Amidst all the excitement fans have for the X-Men coming home to be in feature films within the MCU, there has always been one dark cloud above the merger. After all this time, Wolverine will need to be recast. This news has simmered in fans’ brains for sometime now. But recently, X-Men producer Lauren Shuler Donner spoke about the Disney-Fox merger and Hugh Jackman. She said Jackman “worked so hard to bulk up” and that “once you reach a certain age, the body just won’t go anymore.” She said she was unaware of Marvel Studios Head Kevin Feige’s plans, but indicated a recast was likely. She did not discount the possibility of Hugh’s Wolverine appearing as an older or future version. Either way, Marvel will be looking to fill the boots of the character with someone they can have in their universe for several movies. Fancasting this mean no big names, someone who will sign 10+ years of their life away. So no Joaquin Phoenix’s or Tom Hardy’s or anyone over the age of 50.
Starting off is the obvious choice. I say this for many reasons. For one, Armitage voices Wolverine for the official Marvel podcast Wolverine: The Long Night. So he already has an in with Marvel and a perfect resume. Another reason is he and Hugh Jackman could practically be brothers. Just look at that photo. Since finishing The Hobbit trilogy, Armitage hasn’t done much besides get his own premium cable TV show (on Epix) and star as the antagonist in Ocean’s Eight. While being only a few years younger than Jackman, he can equally play a much younger character.
Moving on to a more surprise pick, we have Edgar Ramirez. Television fans might know him as Gianni Versace on American Crime Story or as Kandomere, the villain in Bright. Many fans claim Wolverine’s height as the most important attribute of the character, but I would argue his wide face and pronounced features as just as important. Ramirez has the right look. He is also at the right place in his career to take on this responsibility and jump start his fame.
Switching over to the younger side of things, Taron Egerton is a perennial superhero lead fancast. He often gets criticized in those as being too short or, while being handsome, not having the right face. Being short would not hurt his chances here and slap a beard on him to solve the age issue and making him look less handsome. We already talked about how Wolverine has a wide face, not the sharp, oblong heads of most heroes. Egerton is most widely known as Eggsy in the Kingsman films and Elton John in this summer’s Rocketman. But beyond that, his schedule is very open.
Another young contender, O’Connell turned heads when he was rumored to be in the running for the new Batman. He isn’t the most refined looking young actor, but he is always on the cusp of stardom, something every studio is looking for in a new franchise lead. He has worked with incredible talent in the past, acting opposite George Clooney in Money Monster, or taking direction from Angelina Jolie in Unbroken. O’Connell, in many ways, echoes Tom Hardy’s career, only 13 years younger. He’s starred in a critically acclaimed, violent, gritty prison drama. He’s done period piece war dramas. His rep follows suit as a edgy, unpredictable tough guy with a hint of charm. “No Tom Hardy!” *Edna Mode voice*
If Marvel wanted to throw height consideration out the window, here’s your perfect choice. One of the hardships Hugh Jackman has to endure is that the workouts are extra hard because his natural form is so skinny. With Manganiello, he has maintained a built physique for years. He is also a self-proclaimed nerd. While Deathstroke is a great role for him, with Batman’s uncertain, but younger future, perhaps it’s time for Manganiello to find a new role. His biggest role since Justice League was in Rampage, otherwise he is starring in commercials.
The Avatar actor had a lightning in a bottle stardom moment. Since then, he has been in many great films like Hacksaw Ridge and Everest. Worthington was a finalist to play Captain America back in his hayday of 2010 and Marvel still might have him on their radar. He has the gruff, wide look and deep voice. His biggest obstacle may be the future of the Avatar franchise(?) if the first of many upcoming sequels succeeds. If not, it’s a least good to know he doesn’t mind signing on for several back to back franchise films.
Another popular, everyman fancast choiceis Game of Thrones’ Nikolaj Coster-Waldau. He certainly has the hairy, rugged, yet handsome look we’ve come to expect in a live-action Wolverine. His Thrones experience will lend well to a character just on the edge of being an anti-hero, as Jaime Lannister has gone back and forth on someone who you root for a redemption or condemn. In his off time, he stars in fairly small action/drama films showing, even at the age of 49, he is willing to put in the energy. With Thrones ending shortly, he may want to sign on to a gig with a secure future.
Oh, Karl. You are one of the most underappreciated actors of our time. Dredd showed us you can be a gruff role model to youth with superpowers. Most audiences know him as Bones from the Star Trek films of late, giving him an opportunity to once again show off his range. His career is in constant flux between big blockbuster and short stint on a genre TV show. Urban played Skurge in Thor: Ragnarok perfectly, but it was such a small role, his time in the MCU shouldn’t be wasted here. He would be unrecognizable in typical human clothes, long hair, and a fuller beard than in Thor.
If Marvel really wanted to lean into the more heinous side of Wolverine, Asbæk would be the sensible choice. Playing villains in Game of Thrones and Overlord, he has a way of chewing scenery and talking down to others. Asbæk has had a streak of big projects recently with Ben-Hur, Ghost in the Shell, and Overlord. While critical success varies across the board for these, financially these movies failed to jump-start any lasting job for him. This could signify that he is ready to sign on for something larger.
This whole swelling of dream casts for the new Wolverine was perpetuated by Donner’s quote. She was referring to specifically Hugh Jackman and the role of Logan. But perhaps Marvel Studios wants to give audiences time to move on from that Wolverine. If they are most likely bringing Deadpool over, have him bring along a friend. Maybe Deadpool could sense his universe ending, and in one final move, finds Laura and takes her with him through a wormhole or something. She is the last semblance of his love, the original Wolverine. Laura could fill a similar role to Firefist in Deadpool 2 as Wade’s surrogate child. One or two movies like this and several years will have gone by in real-time, giving Marvel a chance down the line to then cast an adult Wolverine in the mainstream movies.