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Contrary to speculation, director James Mangold insists that The Wolverine isn’t another prequel to Fox’s original X-Men trilogy. (Warning: Potential spoilers follow.)
Where this film sits in the universe of the films is after them all,” he tells Empire. “Jean Grey is gone, most of the X-Men are disbanded or gone, so there’s a tremendous sense of isolation for him.”
That naturally raises a couple of major questions, not the least of which is the movie still in the magazine (below, via ComicBookMovie) depicting Hugh Jackman as Logan sporting bone claws and military fatigue pants, suggesting some scenes may be set in World War II. The other is the new rumor that Famke Janssen would make a cameo appearance in The Wolverine as Jean Grey. Of course, Mangold’s statement that “Jean Grey is gone” doesn’t mean Janssen couldn’t still be seen in a flashback or dream/nightmare sequence.
Still, the director underscores that his “Japanese noir picture with tentpole action in it” takes place outside the continuity established in the previous X-Men movies, saying, “I wanted to be able to tell the story without the burden of handing it off to a film that already exists and having to conform to it.”
The film is based in part on the 1982 Wolverine miniseries by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller, which found Logan battling ninjas and the politics of the Tokyo criminal underworld for the heart of his ex-lover, the daughter of a Japanese crime lord.
Jackman is joined by Will Yun Lee, Svetlana Khodchenkova, Hiroyuki Sanada, Hal Yamanouchi, Tao Okamoto, Rila Fukushima and Brian Tee. The Wolverine opens July 26, 2013.