Variety recently announced that Gavin Hood (South African director of the Oscar winning film Tsotsi) will direct the upcoming 20th Century Fox Wolverine movie (due out in 2008). The script will be written by David Benioff (Troy, Stay and the Kite Runner) and produced by Lauren Shuler-Donner, Wolverine star Hugh Jackman and his Seed Productions partner John Palermo.
The film will draw upon the character defining Wolverine mini-series by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller who first removed the character from his X-Men teammates in 1982 so that Logan could take center stage.
The Wolverine mini-series was the first step in creating what has become Marvel Comics‘ most successful character to date. Taking place in the rich setting of Japan, the Wolverine mini saw Logan experience an awakening to his animal side which became soothed by his noble spirit as he found love with the gentle Lady Mariko. The four issues also featured Frank Miller‘s ninja clan ‘The Hand’ and introduced Wolverine’s study of martial arts.
Created by Len Wein as a villain for the Hulk in the 1974 issue 181, Wolverine was at first a Canadian agent sent to stop the Hulk and the monstrous giant Wendigo. Small and vicious as his namesake, Wolverine held his own against both behemoths and lived to tell the tale to his superiors at the mysterious Canadian Government Agency called Department H.
When looking for the ideal characters for the new ‘international’ X-Men team (including Storm from Africa, Colossus from Russia, Banshee from Ireland, Nightcrawler from Germany, Sunfire from Japan and the Native American Thunderbird) he was developing in 1975, Wein remembered Wolverine and threw him into the mix of what became known as the ‘All New All Different Uncanny X-Men.’
Chris Claremont and Dave Cockrum took over the creative reigns of the X-Men from Wein and developed Wolverine into a bloodthirsty and angst-ridden killing machine. The character gained new facets as John Byrne joined Claremont as co-plotter and artist, bringing a dark history to the character’s background and a killing instinct that caused him to lock horns with his teammates.
The rest is history.
Actor Hugh Jackman, who has played the character of Wolverine in the three top-grossing X-Men films, has made many fans of the character happy. The Broadway entertainer has played the character with the ideal mixture of Clint Eastwood grit and cocksure devilish attitude similar to a young Jack Nicholson.
It was quite a surprise that director Bryan Singer made the complex and long-running comic book series into a cohesive and entertaining film franchise.
Thanks to the films, Hugh Jackman has become a household name and he’s not about to let just anything happen to his alter-ego. Acting as producer of the third X-Men film, X-Men: The Last Stand, Jackman took the first step in controlling the contributions he has made to the comic book franchise and it looks like that will carry over into the long-awaited Wolverine spin-off.
Speaking on the film’s director, Jackman has said, “I have long been a fan of Gavin’s work and know he will make a masterful film with the character intensity and action beats the fans expect.”
If the Wolverine spin-off is a hit, I’m sure there are many directions that can be taken. I just hope that the actor who has fleshed a 2-Dimensional comic book character into a fully-realized person will be involved.
X-Men Trilogy (X-Men/ X2: X-Men United/ X-Men: The Last Stand)
Wolverine by Claremont & Miller (Marvel Premiere Classic)
The Best of Wolverine, Vol. 1
Essential X-Men, Vol. 1 (Marvel Essentials)
Essential X-Men, Vol. 2 (Marvel Essentials)
Essential Wolverine, Vol. 1 (Marvel Essentials)