Way back in the year 2000, X-Men hit theater screens, spearheading (alongside Blade) the modern explosion of the superhero films that we see today. Directed by Bryan Singer, the film had a star-studded cast, but most noteworthy was its introduction of Hugh Jackman (The Prestige, Les Misérables) to the larger world. Jackman had already had a promising career on stage, but playing The Wolverine turned him into a bonafide movie star.
Jackman consistently professes his love for the character, who he has now played in eight different X-films, but next year’s third Wolverine solo film will be his last hurrah in the role. Considering the extreme physical demands of playing Wolverine, the now 47-year-old Jackman has said on more than a few occasions over the past 16 years that he may be ready to hang up the claws, but there’s a finality to his current sentiments that he’s commemorated with a wonderful gift.
On Instagram, Bryan Singer recently shared a very special “thank you” he received from Hugh Jackman – a commissioned comic book cover from the legendary comic artist, Joe Quesada. The cover depicts Jackman’s Wolverine behind Bryan Singer in the guise of Professor X. The ink draft is signed by Jackman, with the message:
“It all started with you BUB! 1999-2016! From the bottom of my heart, thank you. Love, Hugh Jackman”
Thank you so much @thehughjackman for commissioning the brilliant comic artist #joequesada to make these fantastic and very personal covers for me. I will cherish them and our long friendship and collaboration always! #xmen #wolverine #professorx #comics
Placing Singer in Xavier’s chair actually works very well symbolically. In the films, Wolverine had powers and skills before he was recruited by Professor X, but being asked to join the X-Men family is what made him a hero and gave his life focus. Singer similarly took a risk on Jackman, a relatively unknown entity in Hollywood, by placing him in the most prominent role in a burgeoning mega-franchise. The gamble paid off, both in the fictional world and in the real one. Wolverine may be the best there is at what he does, but Jackman gave an empathic face to a tough-guy role that could have easily become very alienating for casual audiences. He may not be solely responsible for the widespread acceptance of the previously nerd-only superhero genre, but he certainly helped.
Wolverine 3 opens in U.S. theaters on March 3, 2017, followed by unannounced X-Men films on October 6, 2017, March 2, 2018, and June 29, 2018. Deadpool 2, Gambit, New Mutants and X-Force are currently in development.