How Jerry Seinfeld Convinced Hugh Jackman To Put His Wolverine Role On Hold

Ever since Hugh Jackman finally ended his reign as the fan-favorite character Wolverine in 2017 with James Mangold's acclaimed, R-rated magnum opus "Logan," speculation has been building as to whether or not he'll ever rock the adamantium claws again. When it debuted, the original "X-Men" film felt like a breath of fresh air for the superhero genre, but in retrospect, the entire franchise has been a little bit of a disappointment. Jackman had tried for years to get something made that truly lived up to the potential of the character and took full advantage of his quality chops (pun intended) as an actor. The abysmal "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" was the result. 

Finally, "Logan" delivered a fully fleshed out, breathtaking spectacle that showed an older, melancholy Wolvie searching for one last chance at redemption. After that success, it must have been difficult for Jackman to hang it up, so he turned to fellow celeb Jerry Seinfeld for advice. That might seem like a strange pairing, but Seinfeld was definitely another A-lister that proved he knew when to step away from an iconic role. "Seinfeld" ended after nine seasons with a fairly disappointing two-part finale, although that wouldn't have stopped NBC from backing up a truck full of cash to ensure the series continued. Jackman has played the role of Wolverine nine times, with a tenth appearance coming up in "Deadpool 3" alongside Ryan Reynolds. Hopefully for Jackman, he won't regret going against Seinfeld's advice to walk away on top.  

Knowing when to say when

On multiple occasions, Jackman has spoken about the epiphany he had after meeting with Jerry Seinfeld when he finally acquiesced to relinquishing the role that made him a household name. It's the kind of conversation that's tailor-made for the light-hearted schmoozing found on "The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon." Jackman shared Seinfeld's sage advice:

"He said, 'Look, when you're creating something, it's very important not to run yourself dry. It's not about finishing on top, necessarily, but making sure that you're, creatively, still got something left, which propels you into whatever's next.'"

At the end of the night, Jackman told his wife, Deborra-Lee Furness, that he was finally prepared to hand over his claws. Originally, the actor's wife advised him to never take on the role in the first place. Russell Crowe was originally offered the role, but the fellow Aussie recommended a then-unknown Jackman, who was starring in a stage version of "Oklahoma" at the time. 

The conversation with Seinfeld actually occurred before "Logan" even began production. Deciding that this was the final appearance of a character he had been playing since 1999, Jackman was determined to get it right. He added, "The next morning I wake up at four in the morning and I record into a voice memo because I had this really strong idea of what to do for the last one." He credited Jerry again with helping him make the decision to retire the part. 

A new life in the MCU

For now, "Logan" remains the best interpretation of the character to date, incorporating elements usually reserved for classic westerns. "Logan" also embraced the signs of decline and aging found in Mark Millar's alternate universe version of Wolverine in the beloved comic "Old Man Logan." When Ryan Reynolds announced that Wolverine would appear once more (we'll see) in "Deadpool 3," the news seemed like it travelled out of some alternate dimension as well. Now that the world of "Deadpool" is officially part of the limitless universe of the MCU, Jackman has been granted a kind of loophole where his Wolverine can exist in another possible timeline. The possibilities are endless and the potential freedom allowed for the character must have convinced Jackman to return. That, and Ryan Reynolds' incessant pleading.   

The merc with a mouth managed to get the scoop even when Jackman is on record telling Howard Stern that he would come on the Stern Show first if he ever decided to come back to Wolverine. "I'll make you a deal –- if I change my mind, I'll tell you guys," he promised. The fact that the bombshell Twitter announcement video ended with Reynolds serenading Jackman with Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You" may have been a factor in Jackman's decision. Marvel probably had a small say in the matter, as well. 

"Deadpool 3" has a tentative release date of November 8, 2024.