This year has been an interesting one for Fox’s X-Men film franchise. While Deadpool became one of 2016’s biggest financial hits, the decidedly more expensive X-Men: Apocalypse — which rounds out the trilogy that started in 2011 with X-Men: First Class — underperformed and earned a very tepid response from fans and critics alike. Regardless, the series’ future looks bright. In addition to a Deadpool sequel, Fox is developing a number of directions they could take the X-Men franchise in coming years.
One popular cast member whose involvement is winding down, however, is Hugh Jackman. The actor — who has appeared as Wolverine in all six core X-Men films as well as two spinoffs centered on his character — will reprise the role one last time for the forthcoming Logan. With that news in play and the character’s status as a fan favorite, rumors have already begun swirling about who might take over the role in the future. Some rumors indicate that the character, X-23 could fill the void left with Wolverine’s departure.
Assuming that Logan/Wolverine will actually be recast in the near future, we’re taking a look at some of the actors who might take the role. For the record, we’re excluding Legends of Tomorrow actor Johnathon Schaech since his casting is unlikely, even though he has voiced interest. Since Fox will likely be looking for a longtime commitment, we’re also looking to limit our list to actors under the age of 40. So sorry, Karl Urban fans, the Dredd star won’t be included here.
1. Tom Hardy
Since Jackman himself name-dropped the Mad Max: Fury Road star as a potential replacement, Hardy has been especially prominent among recast rumors. We’ve already made our case for why he would be a wise choice, but only time will tell if the actor actually lands the role.
2. Taron Egerton
In his most recent film effort, Taron Egerton — best known as the scrappy-then-suave lead of Kingsman: The Secret Service — starred opposite Jackman in Eddie the Eagle. So perhaps it makes sense that the young actor is anxious to take on his co-star’s most iconic role.
3. Aaron Paul
This actor may be well-known to fans of Breaking Bad, but he has yet to really establish himself on the big-screen. A role like Wolverine — which involves just as much attitude as an actor can spare — could be the big break he needs to recover from tepid film entries like Need for Speed.
4. Toby Kebbell
Some fans may recall that Toby Kebbell already played a Marvel character in a Fox production. He was Doctor Doom in last year’s dismal Fantastic Four reboot. Still, don’t hold that against him. The actor also popped up as the villainous Koba (via motion-capture performance) in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and would be perfect as Wolverine.
5. Charlie Hunnam
Charlie Hunnam had his chance for a franchise lead in Guillermo del Toro’s Pacific Rim, but alas, he’s not reprising his role for the in-development sequel. Maybe a prominent role among the X-Men can do the trick. We’ll see how his chances are affected by his lead part in King Arthur: Legend of the Sword next spring.
6. Luke Evans
Like Hunnam, Luke Evans has dabbled in potential franchise material in Dracula Untold, but it sounds like a sequel to that film has already fizzled. He’s got the right look to pull off the X-Men’s moodiest primary character. So we’re hoping Evans at least lands a shot at filling Jackman’s shoes.
7. Jack Reynor
Don’t blame Jack Reynor for his role in Transformers: Age of Extinction. Instead, pay attention to his intense facial features and the committed performance he delivers in this year’s stellar Sing Street. Reynor appears poised for big-time stardom. He simply needs the opportunity.
8. Jack O’Connell
Jack O’Connell has popped up now and again in films like Unbroken, Money Monster, and 300: Rise of an Empire. However, it’s his roles in smaller releases like Starred Up and ’71 that have convinced us he has what it takes to wield the iconic adamantium claws.
9. Travis Fimmel
Anyone who saw Duncan Jones’s Warcraft this summer knows that Travis Fimmel — who also stars on the TV series Vikings — is skilled at balancing drama and action, all the while keeping his character emotionally consistent and likable throughout it all.
10. Garrett Hedlund
Garrett Hedlund is a young actor who has yet to secure a mainstream franchise role, despite numerous attempts at doing so. Between Tron: Legacy and Pan, the actor’s charisma and leading-man good looks would be the perfect fit for Logan/Wolverine and give Hedlund the chance to take his career to the next level.
11. Scott Eastwood
Son of legendary actor and filmmaker Clint Eastwood, Scott Eastwood is one of those up-and-coming stars who has appeared on countless lists of potential names poised to join the latest high-profile franchise. Despite a small role in Suicide Squad, perhaps it’s a Marvel role like Wolverine that best fits his skill set.
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