As the X-Men franchise nears its move into Disney territory and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Powers That Be will most likely be looking for a new actor to portray Wolverine. Hugh Jackman, who portrayed the iconic character most recently in James Mangold‘s excellent Logan in 2017, previously suggested “it’s time” to hand off Logan duties to someone else. Now, X-Men producer Lauren Shuler Donner has seemingly confirmed the search ahead of the release of the final 20th Century Fox-backed X-Men entries New Mutants and Dark Phoenix.
“I don’t know what [Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige is] thinking honestly,” Donner said following a recent Television Critics Association panel, according to Slashfilm. “I don’t even think Kevin knows. I think Kevin’s still dealing with this wealth of characters and trying to make sense of them.”
Continuing on the topic of a new Wolverine later during the panel, Donner pointed out the logistics that make a new actor a high priority while not ruling out the chance of Jackman popping back up to play an older version of the character.
“Once you reach a certain age, the body just won’t go anymore,” she said while praising the actor’s physical dedication to the role all these years. “I think he was wise to say, ‘I’m at that point. I can’t do it.’ Now, that doesn’t mean he can’t come back as older Wolverine. You never know. Future Wolverine, you never know.”
Dark Phoenix is set for release on June 7. New Mutants, meanwhile, is said to still be eyeing a theatrical drop but may go straight to Hulu instead. While Keanu Reeves said back in December that Wolverine is quite literally the only superhero he would have any interest in playing, and Kevin Smith just last month proposed Tom Cruise as a possible choice for the role, clearly nothing is even near being finalized. Additionally, all three of those actors—Reeves, Cruise, and Jackman—likely wouldn’t fit the part for what Donner was describing. In the meantime, some fans have speculated that Jackman will make another claws-assisted appearance in this year’s Avengers: Endgame.