The Wolverine is an upcoming American/Australian superhero film featuring the Marvel Comics character Wolverine and is intended to be the sixth installment in the X-Men film series. Hugh Jackman reprises his role from previous films as the title character with James Mangold directing a screenplay written by himself, Christopher McQuarrie, Scott Frank, and Mark Bomback, based on the 1982 limited series Wolverine by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller.
McQuarrie was hired to write a screenplay for The Wolverine in August 2009. Darren Aronofsky was hired to direct the film in October 2010. In March 2011, the project was delayed following Aronofsky's departure and the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami. Mangold was brought on board to replace Aronofsky in June 2011 and Bomback was hired to rewrite the screenplay in September 2011. The supporting characters were cast in July 2012 with principal photography beginning at the end of the month in New South Wales before moving to Tokyo in August 2012 and back to New South Wales in October 2012.
The Wolverine is scheduled to be released on July 24, 2013, in various international markets, July 25, 2013, in Australia and on July 26, 2013, in the United States.
Set sometime after X-Men: The Last Stand, Logan travels to Japan, where he engages a mysterious figure from his past in a fight that has lasting consequences.
- Hugh Jackman as Logan / Wolverine: A mutant and member of the X-Men. Jackman, who portrayed the character in the previous X-Men films, will also produce the film via his company Seed Productions. Jackman stated that he ate six meals a day in preparation for the role. Jackman contacted Dwayne Johnson for some tips on bulking up for the movie. Johnson suggested that for six months, he gain a pound a week, by eating 6,000 calories a day which consisted of "an awful lot of chicken, steak and brown rice".
- Hiroyuki Sanada as Shingen Yashida, a character created by Claremont and Miller, who was a Yakuza crime boss and antagonist to Wolverine.
- Hal Yamanouchi as Yashida, who may be the head of the Yashida clan to which Shingen belonged.
- Tao Okamoto as Mariko Yashida, the daughter of Shingen and one-time fiancee to Wolverine.
- Rila Fukushima as Yukio, one of the deadliest assassins in Shingen’s clan.
- Will Yun Lee as Kenuichio Harada, more commonly known as the Silver Samurai, who possesses an electrified suit of samurai armor and is the illegitimate son of the crime lord.
- Brian Tee as Noburo Mori, a corrupt minister of justice who is about to marry Mariko.
- Svetlana Khodchenkova as Viper, a one-time peer of Wolverine's as well as an enemy.
There are so many areas of that Japanese story, I love the idea of this kind of anarchic character, the outsider, being in this world - I can see it aesthetically, too - full of honor and tradition and customs and someone who’s really anti-all of that, and trying to negotiate his way. The idea of the samurai, too - and the tradition there. It’s really great. In the comic book he gets his ass kicked by a couple of samurai - not even mutants. He’s shocked by that at first.
In September 2009, Gavin Hood, director of X-Men Origins: Wolverine, speculated that there will be a sequel, which will be set in Japan. During one of the post credits scenes Logan is seen drinking at a bar in Japan. Such a location was the subject of Chris Claremont and Frank Miller's 1982 limited series on the character, which was not in the first film as Jackman felt "what we need to do is establish who [Logan] is and find out how he became Wolverine". Jackman stated the Claremont-Miller series is his favorite Wolverine story. Of the Japanese arc, Jackman also stated, "I won’t lie to you, I have been talking to writers… I’m a big fan of the Japanese saga in the comic book." Before X-Men Origins: Wolverine's release, Lauren Shuler Donner approached Simon Beaufoy to write the script, but he did not feel confident enough to commit. On May 5, 2009, just four days after its initial weekend run, the sequel was officially confirmed.
Christopher McQuarrie, who went uncredited for his work on X-Men, was hired to write the screenplay for the Wolverine sequel in August 2009. According to Lauren Schuler-Donner, the sequel will focus on the relationship between Wolverine and Mariko, the daughter of a Japanese crime lord, and what happens to him in Japan. Wolverine will have a different fighting style due to Mariko's father having "this stick-like weapon. There'll be samurai, ninja, katana blades, different forms of martial arts - mano-a-mano, extreme fighting." She continued: "We want to make it authentic so I think it's very likely we'll be shooting in Japan. I think it's likely the characters will speak English rather than Japanese with subtitles." In January 2010, at the People's Choice Awards, Jackman stated that the film will start shooting sometime in 2011, and in March 2010 McQuarrie declared that the screenplay was finished for production to start in January the following year. Sources indicated Darren Aronofsky was in negotiations to direct the film after Bryan Singer turned down the offer.
In October 2010, it was confirmed that Aronofsky will direct the film. Jackman commented that with Aronofsky directing, Wolverine 2 will not be "usual" stating, "This is, hopefully for me, going to be out of the box. It’s going to be the best one, I hope... Well, I would say that, but I really do feel that, and I feel this is going to be very different. This is Wolverine. This is not Popeye. He’s kind of dark... But, you know, this is a change of pace. Chris McQuarrie, who wrote The Usual Suspects, has written the script, so that’ll give you a good clue. [Aronofsky’s] going to make it fantastic. There’s going to be some meat on the bones. There will be something to think about as you leave the theater, for sure”. Also in October it was reported that the film will begin principal photography in March 2011 in New York City before the production moves to Japan for the bulk of shooting.
While Jackman in 2008 characterized the film as "a sequel to Origins", Aronofsky in November 2010 said the film, now titled The Wolverine, was a "one-off" rather than a sequel. Also in November, Fox Filmed Entertainment sent out a press release stating that they have signed Darren Aronofsky and his production company Protozoa Pictures to a new two-year, overall deal. Under the deal, Protozoa will develop and produce films for both 20th Century Fox and Fox Searchlight Pictures. Aronofsky’s debut picture under the pact will be The Wolverine.
In March 2011, Darren Aronofsky bowed out of directing the film, saying in a statement, "As I talked more about the film with my collaborators at Fox, it became clear that the production of The Wolverine would keep me out of the country for almost a year.... I was not comfortable being away from my family for that length of time. I am sad that I won't be able to see the project through, as it is a terrific script and I was very much looking forward to working with my friend, Hugh Jackman, again". Fox also decided to be "in no rush" to start the production due to the damage incurred in Japan by the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami. Despite this, Jackman said the project was moving ahead. "It's too early to call on Japan, I'm not sure where they're at. So now we're finding another director, but Fox is very anxious to make the movie and we're moving ahead full steam to find another director".
In May 2011, Fox had a list of eight candidates to replace Aronofsky, including directors Jose Padilha, Doug Liman, Antoine Fuqua, Mark Romanek, Justin Lin, Gavin O'Connor, James Mangold and Gary Shore. In June 2011, Fox entered negotiations with Mangold and intended to start principal photography in fall 2011. In July 2011, Jackman said he planned to begin filming in October 2011 and that he'll fight the Silver Samurai.
In August 2011, filming was announced to take place from November 11, 2011, to March 1, 2012, at Canadian Motion Picture Park in Burnaby, British Columbia, where scenes from Twilight, Supernatural and Fantastic Four were filmed. Almost immediately, filming was postponed to spring 2012 so Jackman could work on Les Misérables. In September, Mark Bomback was hired to rewrite McQuarrie's script. In February 2012, a July 26, 2013, release date was set, and in April, filming was set to begin in August 2012 in Australia, which would serve as the primary location due to financial and tax incentives.
In July 2012, actors Hiroyuki Sanada, Hal Yamanouchi, Tao Okamoto and Rila Fukushima had been cast as Shingen, Yashida, Mariko and Yukio, respectively. Additionally, Will Yun Lee was cast as Harada, more commonly known as the Silver Samurai, and Brian Tee as Noburo Mori, a corrupt minister of justice who is about to marry Mariko, the daughter of a yakuza crime lord. Also in July 2012, it was reported that Jessica Biel would play Viper. However, at the 2012 San Diego Comic-Con International Biel said her role in the film was "not a done deal", explaining, "People keep talking about this. I don't know anything about it. It's a little bit too soon for that kind of an announcement". A few days later, negotiations between Biel and 20th Century Fox had broken down. Later in July, Fox had begun talks with Svetlana Khodchenkova to take over the role.
In August 2012, Guillermo del Toro revealed he had been interested in directing the film, as the Japanese arc was his favorite Wolverine story. After meeting with Jim Gianopulos and Hugh Jackman, del Toro passed, deciding he did not wish to spend two to three years of his life working on the movie.
On a budget of more than $100 million, principal photography began on Monday, July 30, 2012, in Kurnell, New South Wales, on the shores of Botany Bay. Filming there ended on August 2, 2012, with production scheduled to continue around Sydney followed by a few weeks in Japan before wrapping up in mid-November. On August 3, 2012, production moved to Picton, which doubled as a town in Canada's Yukon region.
On August 25, 2012, director James Mangold said on Twitter that production moved to Tokyo and began shooting. Scenes were shot at the Tokyo Tower and the Zojoji Temple, which was used for a funeral scene. On September 4, 2012, filming took place outside Fukuyama Station in Fukuyama, Hiroshima. Filming in Tomonoura, a port in the Ichichi ward of Fukuyama, concluded on September 11, 2012.
On October 8, 2012, production returned to Sydney with filming on Erskine Street near Cockle Bay. The following week, the film shot in Parramatta, which doubled as a Japanese city. Also in October, Mangold revealed that the film follows the events of X-Men: The Last Stand, saying, "Where this film sits in the universe of the films is after them all. Jean Grey is gone, most of the X-Men are disbanded or gone, so there’s a tremendous sense of isolation for him [Wolverine]." On October 25, 2012 production relocated to Sydney Olympic Park in western Sydney. The set was made into a Japanese village draped in snow with filming beginning on November 1, 2012. On November 10, 2012 filming took placed on a back street in Surry Hills. The set, constructed on Brisbane St., was transformed to look like a Japanese street with Japanese signage and vehicles scattered throughout. Principal photography concluded on Wednesday, November 21, 2012.
In September 2012, Marco Beltrami, who previously collaborated with director James Mangold on 3:10 to Yuma for which he was nominated for an Academy Award, announced that he has signed on to score the film.
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