Once you hire a suave muscular Australian to play Wolverine, and it also turns out he can carry a heck of a tune, it’s difficult to go back. That won’t stop some determined fans from making an imaginative suggestion.
Danny DeVito as Wolverine. Really?
Yes, really. At least according to 30,000 fans who have signed a Change.Org petition demanding that the former Penguin play for the other team and be the new Wolverine. Of course, one has to remember that these are probably some of the same folks who signed a different petition demanding a do-over for the final season of Game of Thrones. Neither prospect is very likely, and the entire X-Men franchise is on the ropes after the poor performance of Dark Phoenix.
What the Wolverine petition says
The petition, submitted by a user called Ring Arius, states:
The only man able to take the throne after Hugh Jackman. We believe that if Wolverine is to make an appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe that the only man able to pull it off is Danny DeVito.
A couple good reasons as to why I believe so strongly that he suits the character:
Danny DeVito’s height is a lot closer to the comic books portrayal of Wolverine. With Danny being 4’10” and Wolverine 5’3″.
Secondly, we all saw Danny’s portrayal of the Trashman. So, we know he is fully capable of fighting, and that he is not afraid when things get dirty!
The Trashman the petitioner refers to is that last part is a reference to a routine DeVito did on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia where he played a character who looked like a sidekick for World Wrestling Entertainment. As DeVito says at the end of the above clip, “It’s all fake!”
Is the petition real?
The petition is probably not meant to be taken seriously. IndieWire refers to it as “the equivalent of a viral joke.” And we’re willing to bet that most of the people who signed the petition are rolling with the gag. And maybe rolling on the floor too.
It’s not like DeVito is a stranger to comic book movies. He starred as The Penguin in Batman Returns. And the Batman movies are known for casting choices that came from outside of the box. Fans laughed when Michael Keaton was cast as Batman and when Heath Ledger was selected as the Joker – but they weren’t laughing after the movies came out.
On the other hand, many people would agree that the best villain in Batman Returns was Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman. Rather than being genuinely threatening, DeVito was like one of the comical rogue gallery villains. He was following in the footsteps of Burgess Meredith, who played the Penguin in the 60s Batman TV show, and DeVito sort of did it again when he played the satyr Phil in Disney’s 1997 animated movie Hercules. He was like Burgess Meredith’s Mickey to Sylvester Stallone’s Rocky.
But again, he was playing comedic characters, not anyone people would consider truly heroic. And when you weigh DeVito against Hugh Jackman, the scales don’t exactly balance. And most people know that. As they say on The Simpsons, “That’s the joke.”
The X-Men are tapped out for now
Let’s say just for the sake of argument that the petition is truly genuine. There’s still another reason it won’t become reality: We aren’t going to be seeing any X-Men movies for quite some time.
Nineteen years ago, the X-Men kick-started the superhero obsession cinema is still living with today. However, the latest movie, Dark Phoenix, opened to dismal box office last weekend as poor reviews and bad buzz combined to taint the troubled movie as a failure even before it came out. And the box office and B- Cinemascore proved that audiences simply didn’t care. Fox has the New Mutants in the can, but that film has been delayed so often, even its star Maisie Williams wonders if it will ever come out.
Some people may be waiting for Marvel Studios to take on the X-Men as producer Kevin Feige seems to have the golden touch with Marvel heroes. He brought Spider-Man into the MCU, rescuing the character from tired franchises. Feige may do the same for X-Men, but he’s already on record as saying they’re on the back burner.
“It’ll be a while,” Feige told io9 in April when asked about bringing the X-Men into the MCU. “It’s all just beginning and the five-year plan that we’ve been working on, we were working on before any of [the Disney-Fox merger] was set. So really it’s much more, for us, less about specifics of when and where [the X-Men will appear] right now and more just the comfort factor and how nice it is that they’re home. That they’re all back. But it will be a very long time.”
So, DeVito or no DeVito, our best hope for the X-Men universe is a third Deadpool movie.