17 years after the original X-Men made its debut, and the franchise is still going strong. There may have been more than a few bumps in the road, but after the well-deserved success of Logan this past week, the series appears to be set for many years to come.
Logan, the spectacular third solo outing for the character, marks Hugh Jackman’s final performance as the Wolverine. After 17 years, 9 appearances, and enough protein consumption to last a lifetime, Jackman is finally hanging up the claws. His departure marks a bittersweet conclusion for this era of the franchise, and leaves the long-running series with a fresh and uncharted future.
There are currently quite a few X-related projects in the works, including Deadpool 2, X-Force, New Mutants, Gambit and X-Men: Supernova. But, before we’re quite ready to move into the next wave of films, check out 10 extremely interesting facts you didn’t know about the X-Men franchise!
10. Legion is Professor Xavier’s son
FX’s mind-boggling new television series, Legion, is currently garnering rave reviews, and a huge fan following. The show stars Beauty and the Beast‘s Dan Stevens, as a schizophrenic young mutant named David Haller. Haller goes through the show experiencing a series of visually disorientating illusions, which throw reality and fiction into question.
This interesting and unique take on the X-Men universe, is a fantastic new approach to the franchise. But, so far it has contained virtually zero connection to the films. Little do viewers know, the character is actually the genetic son of none other than Charles Xavier. Whether this is something that will be addressed in future is unknown. But, a nice little cameo from Patrick Stewart would definitely be a great way to connect the two worlds.
9. A Fantastic crossover was planned
The Fantastic Four franchise is currently gathering dust, after its third consecutive failure at the the box office in 2015. But, if the critically derided reboot had been a success, then things would have gone down a very different path.
Prior to the release of the fantastic flop, 20th Century Fox were in the early stages of planning a huge Marvel crossover. Despite the fact that Fantastic Four established itself in a world separate from the X-Men, its dimension-hopping plot device would have allowed the two super teams to unite. The prospect of Fox bringing their own alternate Avengers together is incredibly exciting. But, until they can faithfully adapt Marvel’s first family for the big screen, this one is probably best saved for later.
8. Deadpool is the highest grossing R-Rated movie in history
After X-Men Origins: Wolverine successfully butchered the character, it took quite a few years for Deadpool to make it back to the big screen. But, after 7 years of production hell, frequent fan campaigning, and constant harassment from Ryan Reynolds, Fox finally gave the Merc with the mouth his own movie.
Thankfully, their gamble paid off more than they could have ever hoped. Not only is Deadpool the highest grossing film in the X-Men franchise, but it’s also the highest grossing R-Rated film in box office history. With a total worldwide take of $783 Million, the film beat out both The Passion of the Christ, and The Matrix Reloaded to the top spot. With a minuscule budget of $58 Million, Fox actually profited more than any studio ever has from a comic book movie. Not bad for a film that sat on the shelf for over 5 years.
7. From Kick-Ass to Quicksilver
The complicated rights issues surrounding Marvel characters, have been a headache for fans and studio executives for years. Generally speaking, the X-Men and the Fantastic Four are the only characters that Marvel Studios do not currently have access to. However, there are few special cases where the lines are slightly blurred.
Case in point: Peter Maximoff, AKA Quicksilver. This is one of a few select characters that both studios hold the cinematic rights to. As a result, we have seen two completely separate adaptations of the character. Evan Peters has played the character in both X-Men: Days of Future Past, and X-Men: Apocalypse. While Aaron Taylor-Johnson played him for a one-off stint in Avengers: Age of Ultron. The fun part of this is, that both of these actors have appeared in the same film together. Hilariously, Peters and Taylor-Johnson both shared multiple scenes together in 2010’s Kick-Ass. Strangely though, Fox’ version of Quicksilver has received a far more positive reception from fans.
6. Hugh Jackman plays the movies’ longest running superhero
Hugh Jackman’s extremely long tenure as the Wolverine is legendary for a number of reasons. Not only did he bring the character to life for the first time, but he also helped usher in the golden age of comic book movies. Most impressively though, he is also the longest running superhero actor of all time.
Jackman’s run as the adamantium warrior has spanned 17 years at the box office, and also 9 separate movies. The previous holder of this title, was of course Christopher Reeve for his 9 year stint as Superman. Although Jackman holds this title for now, it may not be long before his 9-movie-record is overtaken, with the rate that Marvel are churning out crossovers and sequels. However, it will be a very long time before an actor ever plays a big screen superhero for more than 17 years.
5. A lost opportunity
Like Deadpool, Gambit is another character that has suffered at the hands of X-Men Origins: Wolverine. For a film that was supposed to focus on Logan’s backstory, it managed to shoehorn a ridiculous amount of unnecessary characters into its plot. One of these casualties was poor Remy LeBeau, AKA Gambit. The character was played by a severely miscast Taylor Kitsch, and failed to make much of an impact.
But, in an even more heartbreaking turn of events, we almost had one of the most perfect castings in comic book history. That’s right, Lost‘s Josh Holloway was actually offered the role long before Kitsch. Before Brett Ratner took over the reigns of X-Men: The Last Stand, Bryan Singer had a very different vision for the film. Part of this vision, as it turns out, involved an appearance from the rajin’ cajun himself. Unfortunately, Holloway had to turn the role down due to his Lost schedule. Whether this would have lead to better finished product, we’ll never know. But, fans can always dream of how pitch perfect Holloway could have been in the role. Let’s hope Channing Tatum can finally do the character justice, if that solo movie ever makes it out development hell.
4. Spider-Man almost had an amazing cameo
Sam Raimi’s original Spider-Man, stands alongside Bryan Singer’s X-Men, as one of the first truly great comic book movies of the modern age. The film may be a little dated in the current superhero landscape, but it’s still one of the best Marvel origin stories to this day. Sadly though, it was almost even more memorable. According to Hugh Jackman, Spider-Man came very close to containing a very special cameo from Wolverine himself.
According to Jackman, a small walk-on appearance was in preliminary stages of happening. But, even more disappointingly, the only speedbump in this fan dream, was the fact that Wolverine’s costume was unavailable for shooting. Despite the fact that Jackman was actually in New York during filming, the scene obviously never came together. What’s even more interesting is that Kevin Feige, current president of Marvel Studios, was actually the one behind it. Clearly the man had crossover potential on his mind from the very beginning.
3. Hugh Jackman accidentally stabbed Mystique’s stunt double
Throughout the course of Hugh Jackman’s career as Wolverine, he has spoken many times about his self-inflicted injuries. But, he wasn’t the only victim of his own artificial extremity’s. During the filming of the first X-Men back in 1999, Jackman was understandably inexperienced at wielding metal claws. This resulted in him accidentally stabbing Rebecca Romijn’s stunt double in the arm. Clearly, Jackman’s on-screen alter ego may be a skilled warrior, but the Australian star still needs some practice.
The injury was not life threatening, or severe, but Jackman was reportedly left ‘freaked out’ by the event. Suffice to say, producers decided to use CGI claws much more frequently in future installments. But, movie magic can only go so far, which meant that audiences weren’t subjected to too many repeats of the awful effects seen in X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
2. James McAvoy shaved his head for X-Men: First Class
James McAvoy’s Professor Xavier has finally reached his chrome-domed destiny, in the current 80’s-set era of the X-Men timeline. But, if the Scottish star had it his way, then the character would have lost his locks decades before that. McAvoy landed the coveted roll back in 2010, after it was announced that a prequel film was on the way, starring younger versions of Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen’s characters
In a seemingly huge lack of communication between McAvoy and the producers, he then turned up to set completely bald. This then reportedly resulted in ’24 hours of hair extensions’, before cameras could roll with a fully-haired Xavier of the 60’s. While this unfortunate mishap is undoubtedly humorous, it is also comforting to know the actors dedication to the role. Thankfully, with a now-bald, wheelchair-clad Xavier leading the young X-Men, audiences can look forward to a classic portrayal of the character for many years to come.
1. Dougray Scott was originally cast as Wolverine
To almost every fan across the globe, Hugh Jackman is the definitive Wolverine. The actor and the character have become so synonymous with one another, that they will undoubtedly go down in cinematic history together. But, this very nearly wasn’t the case. The role was initially offered to Russell Crowe in the late nineties, but he quickly turned it down for unknown reasons.
Crowe then recommended his up-and-coming actor friend Hugh Jackman for the part. Despite this, Bryan Singer still went ahead and cast Dougray Scott as Wolverine. Fortunately for future viewers, Scott’s Mission Impossible II schedule prevented him from taking on the role. After he dropped out, Jackman was then quickly called back, and the rest is history. While it is interesting to ponder an alternate timeline where Crowe or Scott actually played the Wolverine, Jackman was always the perfect choice. His legacy as the character will rival that of The Terminator, and Indiana Jones. Future audiences will look at his portrayal, as one of the ultimate explorations of vulnerability, grief, and pain, within the entire science fiction genre, and film itself.
Thank you Hugh Jackman.
Logan is in theatres now!