Comic creator Rob Liefeld is "stuck on" X-Men franchise star Hugh Jackman as Wolverine and hopes the 51-year-old actor reprises the role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Jackman, who starred as the metal-clawed mutant across nine films between 2000 and 2017 until the character was killed off in James Mangold-directed swan song Logan, has resisted X-Men Origins: Wolverine co-star Ryan Reynolds' attempts to lure him to the spinoff Deadpool franchise inspired by characters Liefeld created with Fabian Nicieza. With both the X-Men and Deadpool franchises now under the control of Disney and Marvel Studios, Liefeld says he "foolishly" doesn't believe Jackman won't return to the role:
"I'm stuck on Hugh Jackman," the Deadpool and X-Force co-creator told Inverse when asked which actor he envisions as Marvel's Wolverine. "Having met Hugh, having loved Hugh, there is only Deadpool because of Wolverine… I was doing Deadpool [in the comics] to get to Wolverine. Wolverine was always the goal."
Like Wolverine, Deadpool possesses a superhuman healing factor and was once a member of one version of the Weapon X program.
"I can't answer the question on Wolverine, I'm stuck on Hugh Jackman," Liefeld said. "I hope to God he comes back, I do. He's been seriously firm that he's not going to be Wolverine, and I foolishly don't believe him."
Kevin Feige and Marvel Studios are expected to reboot Wolverine, real name James Howlett, when X-Men characters acquired in Disney's $71.3 billion acquisition of Fox emerge in a future phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
"I knew it was the right time for me to leave the party — not just for me, but for the character," Jackman recently told The Daily Beast. "Somebody else will pick it up and run with it. It's too good of a character not to. It's kind of like, you're on your way home and your friend rings you and goes, 'Oh, dude, a new DJ just came on and the music is awesome, are you going to come back?' And you say, 'Sounds good but… no.' They're fine with someone else."
Longtime X-Men franchise producer Lauren Shuler Donner previously noted Jackman, who famously undertook an exhaustive regimen to capture the character's powerful physique, had naturally aged out of the role. Donner then speculated Jackman could return as "older Wolverine," similar to the Old Man Logan iteration of the character from recent Marvel comic books.
After Jackman playfully shot down Reynolds' frequent attempts to sway him back to X-Men, the Deadpool star and producer said he would "double down" on Jackman by offering the star a role in X-Force as a fictional version of himself. Liefeld told Inverse he doubts Feige and Marvel Studios have plans for Deadpool 3 or a planned X-Force spinoff — characters who could appear in Marvel's Phase 5.