With seven films as Wolverine under Hugh Jackman’s belt, talk of passing the torch to a new, younger actor is inevitable. “It would be a little weird [seeing someone else as Wolverine],” Jackman told Yahoo! while promoting X-Men: Days of Future Past. But the actor conceded, “I know it’s going to happen.” Jackman also offered up who he thought would have made a good younger version of the character:
“Originally, when I played it [first], when he was alive God rest his sole [sic], I thought Heath Ledger could be a good young version of [Wolverine].”
Ledger, Jackman’s fellow Aussie, passed away in 2008. Ledger earned a posthumous Academy Award for his portrayal of the Joker in The Dark Knight. I think most people would agree that Ledger’s ability to transform himself would have made him suitable for almost any role.
Looking back at the late actor’s diverse list of credits, however, I’m not sure if another superhero movie would even have interested him. Chris Nolan originally approached Ledger to play Bruce Wayne/Batman in Batman Begins and Ledger flat out said, “I would never take a part in a superhero film.” The world Nolan created with his Dark Knight trilogy is still far removed from all other superhero films, despite the many imitators that have attempted to go “dark and gritty” after the success and acclaim The Dark Knight received. Still, with how rich and intricately plotted the Marvel films have become, perhaps Ledger would have hopped aboard the MCU.
Sadly, we’ll never get to see Ledger on the hero side of a comic book film. As for Jackman, he’ll be suiting up as Wolverine for at least a couple more films with X-Men: Apocalypse and a third Wolverine standalone film both in the works.