There can never be enough filmed adventures about bearded mutants with retractable adamantium claws, and James Mangold might be game to keep helping the cause. 20th Century Fox is looking to strike a deal with the director following this summer’s The Wolverine, Mangold’s first comic book movie, which grossed an impressive $413 million worldwide, $132 million of that domestically. That makes it the second-highest-earning X-Men project, falling just behind 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand. Before taking Darren Aronofsky’s spot at The Wolverine’s helm, Mangold was a stylistic dabbler, ranging from Walk the Line to Kate & Leopold to Cop Land to Girl, Interrupted. So while it’s easy to imagine Mangold yearning to cut loose and make a small drama or a non-superhero actioner, it’s harder to imagine someone not wanting to reteam with Australia’s most effervescent gentleman-badass.
“Mangold is making a deal to write the treatment, with X-Men franchise matriarch Lauren Shuler Donner producing,” Deadline writes. The story line is top-secret, but why not assume it’ll use X-Men: Days of Future Past as a jumping-off point? When that all-star (yet Kelsey Grammer–less) affair premieres next summer, Jackman will have played Wolverine six times since 2000. (The First Class cameo did not qualify for my mysterious criteria.) Back in August, Jackman was reportedly mulling a $100 million deal to reprise the role four more times, a rumor he quickly laughed off. “I would never do that,” Jackman told EW. “I’ve never done that mainly because, for the fans and for me, each time I’ve gone around there’s been a really good reason to do it and I don’t know what that reason is from here. I’m in the middle of making [Days of Future Past] and I just promoted the other and I’m really happy with the way The Wolverine came out.” Notice he didn’t say, “Never will I ever make at least one more movie about a bearded mutant with retractable adamantium claws.”