When Hugh Jackman hung up his claws as the X-Men’s Wolverine, it was only a matter of time before people started dream-casting future actors to take up the role – and with comic-book writer Mark Millar throwing Rocketman star Taron Egerton’s name out as a potential future candidate, it seems the race is on.
There’s just one problem. I like Taron Egerton a lot, and I’m sure he’d make a decent (deadly, adamantium) fist of it as Wolverine – but no. Just no. There’s only one Wolverine, and he’s a tall, Australian former journalist playing a short, Canadian kebabist.
Recast Superman? Sure. Get a new Batman? I’ll polish his cowl myself. Spider-Man reloaded? We’ll add him to the list.
But since 2000, and through multiple recasting of all those iconic heroes, Wolverine has only been Hugh Jackman. Through his performances, interactions with fans and physical commitment to the role Jackman has defined Wolverine as much as Wolverine defined him at an early stage in his career, forging a link between actor and character that’s almost unprecedented.
Sure, some roles can be recast over and over again – your James Bonds and so on – but it’s a much bigger assumption to think that every single role is like that. Just look at Alden Ehrenreich’s young Han Solo in Solo: A Star Wars Story, a reinterpretation that struggled to get off the ground at least partially because to many, Harrison Ford IS Han Solo.
Hugh Jackman as Wolverine/Logan in Logan (20th Century Fox, HF)
Like Ford did with Solo and Indiana Jones, Jackman originated a hugely popular, familiar pop culture figure with Wolverine – and given how beloved his portrayal was, it’s hard to imagine someone wanting to step into Jackman’s dance-ready size 11s anyway.
Over nine movies (if you ignore the archive cameo in Deadpool 2) Jackman took Wolverine everywhere he could go and then, in 2017’s Oscar-nominated Logan, took him to a perfect conclusion. Few superheroes get a perfect end, fewer still when it comes to movies, but Wolverine did. Can’t we now let sleeping Logans lie?
I know it’s inevitable that there will probably be another Wolverine at some point. He’s too big, too popular and too lucrative a character to just let be and, in beautifully ironic fashion, it seems certain that he’ll be painfully revived at some point in the future.
But when it does happen, the new Wolverine can only pale by comparison to the Huge Jacked-Man we all fell in love with in the original X-Men movies. Frankly, bub, it’d be utterly clawful.