Hugh Jackman has been playing Wolverine for over 15 years. He’s appeared on screen as the iconic X-Men character in seven films, including his uncredited cameo in X-Men: First Class, and by the time The Wolverine 2 rolls around, we can round that number up to eight (and that’s not including the potential for cameos in X-Men: Apocalypse — which he’s denied — and the Gambit movie). Fans have been wondering if Wolverine will be recast once Jackman exits the franchise, but according to Bryan Singer and producer Simon Kinberg, that’s not likely to happen.

Jackman has promised that The Wolverine 2 will mark his final time portraying the character, and while we certainly believe him, anything is possible down the line. In an interview with Digital Spy, Singer and Kinberg said they couldn’t imagine recasting Jackman’s role, though they do want to figure out how to keep the character going in the X-Men universe. Kinberg says:

I do think you would want to figure out how to tell more Wolverine stories. So either we would try to entice Hugh to come back and eat more chicken and work out for a few months, or we would have to figure out a creative way to move forward. Honestly, I can’t imagine anybody else playing the part, and there’s not too many characters I can say that for.

So basically at this point, they either have to convince Jackman to stick around past The Wolverine 2, or…that’s it. Singer and Kinberg’s options are limited. If they do recast Wolverine, it would likely be years from now, probably in a new cycle of X-Men movies with an all-new cast. Replacing Jackman so soon after his exit just isn’t happening.

The Wolverine 2 is set to hit theaters in 2017. Meanwhile, we’ll see the next installment of the X-Men franchise when X-Men: Apocalypse hits theaters on May 27.

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