Say “goodbye” to the Wolverine of this generation. Unlike the comics, where the character was anti-climatically killed off, Australian actor Hugh Jackman is bowing out gracefully from the role that arguably made his career. The Aussie actor decided to end his contract with the Wolverine movie franchise, passing it along to the next up-and-coming star. Announced previously this week, the decision to no longer be the claw-wielding superhero is a mix of being tired, letting a good thing rest at the top, and food.
Following the trend of many of the X-Men characters before him, Jackman’s decision should not be much of a surprise. A majority of the X-cast from the original film have already walked away from the movie franchise, minus a cameo or two. In similar fashion, Jennifer Lawrence, who played the shape-shifting mutant Mystique, has also stated that she will not be returning to the movie franchise after X-Men: Age of Apocalypse. British actor Nicholaus Hault, who played the genius-intellect mutant, Beast, has also confirmed that he will not be renewing his contract after the latest film. Even acclaimed director Bryan Singer will turn off his camera and walk away from the X-Men movie franchise after the next installment.
With all of these familiar faces leaving Fox’s superhero cash cow, it seems only natural that the 46-year-old Jackman will walk away before he falls into a stagnant portrayal of the same character, i.e. Liam Neeson, Bruce Willis, and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Jackman also credits his decision to no longer be Wolverine to comedian Jerry Seinfeld, saying that he was inspired to walk away by Seinfeld’s decision to leave the hilarious and long-running show Seinfeld at the height of its run. Instead of waiting until the show became a stalemate, Seinfeld decided to end the series post-syndication and contrary to critics’ jeering. Although the Wolverine movie franchise is in a different concept and genre as the comedic show, Jackman has been portraying the character for over a decade.
The world first got a taste of the live-action, claw-wielding Canadian in Singer’s blockbuster, X-Men, in 2000. Taking in over 296 million dollars worldwide and receiving critical acclaim, the movie helped Jackman become a celebrity overnight. He would go on to rake in big numbers at the box office, play a part in some movie flops, and hold the mantle of Wolverine for four X-Men movies and two solo films. Although the solo films are not the critics’ favorites, the films have taken in over 300 million dollars combined.
Similar to Fox’s announcement that X-Men: The Last Stand was the last X-Men film, many may debate that this is just a publicity stunt to attract more moviegoers and increase revenue for a poorly written film. However, Jackman clearly states that the decision was solely his own. In several interviews, he stated that he was tired of eating egg-white omelettes to keep up Wolverine’s toned physique and the strenuous movie scheduling. The choice was solely his, says the actor, and not brought on by pressure from the studio or fans, but simply a need to just leave the character on a high note.
Although 2017’s Wolverine movie will be the last time Jackman plays the major character in a full-length film, there is no telling on whether or not he will make cameo appearances in other X-Men films, like the upcoming Deadpool, X-Men: Age of Apocalypse, and a rumored New Mutants flick.
By Tyler Cole
Comicbook.com: Hugh Jackman is Leaving The Wolverine Role for Food
ComicVine: Hugh Jackman Discusses Playing Wolverine for the Last Time
People Magazine: Hugh Jackman Reveals How Jerry Seinfeld Helped Him Retire from Playing Wolverine