Why Wolverine Shouldn’t Be Recast
At least not yet…
With Disney buying FOX and the theatrical rights to the X-Men finally once again falling under Marvel at the House Of Mouse the rumour of a new X-Men film and specifically a recasting of the Wolverine character is stronger than ever. It goes without saying that Hugh Jackman has immortalised his version of the character and I’d say it can be safely stated that his portrayal of the mutant was always a highlight of FOX’s X-Men franchise. Speculation of who might take up the mantle from Jackman have circulated since the Release of Logan in 2017 with stars such as Tom Hardy, Keanu Reeves and Scott Eastwood all being involved. However, I think the idea of a recast might be a bad idea…
Seeing as the X-Men cinematic universe has already gone through a kind of soft universal reboot with the introduction of X-Men: First Class and again With X-Men: Days Of Future Past with Hugh Jackman being the mainstay of the overall franchise recasting the character of Wolverine now after this reboot would only make the franchise timeline more confusing for general audiences. For more minor characters this wouldn’t be a problem, for example, Toad appeared in both X-Men and X-men: Days of Future Past but even actor changes like this can be partially explained by the fact that they’re arguably different timelines… But they still kept Jackman for it. This is due to the character of Wolverine having a long life and ageing very slowly hence why in X-Men Origins: Wolverine the opening sequence shows the character fighting in multiple wars including the American Civil War and WW2.
Now I understand the love for the character, film-wise and his comic popularity can’t be denied but he’s either been the main protagonist or at the very least has had cameos in almost every X-Men movie that has so far been produced despite some lacklustre solo films. Either way that’s a lot of Wolverine to have since the release of the first film in the franchise in 2000.
The character has arguably been oversaturated in today's media, so why straight-up recast when you can do something else and get a similar result to having him?
Instead, my suggestion would be to use Wolverine-like characters.
When they killed Wolverine in the comics a few years ago his female clone X-23 a.k.a Laura Kinney has risen to prominence and has even taken over the Wolverine comic book, you can have the same basic character while at the same time have a strong character for female audiences, something that I believe is still kind of lacking in the superhero genre. She’s also a lot more well known in recent years thanks to Logan (2017) This would also be my personal choice.
His Son – If you’re a bit more open for something different than I’d suggest using Dakin a.k.a Akihiro. Dakin is typically more of a villain than a hero which would be a new interesting route to take, or you could just give him a face turn if the studio were adamant, they didn’t want a villain.
However, if they decided it was the James “Logan” Howlett version of the character they wanted then why not instead use an alternate version of the character instead of the original base version. It would provide good fan service and could also make for an interesting take on the character that we haven’t seen on screen before. For example, imagine having an Old Man Logan version in the films, perhaps he’s been time-displaced or has just travelled back on his own accord. A Wolverine dealing with the fact he killed all the X-Men while being back in time with the present X-Men would be something new for the films.
Regardless I’d say for the meantime it would be best for Marvel to hold off on Wolverine for a little while and when they eventually bring the X-Men into the MCU they should focus on other characters instead, I’d say this argument also extends to Xavier and Magneto. Why not finally give Cyclops the credit he deserves or give Gambit another shot? The X-Men have a vast range of characters to choose from so why do we just keep focusing on the same few?