at should Jackman stand firm on his decision and given that this intel comes to us from the same sources who also told us Marvel was eyeing Daniel Radcliffe for Moon Knight, which we now know to be true, we’ve no reason to doubt it.