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The X-Men movie series is celebrating its 17th anniversary this year with Logan, the third Wolverine movie that makes the departure of Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine and Patrick Stewart’s Professor Charles Xavier. After nearly two decades, the franchise is one of the primary staples of the modern superhero movie era. However, getting the X-Men to the big screen didn’t happen overnight. Long before director Bryan Singer helmed the first X-Men movie, the project went through various treatments stretching back to the 1980s. Had an X-Men movie managed to get going in the latter part of that decade, X-Men comics writer Chris Claremont was keen on having Bob Hoskins and Angela Bassett to play Wolverine and Storm, respectively.

If you look back on the writers and artists who have worked on the X-Men comics since the team’s debut in 1963, Chris Claremont ranks high on the list, having written various X-Men titles for over 30 years. Along with his comic book duties way back when, Claremont was directly working on getting an X-Men film adaptation off the ground, and in a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, he talked about how Bob Hoskins and Angela Bassett were his main choices for Wolverine and Storm, and even went into detail about why Hoskins was a particularly good pick. He said:

At the same time, when I was looking at the pairing of Ororo [X-Men’s Storm] and Logan, to me it seemed perfectly rational to have Angela Bassett and Bob Hoskins, because the image I had of Hoskins was from the films he made in England where they emphasized, in terms of his character, the harshness, the Cockney, the brutality of him.

Surely there’s an alternate reality out there where an X-Men movie was released in the late ’80s/early ’90s period, and Chris Claremont’s dream of having both Bob Hoskins and Angela Bassett on board came true. Claremont added that it was the movie Lassiter, which also starred Tom Selleck, which convinced him that Hoskins was the right man for Wolverine. No doubt many fans agree with him, because not only could Hoskins have properly channeled the rage and ferocity necessary to play the clawed mutant, but his height was also closer to how Wolverine was depicted in the comics. Claremont’s vision for that X-Men big screen adaptations never came to pass, but fortunately, a decade later, he was impressed by Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine performance, as well as all the other X-Men movie castings.

While Bob Hoskins never had a chance to contribute to the superhero movie world before his death in 2014, Angela Bassett will finally get to jump into that genre next year, as she’s appearing in Black Panther as Ramonda, T’Challa’s mother. Regarding the X-Men franchise, with Hugh Jackman’s exit after Logan, it’s unclear what Wolverine’s status will be in this series afterwards, though given his popularity, it’s likelier a matter of when he’ll be recast rather than if. As for Storm, while Halle Berry played the character in four movies, Alexandra Shipp took the reins last year in X-Men: Apocalypse, and while not confirmed, presumably she’ll return for the follow-up, which is reportedly called X-Men: Supernova.

March 1, 2017

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