Gavin Hood’s Wolverine solo movie will start shooting this November in Australia, according to sources at X-Men fansite The XVerse. The film, which has a script by David Benioff, would be about Wolverine’s Weapon X days, and feature other mutants like The Blob. It’s essentially Wolverine’s origin story, telling how he got that indestructible admantium skeleton and those claws.
It’s also the wrong story. As Douglas Wolk points out in his excellent new book, Reading Comics: How Graphic Novels Work and What They Mean, Wolverine is a metaphor for repressing rage. He’s the angry part of us that we all try to hold back, and the feral part that trench coat wearing nerds wish they could unleash on their tormentors. The problem with the Weapon X storyline is that it makes Wolverine a victim; in many ways it’s the same story as The Bourne Ultimatum, but Paul Greengrass understood that making Bourne the victim of the government would be weakening him in ways that would kill the character.
The best Wolverine story is always Wolverine In Love. Wolverine’s essential journey isn’t about finding his past, it’s about finding his humanity, and the closest he has ever come to that has been when he was in love. It’s been done fairly well in the X-Men films, but a solo movie could explore it even better. The ideal vehicle for that exploration is Mariko Yashida, who once almost married the mutant in the comics; a member of the Yakuza, Mariko was poisoned by blowfish tetradotoxin and Wolverine was forced to kill her to help her escape a long and painful death. Besides the obvious romantic tragedy options, a story involving Mariko would open up the setting of the film – instead of once again visiting underground military medical facilities, the film could go to Japan. This aspect of the Wolverine story is interesting because of how the character sought to use martial arts to master his own berserker rage, as well as appeal to kids who thought ninjas were cool (they still are). Wolverine as ronin remains one of my favorite interpretations of the character.
But that’s all just me wanking. The Wolverine film will likely be totally in line with the X-Men films. Benioff has said that he’d like to do the Mariko story in a sequel, but I won’t be holding my breath.