The MCU Latest: Hugh Jackman Returns as Wolverine and Blade Loses Its Director

Culture
Meanwhile Black Panther: Wakanda Forever is confirmed to have a 2 hour 41 minute-runtime, making it the longest MCU film after Endgame.

Image may contain Human Person Hugh Jackman Ryan Reynolds and Sitting

Ryan Reynolds and Hugh Jackman.Courtesy of Ryan Reynolds.

The ever-chugging Marvel machine is always sending out new updates, teases and developments that send fans into excited spirals—and given Kevin Feige’s focus on the long game, we’re often obsessing over details that won’t come into actualization for years. Case in point: Deadpool 3, the first of the Ryan Reynolds-led antihero flicks to be released under the MCU banner following Disney’s acquisition of 20th Century Fox. The film won’t hit theaters until 2024, but an announcement from Reynolds spiked enthusiasm as he officially confirmed Hugh Jackman will un-snikt! his Wolverine claws once again.

A video uploaded to his Twitter shows Reynolds explaining that he had to miss the D23 Disney expo because he was too intensely focused on developing the third Deadpool film, which will be the character’s monumental first appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In true Reynolds fashion, the video is set up as something emotional and triumphant—quintessential superhero stuff (well, barring him reading a Deadpool comic on what seems to be the toilet)—only for him to reveal that when it comes to new ideas for the franchise, he’s completely gassed. “I have nothing. Just completely empty up here,” he says. Then he flippantly reveals the big news: Hugh Jackman will be reprising his role as Wolverine. (The video also serves as a release date announcement: September 6, 2024.)

In a second video, the two actors poked fun at questions about the in-universe logistics of the X-Men hero’s return, since Wolverine died in 2017’s Logan. Reynolds is just able to clarify that Deadpool 3 will take place before Logan’s 2029 future death scene, but before he can go any further, Wham!’s “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go” starts blaring, drowning out the actors’ voices as they go on to vividly act out climactic action moments to come. The videos confirm once again that bringing back a cool character is more important than adhering to Marvel’s increasingly dizzying in-universe logic.

Reynolds and Jackman’s characters appeared together in 2009’s widely reviled X-Men Origins: Wolverine. But that film featured a much different version of Deadpool, one lacking the character’s signature costume and whose mouth was eventually sewn shut, cutting off his endless stream of quippy, fourth-wall-breaking wisecracks. (Reynolds lambasted that bizarre choice in his announcement post, writing, “Hard keeping my mouth sewn shut about this one.)

Logan director James Mangold posted a cheeky GIF of Wolverine being killed in his movie, which many interpreted as a sign of frustration over the character’s return, though he clarified his stance in a follow-up tweet. “Just kidding! I’m all good! Logan will always be there. Multiverse or prequel, time warp or worm hole, canon or non-canon or even without a rationale, I cannot wait to see what [madness] my dear friends [Ryan Reynolds] and [Hugh Jackman] cook up!”

The Deadpool 3 news comes the same day as a major departure from another Marvel project. The reboot of Blade, which is set to star Mahershala Ali as the leather-clad vampire hunter, has lost its director, Bassam Tariq, just weeks before filming was set to finally begin. Per The Hollywood Reporter, production schedule issues led to Tariq’s departure, though Marvel told the outlet he will still serve as an executive producer.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Blade has not gotten off the ground smoothly, with production dates rescheduled “at least once before” and multiple rewrites, with Beau DeMayo (The Witcher, Moon Knight) currently penning the script. (Back in 2021, Emmy nominee Stacy Osei-Kuffour signed on to write the script, becoming the first Black woman to write a Marvel movie, though it’s unclear to what degree the finished product will resemble her original work.) The Ankler’s Jeff Sneider reports of drama behind-the-scenes, alleging that Ali—who’s been committed to the film for over three years now—is frustrated with the process thus far, which has only resulted in a 90-page script, with merely “two lackluster action scenes,” and only minor commitment from Feige. As of now, the film is still slated for release on November 3, 2023.

Elsewhere in the MCU, Marvel head Kevin Feige spoke to film magazine Empire about not recasting T’Challa in the wake of Chadwick Boseman’s 2020 death. “It just felt like it was much too soon to recast,” he said. “…The world is still processing the loss of Chad. And Ryan [Coogler] poured that into the story.” Black Panther: Wakanda Forever reportedly clocks in at two hours and 41 minutes, making it the second longest Marvel film, following Avengers: Endgame.

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