A six foot seven inch tall British fairy has joined the cast of the Wolverine sequel. Before you sound the alarms and start manning your battle stations, let me explain what I mean by this. Acclaimed, award-winning British comedian and actor Stephen Merchant is set to star in Wolverine 3 alongside Hugh Jackman. He famously played a tooth fairy alongside Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson in 2010’s Tooth Fairy. As of now, the IMDB page for The Wolverine 2, seen here, has him listed with an unlisted character name. You may also notice Richard Grant on the IMDB page. While his character is unlisted as well, the current speculative rumor-mill insists that Mr. Grant will portray the role of a mad scientist. Grant, another British actor, has starred in Jekyll & Hyde, Doctor Who, among others.
Based on the limited knowledge of the plot and cast and characters for this third and final outing of Jackman’s Wolverine in March of 2017, it is widely believed that the movie will draw from Mark Millar and Steve McNiven’s 2008 story arc, Old Man Logan. Asked by MTV in a recent interview, about the story involving Wolverine’s death and the Old Man Logan story arc, Hugh Jackman refused to answer outright but also did not deny the rumors: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RnIjk7Ccsf8
But is there a mad scientist in this story? And what about a replacement?
In the 3rd volume of Wolverine, Wolverine finds himself decades in the future in a bleak wasteland in which the world had been over run and is now ruled by super villains like Red Skull and Doctor Doom. Wolverine, in this future, struggles to pay rent to his land lords which happen to be children of Hulk born out of incest. Wolverine, desperate for money, takes on a mission with Clint Barton in which they find the Moloids – mole people who are destroying cities by tunneling under them and making them collapse. This is where I believe Stephen Merchant would fit well as a character actor. His tall, lanky build coupled with his proclivity for expressions would really bring a character like a moloid to life, perhaps as a moloid king.
The tragedy of the story is that the — spoiler alert — the entire thing was an illusion created by another super villain name Mysterio. When Wolverine finally defeated the Super Villains in control of the world, the veil was lifted and it was revealed that the super villains, also an illusion, were actually his friends and team mates in the X-Men. He was completely and utterly destroyed emotionally and mentally at the horror of what he had done, thus ending the person who Wolverine has always been. Thus the death of Wolverine. No more claws, no more ‘bub’. No more snikt.
And thus the idea that we – mean movie creators and fans alike – will need a replacement for this much beloved character. As a parallel plot line, if the movie goes between the ‘future’ and the current one where Mysterio is controlling the mind, we can include Richard Grant’s mad scientist. Perhaps it is even he who does this to Wolverine in his lab … a weapon X lab?
And this brings me to another point. The year 2000 brought with it the first movie in the on-going X-Men franchise. With it came Jackman’s first outing as Wolverine. Since that time he has reprised his role as Wolverine seven times – 8 if you count X-Men: Apocalypse, making him the one actor to have portrayed the same super hero the longest of any in the genre. Jackman’s contract with Fox was ended but he was offered $100 million a couple of years ago for a 4 picture deal extension which included X: Men: Days of Future Past, X-Men: Apocalypse, this Wolverine Sequel and perhaps Deadpool 2 (also due in 2017 ). He was recently quoted via Twitter and Instagram with the slogan “One More Time”, thus confirming this – Wolverine 2 – would be his last outing in the X-Men franchise (As it stands now anyhow). But what would the X-Men be without a Wolverine and how would the franchise survive? One prevailing theory is that Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine will be replaced by what is – for all intents and purposes – a clone of him. A casting call recently went out from Central Casting for Fox looking for a “Caucasian, Hispanic and Asian looking females over the age of 21″ The role would also require the actor to be ” Four feet to Four eleven in height, a size zero-four with dark brown hair.” I know what you’re thinking right now and you are correct; that does not sound like a Wolverine clone. What it does sound like however is X-23, Laura Kinney, a lethal killing machine made in a Weapon X test tube from Wolverine’s stolen DNA. I can now see how Grant’s Mad Scientist character would fit with this plot. He is playing with Wolverine, somehow captured, testing his mind and his DNA and thereby creating a clone to pick up the mantle and carry on the torch of this character that we all know and love.
Only time will tell as we draw closer to the movies release and more information and casting is revealed. All signs are pointing towards Old Man Logan and the Death of Wolverine. So I can strongly say that all signs are also point towards a critical and financial success for Fox!