James Mangold and Hugh Jackman appeared at Comic-Con to launch The Wolverine today, and the crowd went nearly as berserk as Wolverine himself. Mangold paid tribute to Jackman's attachment to the role, putting it in the ranks with Clint Eastwood's Man With No Name in the great character/actor pairings.
The footage shown from The Wolverine was pretty darn cool: there were seemingly endless action beats. We've seen a few highlights from the train fight and temple brawl in the trailer, but this goes far beyond that. We see Wolverine run through with a samurai sword before slowly drawing it out. He threatens a witness - "You've got ten words and if I don't like what you say you're going straight out that window" - and after throwing him off the balcony the witness lands in a pool. "How did you know the pool was there?" marvels Yukio. "I didn't", he replies.
"Everything Jim and I wanted to do for this movie was to make sure that this was something completely fresh, completely different," said Jackman, emerging to huge applause. "Obviously you know it comes from one of the most famous comic arcs. Thirteen years ago I had that book in my trailer when making the first X-Men movie and I said to Lauren Shuler-Donner that this was the movie we should make. And we're finally here, and you do get to see the berserker rage."
"One of the things we wanted to explore in this movie, which is a big deal for any character who doesn't die," said Mangold, "is how do you go on living when everyone you love dies? We know Logan's been here a long time - well, what's that like, losing the people you care about and having to start again? Let's be honest, Logan is not the most emotionally adept person in comic books. Logan has lost everybody: the X-Men, Jean Grey by his own hand. So at the start we find him having retreated from being with people."
But it doesn't stay that way: four strong women will have an effect on Wolverine's fate in this film, we're told, since Jackman says they've always been his weakness.
Next year, with X-Men: Days Of Future Past, Wolverine will have appeared in more comic-book movies than anyone else. "I'm not fishing for anything, but I have to point out that so many people for many decades before me nurtured the character and made him what he is. Len Wein's here today: from this man's head, heart and hand came my career, so thank you, Len! I wasn't the first choice for Wolverine; not only did I come off the reserve bench but I was deep in the stands to get this role, and I'm not going to let it go easily!"
The Wolverine is out on July 26.