Hugh Jackman is pretty great, and his love and respect for what the Wolverine character means to fans (and what it has done for his career) has made him the best part of 4 X-Men movies (Five if you want to count his amazing cameo in X-Men: First Class).
Hugh’s coming back to the character next summer for The Wolverine, a loose adaptation of the definitive 1982 mini-series by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller. Directed by 3:10 to Yuma‘s James Mangold, the film promises a grittier, darker aesthetic more in line with the character and story’s original source material.
Fox released the first official photo of Hugh Jackman today. I’m sure there’s a bit (or a lot) of Photoshop at work here, but it already conveys a pretty great mood for the film.
Jackman, 43, is actually looking better for the role now that he’s aged a bit. The older, grizzled Wolverine certainly feels appropriate. Compare to the then 31 year old Hugh Jackman when he made his debut in 2000′s X-Men.
Regardless of the aesthetic, it’s worth remembering that this is the follow up to 2009′s atrocious X-Men Origins: Wolverine, a prequel mired in terrible reviews, a cluttered story, and overwhelming controversy after a work-print release leaked to the Internet a month before the film’s completion. Has Fox learned their lesson, or will they yet again declaw The Wolverine? We’ll find out July 2013.