Around the time when X-Men III: The Last Stand premiered in Cannes in 2006, the rumors started to circulate about a new movie featuring Wolverine alone. Hugh Jackman professed his interest in doing such a movie because of his love for the character provided they had a good script, and the title was added to his IMDB profile page with a tentative release date set for 2007.
That wasn't going to happen. He got to film three more movies, The Prestige, Deception, Australia, he landed his voice to two animated movies, Happy Feet and Flushed Away, and he also produced and stared in an attempt of a musical series, Viva Laughing, that was doomed to fail, before he got to the most anticipated Wolverine.
Finally, in the fall of 2007 he announced they had a script he was happy with, he mentioned a twist he liked a lot, and they were looking for a director for it.
In the beginning of January 2008 shooting started quietly in New Zeeland. For over a month all we got to see was a random tabloid photo of Jackman enjoying a shotover jet river ride in his spare time. Meanwhile casting rumors were popping out all over the place. Liev Schreiber was playing Sabertooth. Danny Huston was playing William Stryker. Lynn Collins was playing Silver Fox. The studio was in no hurry to confirm either of them.
And then on 14th of February 2008 the first official Wolverine photo hit the web causing a frenzy. It was featured on tons of websites as everyone had an opinion about it, it brightened up single's Valentine's Day, and it was turned into wallpapers scaring off grandmothers passing by the pc (true story!). As a side note, it was the inspiration behind XMO: Wolverine - An Unofficial Website, which was put online the same day and it wasn't too bad for only a couple of hours of work.
The next news concerned two big names added to the roaster, and I don't necessarily mean big actor names but characters. Ryan Reynolds was playing Deadpool and Taylor Kitsch was playing Gambit. More fans became interested in the movie debating whether this was a good move or not. Also, Dominic Monaghan was Beak and Will.I.Am was Wraith, Daniel Henney was Agent Zero and Kevin Durand was The Blob. At this point people started to voice their concern that too many mutants were involved and it was starting to look like X-Men 3: Reloaded, being full of cameo appearances. And we all know how that one turned out. Mind you, they didn't know yet about Emma Frost, Cyclops and a few others. In their defense it should be said that an action movie can't be done with one character alone, especially an anti-social one that no one can stand up to.
Empire released two more badass photos from the same forming trend.
But the big star was a fan made poster that was mistaken for an official one and therefore ended up on all sorts of official sites, in magazines and even on eBay. We can't fault it for it, it was a damn good one.
Rumors started to spread regarding artistic differences between the director Gavin Hood and Fox studio on the set of X-Men Origins: Wolverine. They seemed to be confirmed when Richard Donner flew over to Australia, though later it was asserted that he was also one of the producers and he was just visiting his wife, also a producer of the movie.
Meanwhile Hugh Jackman was stalked by the paparazzis and photographed just about everywhere: on the set, at the gym, in the street, with coffee, without coffee, in the harbor, outside his house, on a different set, on the beach, etc.
Principal photography ended in June, additional production work following to be done in L.A.
In July Hugh Jackman made a surprise appearance at San Diego Comic Con and he didn't settle for only for bringing his charming self. The poor attempt of a poster is not worth mentioning, but the rough material that was screened sure is. It didn't tell much about the plot, but it did give us an idea of the general feel of the movie and that was a good one. This well-inspired move raised more interest in the movie than any PR Fox did, and the studio didn't go out of its way for it anyway. I have to say I was hooked after watching that footage. A bootleg copy can be seen here.
A long waiting came after that with no more news while Hugh Jackman was shooting additional scenes for Australia. At the end of November Wolverine made it on the cover of Empire Magazine. In the same time advertising for the official X-Men Origins: Wolverine game and action toys was being done.
The X-Men Origins: Wolverine official website came online though it didn't have much on it, only to be completed in December with the very much anticipated trailer. The video is more elaborated and edited than the Comic Con footage but it doesn't add much to what we already know about the story featuring some of the material we have already seen. It's interesting to notice that a forehead bullet hit plus an army of needles that appear in the French trailer are missing from the US one. Nevertheless, it is still impressing and Wolverine is one tough badass guy. He even got a haircut that suits him for a change.
We started the new year with a new photo taken from the above mentioned scene.
Two weeks of shooting in Vancouver scheduled for January stirred even more rumors. People started to bitch about how bad Fox must have screwed up if it needed re-shooting, forgetting that due to conflicting schedules and weather conditions those two weeks of shooting had been planned ever since last fall and producer Lauren Shuler Donner had mentioned it in various interview.
It got so bad that Hugh Jackman felt the need to clarify things in a message sent to Ain't It Cool. On one hand it's cool to see a movie star so involved in what he's doing and on the other some might wonder if the situation is really desperate since the case can be argued both ways. We're just happy he had the courtesy to send a group photo attached to it.
A simple X-Men Origins: Wolverine teaser poster was released soon after that. For some reason I happen to like the fan made one better.
Then it was time for three poorly photoshop edited promotional photos. I sure hope Fox put all its money into the making of the movie 'cause I didn't see much going into promotion.
A real tour of force hit the screens, and then the web, with 3 TV spots aired in consecutive days in mid February. Plenty of screenshots can be found here and the videos are below.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine TV Spot #1 - Outcasts
X-Men Origins: Wolverine TV Spot #2 - Brothers
X-Men Origins: Wolverine TV Spot #3 - Legends
If anyone had any doubts about the movie until now they can sleep in peace. The videos raise some questions like how come Wolverine and Sabertooth are brothers now? The audience has to be reminded that this isn't a comic adaptation to screen but a movie inspired from a whole series of comics the way I see it, so not all details are expected to be respected but just the general idea. Other than that they look damn good. Hats off to the director Gavin Hood, no wonder Totsi got an Oscar. His skills are showing especially in the second TV spot.
In answer to those who complained about Liev Schreiber not being big enough, blond enough, hairy enough, my only concern now is that he might steal all the scenes he's in like he did in Defiance. Deadpool is not fully Deadpool yet, which leaves an opening for another origin movie like planned, and the action scenes featuring Gambit seem to be the coolest so far. Silver Fox is shown dying twice like in an early draft of David Benioff's script that I read last spring, and that makes me think that a similar ending must have been used too.X-Men Origins: Wolverine Final Trailer
Quoting the official synopsis: "X-Men Origins: Wolverine tells the story of Wolverine's epically violent and romantic past". And what a past!
One problem still remains, there are almost two months and a half left until the movie opens on May 1st.
May can't come any sooner!