Hugh Jackman turned down the biggest role of his career in order to keep playing Wolverine
We pity whoever takes over the role of Wolverine in the future.
Unlike, say, Batman, who feels like he can be played by anyone with a gravelly voice and a decent jaw, Wolverine is pretty much synonymous with Hugh Jackman at this point.
Over nearly two decades, Jackman played the role of Logan more times than Sean Connery played the role of James Bond, but had things gone down a different route, all of that might have changed.
During his extremely in-depth interview with Variety, off the back of his upcoming musical The Greatest Showman (in cinemas here on 1 January 2018, and you can watch the trailer for it right here), the conversation eventually turned to Jackman's most iconic role:
"I was about to do X-Men 2 and a call came from my agent asking if I’d be interested in Bond. I just felt at the time that the scripts had become so unbelievable and crazy, and I felt like they needed to become grittier and real."
"And the response was: ‘Oh, you don’t get a say. You just have to sign on.’ I was also worried that between Bond and X-Men, I’d never have time to do different things."
X-Men 2 came out in 2003, one year after the release of the very worst Bond to date, Die Another Day, which we did a deep dive on right here.
It was also 3 years before the release of Casino Royale, which was indeed grittier and real.
Whether or not the folks in charge of Bond took on Jackman's advice, or had planned to go down that route all along, there's no way of knowing.
What we do know is that while the X-Men movies didn't always maintain a magnificent standard - we're looking at you X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men: Apocalypse - we are incredibly happy that Jackman stayed in the role for 17 years, so he could give it a proper send-off in this year's Logan.
In case you missed it at the time, read here about how Logan (and his comic-book pal Deadpool) managed to completely change the course of super-hero movies going forward.