This weekend, Wolverine fans the world over are heading to theaters to bid farewell to Hugh Jackman's Wolverine. Logan arrived with a heap of critical acclaim, and it's pretty clear a massive box office haul will flow, so Jackman's last ride after nearly 20 years with the character will see him go out on top.
But it didn't always look like it would be that way.
Flash back to the spring of 2009 and the impending release of the first Logan solo film, X-Men Origins: Woverine. That film didn't get much love from critics or fans, and its overall response ultimately led the X-Men prequel films in the direction of what would become X-Men: First Class (2011). To make matters worse, a workprint of the film was leaked more than a month before its U.S. release, prompting plenty of online derision even before the film was in theaters. It was a rough time for the X-Men films, and it was then that Jackman first considered retiring from the role.
In a new interview with EW, Jackman discussed how, though the response to the film was disheartening, he also simply felt at the time that there was nowhere else to go with the character.
"I couldn't see what the next thing was," he said. "I don't know what else to do. I don't know where to go."
So, what changed Jackman's mind? Darren Aronofsky, who once upon a time was going to direct a film about Wolverine's time in Japan before departing for other projects.What began with Aronofsky later transferred to James Mangold and evolved into The Wolverine. Aronofsky's ideas about the character remained in Jackman's mind, though, and found their way into both that film and Logan.
"Darren said, 'I get that he heals, but if you're a human, your scars are with you for your entire life,'" Jackman recalled. "'The scab might go within a month or two weeks, but that's there for life. Even if he has accelerated healing, that scars with him for a good 10 or 15 years, so he could be completely disfigured.' All of the sudden, I had this image. It can be as simple of an idea as that, that all of a sudden makes me go, 'Oh, there's a whole other way to do this character. There's a whole other way to get into it.'"
So, Jackman kept the claws, and we got some more good years of Wolverine. Now we just have to see if any director can ever convince him to come back some day (oh, you know someone's thinking about it).