Just yesterday, The Beat‘s own Edward Douglas shared six ways that Kevin Feige and company could bring mutants (and the X-Men) into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and with that in mind, it’s time to discuss some possibilities for who could play those mutants. We know that with Logan, Hugh Jackman, the only man to play Wolverine on-screen the past two decades, has finally called it quits. Despite possibilities now open for Marvel to bring some previous actors back to play MCU versions of their old roles, Jackman is by all accounts done.
With that said, it’s time to act! And so your intrepid Beat squad presents 5 actors that should play the MCU’s Wolverine. Keep in mind, we said Wolverine, which doesn’t necessarily mean Logan… as you’ll see in a few of the picks below:
(Chosen by Kyle Pinion)
I’ll kick this list off with the person that’s most recently been rumored for the role. An actor I used to find so forgettable, I used to just call him “Kingsman,” due to his starring role in that franchise. I’ve really come around on Egerton since seeing him in Rocketman, where he gave the first truly Academy Award-worthy performance of the year. Now I call him “Rocketman,” which is a big improvement. But once I heard speculation that he was a favorite to don the claws of everyone’s favorite Canuck mutant, it all suddenly made perfect sense to me.
Egerton, while not exactly 5’3″, is at least 5’9″, which height-wise aligns him a little better with the character. He’s certainly proven he has the gravitas, and he’s young enough (29), that Marvel could put him at the core of a whole new X-franchise, from X-Men films proper to solo outings and any other permutation in between.
(Chosen by Aaron Halls)
You might not know this, but Justin Theroux has already been a part of the MCU. He worked as a screen writer on 2010’s Iron Man 2 but in the years following has received much acclaim for his acting chops. From 2014-2017, Theroux starred on HBO’s The Leftovers, a show with a setting that is very similar to the world Thanos created post-Snap. Here, the actor portrayed Kevin Garvey — a chief of police struggling to deal with the sudden disappearance of 2 percent of the Earth’s population.
As Kevin, Theroux displayed a chemistry set of emotions — loss, fear, hope — and sometimes these mixed together in bursts of combustible anger. It’s from this role that I think Theroux has shown the perfect qualities to play Wolverine — a character who must not only be an unstoppable presence, but have heart and vulnerability under that adamantium skeleton. This would be a great opportunity for the actor to make an impact on the MCU, not just with the stroke of the pen, but with the slash of some claws as well.
(Chosen by Samantha Puc)
Assuming Kevin Feige doesn’t take forever to introduce mutantkind into the MCU and Dafne Keen can’t simply reprise her role as Laura Kinney once she’s older, Anya Taylor-Joy would pull off this part beautifully. She has the acting chops, for one, and seems like she could embody Laura’s complicated history and commitment to not killing her foes. I think she could rock the costume and do justice to the part, no matter how the MCU approaches Laura.
I really struggled with this pick, and I imagine Hollywood will do the same — Hugh Jackman’s portrayal of Wolverine has been an iconic staple in the superhero movie scene for well over a decade. That said, my pick is closer to the screen version of Logan than one from the comic page, as Tyler Hoechlin is rather tall for the role. Though he’s graced the big screen, Hoechlin is probably best-known for this television roles on Supergirl (as Superman, no less) and Teen Wolf. He seems destined for bigger roles, though, and I’m surprised no one has snapped him up for a bigger on screen lead.
On top of having a look that I think would work perfectly for the role, I’d argue he has the talent to back it up — just check out the underrated Everybody Wants Some for proof.
Zac Efron (for Logan)
(Chosen by Edward Douglas)
So let’s assume that Marvel Studios will go the traditional route and try to find another male actor to play the Wolverine that most of us have known for longer than others. That’s James Logan, as portrayed by Hugh Jackman in seven previous X-movies. I definitely think Marvel Studios needs to go younger, maybe even getting a 20-something actor closer to the age of the teen X-Men as first introduced by Lee and Kirby in 1963.
Unfortunately, a lot of those actors had already been cast as young X-Men already, but I also want to find an actor who is younger but also one that isn’t a towering giant, because Wolverine is supposed to be on the shorter side. And actually, it would be good if Marvel Studios could find an actor who could be a draw so that maybe they can go with younger unknowns for the rest of the X-Men which is why I’m going with…. ZAC EFRON!
Okay, hear me out. Yes, it’s true that Efron is best known as a pretty boy actor, and he’s done a lot of comedies, but he also has a darker side that we’ve seen in movies like Extremely, Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile in which he played serial killer Ted Bundy. He also has as decent-sized 20-to-30-something female fanbase from his days in Disney’s High School Musical movies, so this could be a daring choice that proves to be a profitable one.
Isabella Moner (for Laura)
(Chosen by Edward Douglas)
I actually like Managing Editor Samantha Puc’s idea to just go with Laura aka Wolverine’s daughter, once known as “X-23” in the comics, when re-introducing Wolverine in the MCU. That means going with a younger female actor for the role. I’m not 100 percent sure she needs to be Latinx, as portrayed in James Mangold’s Logan — that movie also went significantly younger with the character. But okay, let’s keep her Latinx.
If we’re doing that, I’m going to pick Isabella Moner, who recently played Dora (as in “The Explorer”) in Paramount’s Dora and the Lost City of Gold. She also had a key role in Michael Bay’s Transformers: The Last Knight, so she has the action experience. Moner’s performance that really impressed me and makes me think she has the right attitude for X-23 was her role in the Mark Wahlberg–Rose Byrne comedy Instant Family, in which she played a troubled teen… similar to X-23!
Julia Butters (for Gabby)
(Chosen by Edward Douglas)
Anyone who has seen Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood will not forget how 10 year-old Julia Butters was able to steal scenes from her super-famous scene-sharer Leonardo DiCaprio. (Apparently, she had a third scene that was cut from the movie.) Butters has the precociousness to win over audiences as Gabby, and it might be fun to have her around X-23, even if we don’t realize right way that she’s Laura’s clone.
Let us know what you think of our choices in the comments below.