Today 20th Century Fox released a few new images for their upcoming "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" movie. You can check them out below in our IMAGE GALLERY
X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE, the first chapter in the X-Men saga, unites Wolverine with several other legends of the X-Men universe, in an epic revolution that pits the mutants against powerful forces determined to eliminate them.
Hugh Jackman reprises the role that made him a superstar, as the fierce fighting machine who possesses amazing healing powers, adamantium claws, and a primal fury known as berserker rage. X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE stays true to the tone of the X-Men motion picture franchise, continuing the films' balance between spectacle and reality, while heightening the emotions and relationships.
The film also introduces a team of mutants, including several whose appearances in the movie series have been long anticipated. Movie audiences will meet Team X, a covert military cadre comprised entirely of mutants. Its members are: Wolverine; his brother Victor Creed, aka Sabretooth, a feral being of unimaginable power; Wade Wilson, later to be known as Deadpool, a high-tech mercenary skilled at swordplay; Agent Zero, an expert tracker and lethal marksman; Wraith, a teleporter; Fred J. Dukes, also known as The Blob, a morbidly obese and super-strong behemoth; and Bradley, who can manipulate electricity. Leading them is William Stryker, a figure introduced in "X2" but whose origins and motives are now fully explored, for it is Stryker's complex relationship with Wolverine that defines much of Logan's past ...and future.
X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE also explores Logan's tragic romance with Kayla Silverfox. Kayla's fate triggers Logan's involvement with the ominous Weapon X program, a top secret, billion-dollar military experiment, in which Wolverine and other mutants are key players. They include Gambit, a young Scott Summers (later to be known as Cyclops); a beautiful young mutant named Emma Frost; and the aforementioned Deadpool, against whom Wolverine faces his ultimate challenge.
While the three previous X-Men films were set in the not-too-distant future, the main story of X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE - as the saga's first chapter - is set prior to the events of those pictures, in the not-too-distant past, sometime in the 1970s. But the epic sweep of the new film also encompasses flashbacks that span 150 years. It has a scale and ambition new to even this high-reaching series. "We wanted to exceed expectations in every way," sums up star and producer Hugh Jackman. "We couldn't just make a very good movie; it had to be much more than that."
To that end, X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE provides a great roller coaster ride of adventure and action, while tapping into complex themes and rich and powerful emotional conflicts that have been hallmarks of the X-Men films. "Yes, the film needs to be visually stunning, and the action has to be amazing and hard-hitting," says director Gavin Hood, whose 2005 film "Tsotsi" won the Academy Awardģ for best foreign language film. "But you've also got to buy into the story and characters. The core idea of the film is that it's about someone who is not comfortable with who he is, who's at war with his own nature. That's an interesting character to explore. The theme of being at war with one's own nature, fuels and energizes the film so it becomes more than just action for its own sake."
Jackman was convinced that Hood was the right man for the job after he viewed Hood's modestly-budgeted "Tsotsi," a penetrating drama set in Johannesburg about a hardened teenage criminal whose life is changed when he becomes emotionally attached to an infant left in the back seat of his car. "The character Tsotsi was at war with himself, just like Wolverine is," says Jackman. "I got carried away by Tsotsi's journey, and by Gavin's instincts for character and story.
"The characters have always been at the heart of the X-Men comics and movies," Jackman continues. "People connect with and relate to them."
Indeed, when comics legends Stan Lee and Jack Kirby created the X-Men over 40 years ago, they shaped characters and stories with drama and conflict. The X-Men were an unusual heroic group - at times sarcastic, antisocial, and clearly flawed - yet sympathetic when battling the demons of their lives, or taking on powerful villains in their universe of special powers.
The character of Wolverine came years after many of his X-Men brethren, first appearing in comics in 1974 (as a creation of writer Len Wein and art director John Romita Sr.) before becoming an integral member of The X-Men, as well as the headliner of his own comics series. The character's impact on pop culture has been profound; last year alone, Wolverine was ranked #1 of Wizard magazine's "Top 200 Comic Book Characters of All Time" and was ranked #4 in Empire Magazine's "The 50 Greatest Comic Book Characters."
The first X-Men movie, with then-Hollywood film newcomer Hugh Jackman taking the key role of Wolverine, was released in 2000 to critical and audience acclaim, reinvigorating the comics-to-film genre. "X2," released in 2003, and "X-Men: The Last Stand," out in 2006, also achieved huge success. By 2009, over 70 percent of American moviegoers had seen at least one of the X-Men movies.
For Jackman, reprising the role was an opportunity to expand and deepen the three previous films' exploration of Wolverine. "We now get to see Logan's journey and the battle within, as he owns up to the events of his past," says Jackman. "Wolverine has certain qualities that are sacred, and number one is that he's a badass. Borrowing the character's catch phrase, Wolverine is the best there is at what he does, and what he does isn't very nice." Adds producer Lauren Shuler Donner, who served in that capacity on the three previous X-Men films: "Logan's got attitude, humor and a way about him. He just doesn't give a damn - and that's fun for an audience to experience."
The main story of X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE begins with Logan seeking solace from a past rife with darkness, working as a lumberjack in the remote Canadian Rockies. Finding love and contentment for the first time in his very long life, Logan leads a seemingly idyllic existence with schoolteacher Kayla Silverfox. "He couldn't be further away from the past he's so long been trying to escape," says Jackman. "Kayla is a catalyst for the biggest changes Logan's ever faced," says Lynn Collins, who took on the role after Jackman had seen her on stage in "The Merchant of Venice," opposite Al Pacino. "She leads him to think differently about the conflict of being human and being a mutant. Their relationship leads him to try and heal old wounds, and experience the consequences and risks of love."
But as Logan searches for the peace that has eluded him more than a century, "the world he's been trying to escape keeps drawing him back in," says Jackman. "As with anything in life, unless you've really dealt with a problem, unless you're really at peace with it, the problem tends to recur. And it's clear from the beginning that Wolverine has run away from things he needs to face. And one of them is Victor, his brother."
Victor Creed, also known as Sabretooth, possesses powers similar to Logan's. They are both virtually indestructible and have a feral, super-human strength. Victor's ferocity encompasses a feline-like fighting style and leaping ability; at times, he'll race to the attack on all four limbs.
As we learn in flashbacks, Logan (born James Howlett) and Victor did not learn they were brothers until their teens, in the aftermath of a family tragedy that leads to the emergence of Logan's signature berserker rage and claws that power their way through his flesh as razor-sharp spikes, turning him into something more and something less than human. Logan and Victor flee their home, forming a bond that transcends even brotherhood. As indestructible warriors, they fight together through major conflicts spanning two centuries, including the American Civil War, World Wars I and II, and Vietnam. "Logan and Victor are a team," says Jackman. "They go through a journey together."
But Victor relishes the fight much more than Logan. "Victor is incredibly brutal and has a bloodlust unlike any character I've ever played," says Liev Schreiber. "This guy is a real killer." Victor's savagery in battle leads the two to face a firing squad - but of course mere bullets cannot stop them. Recognizing their unique abilities, a military officer, Col. William Stryker, asks them to join a special team he is putting together - a covert, black ops unit known in comics lore as Team X, comprised of mutants possessing powers that make the team unstoppable.
The character of Stryker was introduced to movie audiences in "X2," in which he tries to bring about the destruction of all mutants across the world. That film hinted at a long history between Logan and Stryker, but only through quick flashes of Logan's lost memories. Now, with X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE, the full measure of Stryker's impact on Logan, Victor and other mutants is fully detailed.
Since the new film is set years before the events of "X2," a younger actor was needed to portray Stryker. (Brian Cox essayed the role in "X2.") The filmmakers tapped Danny Huston to play Stryker. "Every character Danny plays is so vivid and present," says Jackman, who cites Huston's performance as a sinister, complex figure in "The Constant Gardener," among many others that impressed the actor-producer
Huston sees Stryker as a kind of Dr. Frankenstein. "In a way, he helped create Wolverine. Stryker both hates and loves Logan, and certainly wants to control him and other mutants. He sees the mutants as children or wild animals. In controlling them, he can use them as weapons for what he perceives to be the safety of mankind. He loves Wolverine like a son. But he has to manipulate him and possibly exterminate him for what Stryker sees as a personal crusade, which he believes is bigger than any one man - or any one mutant."
A key member of Team X is Wade Wilson, later to be known as Deadpool. Wade is a highly-efficient killing machine nicknamed the "Merc with the Mouth," for his endless stream of wisecracks. Ryan Reynolds seemed destined to take on the role; the actor is a longtime fan of Marvel's Deadpool comics, and was even mentioned in one issue. "I've wanted to play Deadpool most of my adult life," says Reynolds. "It's a beloved character with comics fans, so it's not a responsibility I take lightly." Wade/Deadpool's weapon of choice are katana swords, and Reynolds trained extensively to make his swordplay convincing. "I lived, ate and breathed swords," he recalls.
Another Team X member is Bradley, portrayed by Dominic Monaghan ("Lost," "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy). Bradley, who can control and manipulate electricity, is a haunting figure, having gone into hiding from Stryker and Sabretooth, as a circus sideshow attraction. "When we meet Bradley in the film, he's kind of fallen off the grid," says Monaghan. "With Team X, he was a guerrilla soldier, but when things got out of hand, and he saw things he didn't want to see, he left the unit."
Team X member John Wraith, who becomes Wolverine's closest friend, is a teleporter who can appear or disappear at will. "He's not to be messed with," says actor and music icon Will.i.am, of the famed group The Black Eyed Peas, who makes his motion picture acting debut in the film. Long after departing Team X, Wraith remains closely allied with one Fred J. Dukes, a supreme warrior who later let himself go, becoming a 700-pound behemoth known as The Blob - the meanest man you've ever seen. Kevin Durand, who portrayed a fearless mercenary on "Lost," donned one of the largest and most elaborate fat suits in motion picture history, inside of which was a state-of-the-art cooling system originally designed for NASA.
An equally fearsome warrior is Agent Zero, an expert tracker with lethal marksmanship skills, played by Daniel Henney. The American-born actor, who became an enormous star in South Korea, notes that Zero and Logan, although once members of the Team, are enemies. "He's always been jealous of Logan," says Henney, "and he's determined to stop him."
The mutant known as Gambit was not a member of Team X - Logan encounters him much later in his journey - but he plays a key role in Logan's revenge-fueled quest. Beloved by fans of the X-Men comics who have long awaited the character's debut in the film franchise, Gambit, who also goes by the name Remy LeBeau, has the ability to charge matter with volatile kinetic energy, causing the object in question to explosively release its charge on impact. Gambit's favorite things on which to direct his special talents are a deck of playing cards and a simple boe staff - both of which he turns into powerful weapons when the occasion dictates.
Gambit's presence in X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE will certainly be celebrated and discussed by fans, a fact not lost on the filmmakers. Says producer Ralph Winter, who's been involved in all the X-Men movies: "Before the start of each [X-Men] film, people would ask me, 'Is Gambit in the movie? Is he going to throw cards? And I'd say, 'Hang on, we'll get to him.'"
Actor Taylor Kitsch, who nabbed the role after wrapping work for the season on the acclaimed series "Friday Night Lights," says he understands that "the fans have been waiting [for Gambit's appearance in an X-Men film]," and reports that he worked hard to live up to their expectations. "When I arrived in Sydney, to begin work on the film, I told the producers I was here to train and to work," says Kitsch. His training included long sessions with the boe staff and fighting sticks - as well as interminable hours going through packs and packs of trading cards, learning the character's signature moves. "By the time cameras rolled, I could do quite a bit with a deck of cards," he says.
But in telling this story of "origins," no mutant has greater impact on Logan's journey than his brother, Victor Creed. Appalled by Stryker's ethically-challenged directives, Logan had abandoned Victor and Team X, but the two brothers cannot be separated by time or by distance because they are two sides of the same person. "I think of Victor as Logan's doppelganger, his darker side," says Liev Schreiber. "What drives both of them is their desire to find their place in their world - to belong to something. And that one thing that Victor belongs to is Logan. When that bond is broken, Victor looks to reconnect with his brother, for better or for worse."
It is Victor's brutal murder of Kayla that triggers Logan's quest for revenge. When they are reunited, Logan and Victor fight, leaving Logan battered and wounded. Stryker, again entering Logan's life and again forever changing it, offers what he calls the only solution: the top-secret Weapon X program ("X" denoting the Roman numeral for ten). In the procedure, Logan's entire skeleton will be bonded to adamantium, an impenetrable metal alloy that will make Logan virtually indestructible -turning him into the Wolverine we know from the previous X-Men movies. "To beat Victor," Stryker tells Logan, "you're going to have to embrace the other side of you. Become the animal."
But to undergo this transformation, Logan has to suffer more pain than any man could ever endure. Audiences had seen tantalizing flashes of the Weapon X procedure in "X2," but here its full power - and horror - is fully unveiled. As Logan lies in a water-filled plexiglass tank the size of a lidless coffin, robotic arms that taper into foot-long needles spin at high speeds, entering his body, bonding his bones to the adamantium. Wolverine has suffered and survived gunshots, knife wounds, car crashes, executions and explosions - but he's never suffered like this.
Wolverine emerges from the ordeal to face yet another betrayal and an epic showdown with Victor and with the next generation of Stryker's military experiments. Undeterred by Logan's escape from Alkali Lake as the now indestructible Wolverine, Stryker has abducted mutants to fulfill his twisted mandate of turning them into weapons. The unwilling participants in this work are teenagers Scott Summers (Tim Pocock) and Emma Frost (Tahyna Tozzi). Scott, who can emit a powerful beam from his eyes, grows up to be Cyclops, a leader of the X-Men; Emma, another major figure in X-Men comics lore, is telepathic and possesses a diamond-like skin that is indestructible.
Together, the mutants face off against an enemy who has sworn to see them destroyed, in a battle - a revolution - that will set the course of the epic war that lies ahead.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine opens on May 1, 2009.