2009 saw a re-invention of the X-Men universe as seen through the popular comic series, X-Men Origins. Following one of the most enigmatic characters created for the Marvel universe, it explained the history of James Howlett, AKA Logan, AKA Wolverine.
Since his introduction to the public back in 1974 in the last panel of The Incredible Hulk #180, he has captured the imagination of fans around the world through his darker and conflicting life as a Super Hero. His first actual appearance was The Incredible Hulk #181 when he was dubbed: “The world’s first, and greatest, Canadian Super Hero.” More of an antihero, Wolverine had undergone many changes through his first years, until eventually Frank Miller, with the help of a couple other artists and writers, nailed him down with the Wolverine we now know.
X-Men origins: Wolverine ended up being the highest grossing film of the franchise, making a stunning $373 million worldwide. The closest contender was X-Men First Class with $352 million. It became a no-brainer that the studio would eventually create a Wolverine series of its own, such as Marvel did back in 1982 when they decided to give him his own Comic Book. As of September 9, 2011 the production of The Wolverine had been announced, however it was said to be facing a possible unnamed delay. I was able to find a couple things of interest for the new film.
The film will be based on the 1982 Frank Miller and Chris Claremont story arc in Wolverine 1-4 and Uncanny X-Men 172-173 where Logan heads alone to Japan. Penning the script is Christopher McQuarrie (Way of The Gun, The Tourist) and Mark Bomback (Die Hard 4.0, Deception). Helming the feature will be James Mangold (Cop Land, Walk The Line, Knight and Day). The story will be about Logan’s trip to Japan to study the way of the samurai, where he falls in love with Mariko Yashida (possibly even Itsu, who mothered Logan’s son Akihiro), the heiress to a powerful yakuza crime family.
Originally listed with a 2012 release date, it has since been pushed back to 2013. The 2012 release date had people around the world worried that there may be a rush to finish the film, as there was with X-Men First Class. However, the September delay may have been simply to give the actor Hugh Jackman space to find time to film; Jackman has been busy with Rise of the Guardians, Les Miserables and Movie 43. May 2011 also saw Jackman on Broadway in his own one-man show entitled Hugh Jackman: Back on Broadway.
According to unnamed sources in Hollywood, Singer/Actress Naturi Naughton(Fame) is the first additionally signed person to the cast, reported to be playing the character Cecilia Reyes, a reluctant member of the X-Men. Being able to create force fields, Reyes never wanted to be anything other than normal. However after an encounter with the villain Pyro, and through the guidance of Daredevil, she eventually succumbs, and joins the team. How her story will interact with the original Miller/Claremont story arc is as of yet uncertain, and should only be considered what it is: a casting rumor.
Hugh Jackman himself says he is a huge fan of the Miller/Claremont story:
“There are so many areas of that Japanese story. I love the idea of this kind of anarchic character, the outsider, being in this world full of honor and tradition and customs; someone who’s really anti-all of that, and trying to negotiate his own way. The idea of the samurai too, and the tradition there – it’s really great. In the comic book he gets his ass kicked by a couple of samurai – not even mutants.”
According to other sources, Jackman has been ordered to “bulk up” for his return to the enigmatic character that transformed him into a worldwide success. Thoughts are that with so many fans complaining that Jackman just didn’t have the physique to fill into Wolverines large powerhouse body, they had spoken out to demand that he “fill out” the role better. Now it seems that James Mangold agrees.
There are a few other rumors surfing their way round the net, though nothing as of yet has been confirmed. Gambit and Dead Pool will have parts in the new film. What their roles will be is still yet unclear. The main villain of the film is said to be Silver Samurai. William Stryker is also reported to be creating X-23 to hunt down and replace Wolverine. There is also an unfounded rumor that there will be a baby in the film, which could be referring to the birth of Logan’s son, Akihiro, AKA Daken. This would more closely follow the later story of Logan falling in love with Itsu, which is not the basis of the Miller/Claremont story. Sabretooth is also trying to make an appearance in the film with pressure from Liev Schreiber on the production team.
Keep checking Nerdlocker as I will continue to run the rumors through the adamantium sieve, and let you know what comes out.