X-Men Originally Had A Different Wolverine — Why Hugh Jackman Was Cast – Screen Rant

Hugh Jackman was not X-Men director Bryan Singer’s first choice for Wolverine. Here’s who else was considered and how Jackman got the coveted gig.
X-Men‘s most iconic character is the rough and rugged Wolverine portrayed by Hugh Jackman, but the Australian actor was not the first choice for the prominent role. Since the debut of X-Men in 2000, Jackman has played the infamous Wolverine/Logan in nine subsequent films. The movies follow a rotating cast of “mutants” whose genetic anomalies grant them super-human abilities. In addition to the iconic retractable claws, Wolverine’s powers cause his body to regenerate almost instantly, essentially making him immortal. This allows him to span a long timeline throughout the films, as well as adding a level of depth to his internal struggles in the later installments as Logan becomes an old man.
Jackman undeniably embodies the role of Wolverine throughout the series. His unpolished appearance and wild impulses showcase the animalistic nature of the character. He also brings a deep understanding of Wolverine’s internal conflict, as Logan’s morality struggles against his own beastly nature. Wolverine and Hugh Jackman are so closely associated that fans couldn’t possibly picture anyone else playing the part.
Related: Would Hugh Jackman Return As Marvel’s Wolverine?
While Jackman undoubtedly owns the character of Wolverine, he was not the first choice for the role. In fact, he wasn’t even the second. Jackman only got the part after director Bryan Singer offered it to Dougray Scott and Russell Crowe, both of whom turned it down. Although he was only the director’s third choice, Hugh Jackman was still the right man for the job.
Another up-and-coming actor, Dougray Scott, was originally cast as Wolverine. According to The Independent, Scott was offered the role and initially planned to take the part as shooting for his current project, Mission: Impossible 2, wound down. But when production overran, Scott claims that Tom Cruise, the star of Mission: Impossible, forced him to drop the role in X-Men. Scott tried to argue that he could do both films at the same time, but Cruise refused the idea, and Scott ultimately dropped the part. Scott is certainly a fine actor, and his take on the role would probably have been as innovative as Jackman’s. Still, it’s difficult to imagine him bringing the same level of roguishness that influenced Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine. Scott had previously tended to play more aristocratic characters in his film roles, such as Captain Robert Graves in Regeneration and Prince Henry in Ever After.
The other actor in line before Jackman was Russell Crowe, who refused the role. Crowe supposedly turned down the part because he didn’t want to be type-cast as a “Mr. Wolf” (via News.com.au) after his character in Gladiator had featured several wolf symbols. While Crowe may have provided a similar ruggedness to the character, it’s hard to picture him bringing quite the same animalism as Jackman. Crowe’s dramatic style was usually more reserved, conveying a lot through subtle emotional acting like in Gladiator. Wolverine called for an actor who could truly embrace the wild beast, and few could’ve achieved the primal physicality that Hugh Jackman did through his Wolverine workout and performance.
Despite the talent and prestige of these two other actors, most fans would still argue that Hugh Jackman was the best choice. There was early concern that Jackman was too tall to play the relatively short hero of the comics, but viewers came around to his irreverent and short-tempered character, which was true to early Wolverine. Other deviations from the comics, such as Wolverine’s costume, still bothered some, but Jackman did everything he could to stay true to the original. Sadly, Jackman insists that 2017’s Logan was the last time he would portray Wolverine, but fans can still re-watch his remarkable performances throughout the X-Men movies.
Next: The MCU Needs To Recast Wolverine (Because Jackman’s End Was Perfect)
Chris Bellows is a features writer for Screen Rant, covering topics related to movies and television. Chris has been writing for Screen Rant since 2021, and he loves every minute of it. He lives in Georgia with his two dogs where he enjoys reading, gaming, and the outdoors.

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