For months now, it’s been assumed that Logan’s time in Japan for the upcoming standalone The Wolverine featured not only a great jumping off point from where we left off with previous solo venture Origins but also an inside look in what made Wolverine tick headed into the original film that started it all. Though the comics have detailed a complicated past with Japan, The Silver Samurai, Viper and many others before, there have been rumors that we could flashforward to the future while one previously deceased X-Men could also appear. While it wasn’t known exactly in what capacity, director James Mangold has revealed perhaps the most interesting tidbit ofThe Wolverine to date: it’s not a prequel to the original trilogy, but actually a sequel.
Speaking with Empire (via CBM), Mangold unveils that The Wolverine is actually a sequel to X-Men: The Last Stand. “Where this film sits in the universe of the films is after them all. Jean Grey is gone, most of the X-Men are disbanded or gone, so there’s a tremendous sense of isolation for him.” If anything, this only increases the chances of rumors we’ve heard thus far of Wolverine opening The Jean Grey School of Higher Learning within the film, while also adding quite a bit of intrigue into Famke Janssen’s reported cameo as Grey. Perhaps a new personal flashback tale? A hallucination when he’s in Japan?
But why tackle Japan in the future rather than where we left off? Mangold explains, “That’s something that for me was very important, that I land in a very specific place in his timeline.I wanted to be able to tell the story without the burden of handing it off to a film that already exists and having to conform to it. The ideas of immortality reign very heavily in this story and the burden of immortality weighs heavily on Logan. For me that’s such an interesting part of Logan’s character that is nearly impossible to explore if you have a kind of league or team movie.”
With that interview also comes a new still (below) from the film featuring Logan popping bone claws once more. Why he does not have adamantium and how that will screw up the continuity of things remains to be seen, but for the meantime we’re not complaining.
Based on the celebrated comic book arc, The Wolverine finds Logan, the eternal warrior and outsider, in Japan. There, samurai steel will clash with adamantium claw as Logan confronts a mysterious figure from his past in an epic battle that will leave him forever changed.
Starring Hugh Jackman, Will Yun Lee as villain Kenuichio Harada or as he’s best known in the comics The Silver Samurai, Hiroyuki Sanada (Revenge, Lost) as Shingen; veteran actor Hal Yamanouchi (The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou) as Yashida; and new discoveries Tao Okamoto and Rila Fukushima as Mariko and Yukio, respectively, The Wolverine is currently scheduled for a release on July 26th, 2013.
Click on the photo for a larger look: