The Wolverine
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJames Mangold
Screenplay byMark Bomback
Scott Frank
Produced by
CinematographyRoss Emery
Edited byMichael McCusker
Music byMarco Beltrami
Marvel Entertainment

The Donners' Company
Seed Productions
Hutch Parker Entertainment
Dune Entertainment
Ingenious Media

Big Screen Productions
Distributed by20th Century Fox
Release dates
  • July 24, 2013 (2013-07-24) (Various markets)
  • July 25, 2013 (2013-07-25) (Australia)
  • July 26, 2013 (2013-07-26) (United States)
Running time
126 minutes[2]
CountriesUnited States
Budget$120 million[3][4]
Box office$415,223,838Cite error: A <ref> tag is missing the closing </ref> (see the help page).

The Wolverine is a 2013 American-Australian superhero film featuring the Marvel Comics character Wolverine. It is the sixth installment in the X-Men film series and the second film headlining Wolverine after X-Men Origins: Wolverine in 2009. Hugh Jackman reprises his role from previous films as the title character, with James Mangold directing a screenplay written by Christopher McQuarrie, Scott Frank, and Mark Bomback, based on the 1982 limited series Wolverine by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller. In the film, which follows the events of X-Men: The Last Stand, Logan travels to Japan, where he engages an old acquaintance in a struggle that has lasting consequences. Stripped of his immortality, Wolverine must battle deadly samurai as well as his inner demons.

McQuarrie was hired to write a screenplay for The Wolverine in August 2009. In October 2010, Darren Aronofsky was hired to direct the film. The project was delayed following Aronofsky's departure and the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami in March 2011. In June 2011, Mangold was brought on board to replace Aronofsky. Bomback was then hired to rewrite the screenplay in September 2011. The supporting characters were cast in July 2012 with principal photography beginning at the end of the month in New South Wales before moving to Tokyo in August 2012 and back to New South Wales in October 2012. The film was converted to 3D in post-production.

The Wolverine was released on July 24, 2013 in various international markets; and was released on July 25, 2013 in Australia, and on July 26, 2013 in the United States. The film received generally positive reviews from critics and has been a commercial success. As of November 5,2013 the film has made $415 million at the worldwide box office contrary to a budget of $120 million.


In 1945, Logan, the Wolverine, is held in a Japanese POW camp near Nagasaki. During the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, Logan rescues an officer named Yashida and shields him from the blast.

In the present day, Logan lives as a hermit in the Yukon, tormented by hallucinations of Jean Grey, whom he was forced to kill at the end of X-Men: The Last Stand. He is located by Yukio, a mutant with the precognitive ability to foresee people's deaths, on-behalf of Yashida, now the CEO of a technology corporation. Yashida, who is dying of cancer, wants Logan to accompany Yukio to Japan so that he may repay his life debt.

In Tokyo, Logan meets Yashida's son, Shingen, and granddaughter, Mariko. There, Yashida offers to transfer Logan's healing abilities into his own body, thus saving Yashida's life and alleviating Logan of his immortality, which Logan views as a curse. Logan refuses and prepares to leave the following day. That night, Yashida's physician Dr. Green (aka Viper) introduces something into Logan's body, but Logan dismisses it as a dream.

The next morning, Logan is informed that Yashida has died. At the funeral, Yakuza gangsters attempt to kidnap Mariko, but Logan and Mariko escape together into the urban sprawl of Tokyo. Logan is shot and his wounds do not heal as quickly as they should. After fighting off more Yakuza on a bullet train, Logan and Mariko hide in a local love hotel. Meanwhile, Yashida's bodyguard Harada meets with Dr. Green who, after demonstrating her mutant powers on him, demands he find Logan and Mariko.

Logan and Mariko travel to Yashida's house in Nagasaki, and the two slowly fall for each other. Meanwhile, Yukio has a vision of Logan dying, and goes to warn him. Before Yukio arrives, Mariko is captured by Yakuza. After interrogating one of the kidnappers, Logan and Yukio confront Mariko's fiance, corrupt Minister of Justice Noburo Mori. Mori confesses that he conspired with Shingen to have Mariko killed because Yashida left control of the company to Mariko, and not Shingen.

Mariko is brought before Shingen at Yashida's estate when ninjas led by Harada attack and whisk her away. Logan and Yukio arrive later and, using Yashida's X-ray machine, discover a robotic parasite attached to Logan's heart, suppressing his healing ability. Logan cuts himself open and extracts the device. During the operation, Shingen attacks but Yukio holds him off long enough for Logan to recover and stop him.

Logan follows Mariko's trail to the village of Yashida's birth, where he is captured by Harada's ninjas. Logan is placed in a machine by Dr. Green, who reveals her plans to extract his healing factor and introduces him to the Silver Samurai, an electromechanical suit of Japanese armour with energized swords made of adamantium. Mariko escapes from Harada, who believes he is acting in Mariko's interests, and manages to free Logan from the machine. Harada sees the error of his ways and is killed by the Silver Samurai while helping Logan escape.

Meanwhile, Yukio arrives and kills Dr. Green as Logan fights the Silver Samurai. The Silver Samurai severs Logan's adamantium claws and begins to extract Logan's healing abilities, revealing himself to be Yashida, who had faked his death. Yashida starts to regain his youth, but Mariko intervenes and stabs Yashida with Logan's severed claws while Logan regenerates his bone claws and finishes off Yashida. Logan collapses and has one final hallucination of Jean, in which he decides to finally let go of her.

Mariko becomes CEO of the Yashida Corporation and bids farewell to Logan as he prepares to leave Japan. Yukio vows to stay by Logan's side as his bodyguard, and they depart to places unknown.

In a mid-credits scene, Logan returns to America after two years and is found at the airport by Magneto and Professor Xavier, who warn him that a grave new threat to the mutant race is coming (foreshadowing X-Men: Days of Future Past).


Additionally, Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen reprise their roles as Professor Charles Xavier and Magneto in cameo appearances during the mid-credits scene.



"There are so many areas of that Japanese story, I love the idea of this kind of anarchic character, the outsider, being in this world - I can see it aesthetically, too - full of honor and tradition and customs and someone who’s really anti-all of that, and trying to negotiate his way. The idea of the samurai, too - and the tradition there. It’s really great. In the comic book he gets his ass kicked by a couple of samurai - not even mutants. He’s shocked by that at first."

—Hugh Jackman[17]

In September 2009, Gavin Hood, director of X-Men Origins: Wolverine, speculated that there would be a sequel, which would be set in Japan.[18] During one of the post credits scenes Logan is seen drinking at a bar in Japan. Such a location was the subject of Chris Claremont and Frank Miller's 1982 limited series on the character, which was not in the first film as Jackman felt "what we need to do is establish who [Logan] is and find out how he became Wolverine".[19][20] Jackman stated the Claremont-Miller series is his favorite Wolverine story.[21] Of the Japanese arc, Jackman also stated, "I won’t lie to you, I have been talking to writers... I’m a big fan of the Japanese saga in the comic book."[17] Before X-Men Origins: Wolverine's release, Lauren Shuler Donner approached Simon Beaufoy to write the script, but he did not feel confident enough to commit.[22] On May 5, 2009, just four days after its initial weekend run, the sequel was officially confirmed.[23]

Christopher McQuarrie, who went uncredited for his work on X-Men, was hired to write the screenplay for the Wolverine sequel in August 2009.[24] According to Shuler-Donner, the sequel would focus on the relationship between Wolverine and Mariko, the daughter of a Japanese crime lord, and what happens to him in Japan. Wolverine would have a different fighting style due to Mariko's father having "this stick-like weapon. There'll be samurai, ninja, katana blades, different forms of martial arts - mano-a-mano, extreme fighting." She continued: "We want to make it authentic so I think it's very likely we'll be shooting in Japan. I think it's likely the characters will speak English rather than Japanese with subtitles."[25] In January 2010, at the People's Choice Awards, Jackman stated that the film would start shooting sometime in 2011,[26] and in March 2010 McQuarrie declared that the screenplay was finished for production to start in January the following year.[27] Sources indicated Darren Aronofsky was in negotiations to direct the film[28] after Bryan Singer turned down the offer.[29]


"If you have a hero who can't be hurt, there's only one way to create stakes or jeopardy, and that's to put people he cares about in harm's way. And, not unlike the amnesia thing, that can get tired really fast... I think there's so much to mine in Logan without robbing him of self-knowledge. What I wanted to present to the audience was, what is it like to feel a prisoner in a life you cannot escape? You accumulate pain and loss, and keep that with you as you keep on going."

—James Mangold[30]

In October 2010, Jackman confirmed that Aronofsky would direct the film.[8] Jackman commented that with Aronofsky directing, Wolverine 2 will not be "usual" stating, "This is, hopefully for me, going to be out of the box. It's going to be the best one, I hope... Well, I would say that, but I really do feel that, and I feel this is going to be very different. This is Wolverine. This is not Popeye. He's kind of dark... But, you know, this is a change of pace. Chris McQuarrie, who wrote The Usual Suspects, has written the script, so that'll give you a good clue. [Aronofsky's] going to make it fantastic. There's going to be some meat on the bones. There will be something to think about as you leave the theater, for sure".[8] Also in October it was reported that the film would begin principal photography in March 2011 in New York City before the production moves to Japan for the bulk of shooting.[31]

While Jackman in 2008 characterized the film as "a sequel to Origins",[32] Aronofsky in November 2010 said the film, now titled The Wolverine, was a "one-off" rather than a sequel.[33] Also in November, Fox Filmed Entertainment sent out a press release stating that they have signed Darren Aronofsky and his production company Protozoa Pictures to a new two-year, overall deal. Under the deal, Protozoa would develop and produce films for both 20th Century Fox and Fox Searchlight Pictures. Aronofsky’s debut picture under the pact would have been The Wolverine.[34]

In March 2011, Darren Aronofsky bowed out of directing the film, saying in a statement, "As I talked more about the film with my collaborators at Fox, it became clear that the production of The Wolverine would keep me out of the country for almost a year.... I was not comfortable being away from my family for that length of time. I am sad that I won't be able to see the project through, as it is a terrific script and I was very much looking forward to working with my friend, Hugh Jackman, again".[35] Fox also decided to be "in no rush" to start the production due to the damage incurred in Japan by the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami.[36] Despite this, Jackman said the project was moving ahead. "It's too early to call on Japan, I'm not sure where they're at. So now we're finding another director, but Fox is very anxious to make the movie and we're moving ahead full steam to find another director".[37]

James Mangold at the 2013 San Diego Comic Con International.

In May 2011, Fox had a list of eight candidates to replace Aronofsky, including directors José Padilha, Doug Liman, Antoine Fuqua, Mark Romanek, Justin Lin, Gavin O'Connor, James Mangold and Gary Shore.[38] In June 2011, Fox entered negotiations with Mangold and intended to start principal photography in fall 2011.[39] In July 2011, Jackman said he planned to begin filming in October 2011 and that he'll fight the Silver Samurai.[40]

In August 2011, The Vancouver Sun reported that filming would take place from November 11, 2011 to March 1, 2012 at the Canadian Motion Picture Park in Burnaby, British Columbia.[41] Almost immediately, filming was postponed to spring 2012 so Jackman could work on Les Misérables.[42] In September, Mark Bomback was hired to rewrite McQuarrie's script.[43] At one point, Bomback tried to work Rogue into the script, but he rejected it for being "goofy" and "problematic".[44] In February 2012, a July 26, 2013, release date was set,[45] and in April, filming was set to begin in August 2012 in Australia, which would serve as the primary location due to financial and tax incentives.[46]

In July 2012, actors Hiroyuki Sanada, Hal Yamanouchi, Tao Okamoto and Rila Fukushima had been cast as Shingen, Yashida, Mariko and Yukio, respectively.[11] Additionally, Will Yun Lee was cast as Harada, and Brian Tee as Noburo Mori.[15] Also in July 2012, it was reported that Jessica Biel would play Viper.[47] However, at the 2012 San Diego Comic-Con International Biel said her role in the film was "not a done deal", explaining, "People keep talking about this. I don't know anything about it. It's a little bit too soon for that kind of an announcement".[48] A few days later, negotiations between Biel and 20th Century Fox had broken down.[49] Later in July, Fox had begun talks with Svetlana Khodchenkova to take over the role.[14] Somewhat unusually for action movies, The Wolverine features four female lead roles and "passes the Bechdel Test early and often", according to Vulture. Director James Mangold noted that he wrote his heroines so that "they all have missions. They all have jobs to do other then be the object of affection", intent of avoiding the "worn out" trope of the woman in jeopardy.[50]

In August 2012, Guillermo del Toro revealed he had been interested in directing the film, as the Japanese arc was his favorite Wolverine story.[51] After meeting with Jim Gianopulos and Hugh Jackman, del Toro passed, deciding he did not wish to spend two to three years of his life working on the movie.[51]


Crew of The Wolverine working on the film set in Surry Hills, Sydney.

On a production budget of $120 million,[3] principal photography began on July 30, 2012.[52] Some of the earliest scenes were shot at the Bonna Point Reserve in Kurnell, New South Wales, which doubled as a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp.[52] Filming there ended on August 2, 2012, with production scheduled to continue around Sydney followed by a few weeks in Japan before wrapping up in mid-November.[53] On August 3, 2012, production moved to Picton, which doubled as a town in Canada's Yukon region.[54]

On August 25, 2012, director James Mangold said that production moved to Tokyo and began shooting.[55] Scenes were shot at the Tokyo Tower and the Zojoji Temple, which was used for a funeral scene.[56] On September 4, 2012, filming took place outside Fukuyama Station in Fukuyama, Hiroshima.[57] Filming in Tomonoura, a port in the Ichichi ward of Fukuyama, concluded on September 11, 2012.[58]

On October 8, 2012, production returned to Sydney with filming on Erskine Street near Cockle Bay.[59] The following week, the film shot in Parramatta, which doubled as a Japanese city.[60] Also in October, Mangold revealed that the film follows the events of X-Men: The Last Stand, saying, "Where this film sits in the universe of the films is after them all. Jean Grey is gone, most of the X-Men are disbanded or gone, so there’s a tremendous sense of isolation for him [Wolverine]."[61] Mangold later stated that in the fight scenes, "there's an urgency and a kind of intensity and hand to hand physicality that I hope is a little different than everything else out there."[7] On October 25, 2012 production relocated to Sydney Olympic Park in western Sydney.[62] The set was made into a Japanese village draped in snow with filming beginning on November 1, 2012.[63] On November 10, 2012, filming took place on a back street in Surry Hills. The set, constructed on Brisbane St., was transformed to look like a Japanese street with Japanese signage and vehicles scattered throughout.[64] Principal photography concluded on November 21, 2012.[65]

Reshoots took place in Montreal, including the credits scene where Magneto and Professor X warn Wolverine of a new threat.[66]


Original plate (top), animation pass (center) and the completed shot of the Silver Samurai (bottom).

In October 2012, it was reported that The Wolverine would be converted to 3D, making it the first 3D release for one of Twentieth Century Fox's Marvel films.[67] Visual effects for the film were completed by Weta Digital, Rising Sun Pictures (RSP), Iloura, and Shade VFX.[68]

In order to recreate the atomic bombing of Nagasaki, RSP studied natural phenomena such as volcanoes, instead of relying on archived footage of atomic blasts, and recreated the effects digitally. They also replaced the Sydney cityscape on the horizon with views of Nagasaki. The walking bear featured in the Yukon scenes was created with computer graphics by Weta Digital, while Make-Up Effects Group built a 12 foot tall animatronic bear, that was used for shots of the creature dying after it had been hit by poisoned arrows fired by hunters.[69]

For a fight scene taking place on top of a speeding bullet train, the actors and stunt performers filmed on wires above a set piece surrounded by a greenscreen. The moving background, filmed on an elevated freeway in Tokyo, was added later. Weta Digital visual effects supervisor Martin Hill said the team adopted a "Google Street View method", explaining "But instead of having a big panoramic cam on top of a van, we built a rig that had eight 45 degree angle Red Epic [cameras] that gave us massive resolution driving down all the massive lanes of the freeway. We let a bit of air out of the tires of the van and kept a constant 60 kilometers an hour. So if we shot at 48 fps we just needed to speed up the footage by 10 times to give us the 300 kilometers an hour required."[69]

The Silver Samurai, rendered by Weta Digital, was based on a model that had been 3D printed and chrome painted using electrolysis. Stunt performer Shane Rangi, wearing a motion capture suit, stood on stilts while filming as the Silver Samurai. Rangi's performance was then used to animate the digital character. Hill said the main challenge was creating the Silver Samurai's highly reflective surface, "He's pretty much chrome. We were worried that he was going to look incredibly digital and that it was going to be very hard to make him look solid and real and not just like a mirrored surface."[69]

The original assembly cut of the film ran around two hours and 35 minutes.[70]


In September 2012, Marco Beltrami, who previously collaborated with director James Mangold on 3:10 to Yuma for which he was nominated for an Academy Award, announced that he had signed on to score The Wolverine.[71] Following Mangold's noir and Spaghetti Western inspirations for the film, Beltrami explained, "I think I do every movie as a western whether it is or not, so there’s definitely some of the spaghetti western influence on my music throughout the score, and I guess throughout a lot of my work. I wouldn’t say there was a particular movie that influenced me more than something else. There was nothing that I was trying to mimic or anything."[72] On associating sounds with the film's primary location, Beltrami said, "I think the last thing that Jim [Mangold] and I wanted to do was Japanese music associated with Japanese places. There's a reference; I do use Japanese instruments, [but] not really in a traditional way."[73]

Track listing

All music is composed by Marco Beltrami

1."A Walk in the Woods"1:02
2."Threnody for Nagasaki"1:15
4."Logan's Run"3:56
5."The Offer"3:15
6."Arriving at the Temple"2:10
7."Funeral Fight"4:22
8."Two Handed"4:04
9."Bullet Train"1:31
10."The Snare"1:32
13."Ninja Quiet"3:40
14."Kantana Surgery"3:50
15."The Wolverine"2:21
16."The Hidden Fortress"5:02
17."Silver Samurai"3:27
18."Sword of Vengeance"4:32
20."Goodbye Mariko"1:01
21."Where To?"2:25
22."Whole Step Haiku"2:08
iTunes bonus track


The Wolverine was released in 2D and 3D theaters on July 24, 2013, in various international markets, on July 25, 2013 in Australia, and on July 26, 2013 in the United States.[74] The film was titled Wolverine: Immortal in Spanish-language markets.[75] The film premiered in Japan on September 13, 2013 under the title Wolverine: Samurai (ウルヴァリン: SAMURAI, Uruvarin Samurai).[76]


Hugh Jackman at the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con International, promoting The Wolverine.

On October 29, 2012, director James Mangold and actor Hugh Jackman hosted a live chat from the set of the film. The chat took place on the official website and the official YouTube account of the film.[77]

The first American trailer and international trailer of The Wolverine were released on March 27, 2013.[78] Empire Magazine said "This is all very encouraging stuff from director James Mangold, a man who's obviously not afraid of tweaking the original source material to serve his own ends."[79] The trailer was later attached to G.I. Joe: Retaliation.[80] The second American trailer was then released on April 18, 2013 and was screened at CinemaCon in Las Vegas, Nevada.[81]

The third American trailer was released on May 21, 2013[82] and then on June 13, 2013, the second international trailer was released.[83]

On July 20, 2013, 20th Century Fox presented The Wolverine along with Dawn of the Planet of the Apes and X-Men: Days of Future Past to the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con with Jackman and Mangold in attendance to present new footage of the film.[84]

20th Century Fox partnered with automotive company Audi to promote the film with their sports car Audi R8 and their motorcycle Ducati.[85] Other partners included sugar-free chewing gum brand 5 and casual dining restaurant company Red Robin.[86]

Home media

The Wolverine will be released on DVD, Blu-ray and Blu-ray 3D on December 3, 2013.[87] The Blu-ray set will also include an exclusive unrated extended cut of the film.[88]


Critical response

The Wolverine has received generally positive reviews among critics. Template:Rotten Tomatoes score It has a score of 60 out of 100 at Metacritic, based on 43 reviews.[89] CinemaScore polls reported that the average grade cinemagoers gave for the film was an "A-".[90]

Richard Roeper gave it a grade of "B+", praising Jackman's performance as "strong, solid entertainment" and "a serious, sometimes dark and deliberately paced story."[91] Christy Lemire, writing for the website of the late Roger Ebert, said that the film "features some breathtakingly suspenseful action sequences, exquisite production and costume design and colorful characters, some of whom register more powerfully than others."[92] Variety film critic Peter Debruge called the film "an entertaining and surprisingly existential digression from his usual X-Men exploits. Though Wolvie comes across a bit world-weary and battle-worn by now, Jackman is in top form, taking the opportunity to test the character’s physical and emotional extremes. Fans might’ve preferred bigger action or more effects, but Mangold does them one better, recovering the soul of a character whose immortality made him tiresome."[93] James Buchanan of TV gave it 3 out of 4 stars, calling it "A rare comic-to-film adaptation that doesn't sacrifice substance for the sake of thrilling action."[94] IGN praised the film giving it an 8.5 out of 10[95] and stated, "The Wolverine is a stand alone adventure for the classic character that reminds us that there's more to this genre than universe-building and crossovers. ... [The] story paints a deep and compelling portrait of Logan, a haunted character that Jackman still finds new ways to play all these years later."[96] Peter Travers of Rolling Stone felt that despite the film's final act "sink[ing] into CGI shit", Jackman's performance "still has the juice" and Mangold's directing "shows style and snap."[97]

The Guardian however blasted the film, giving it 2 out of 5 stars and stating, "Hugh Jackman's sixth time out in the claws and hair combo is looking increasingly wearied, as the backstory gets more complicated and the action gets duller and flatter."[98] The New York Daily News offered a similar view, saying "Hugh Jackman has the role of the mutant superhero down pat, but the rest of the film is the same old slice and dice."[99]

Box office

Along with the improvements in critical reception, The Wolverine has outgrossed Origins in box office returns. As of November 3, 2013, "The Wolverine has grossed $132,357,109 in North America and $281,200,000 in other countries, for a worldwide total of $413,557,109.[4] The film earned $139.6 million on its worldwide opening weekend.[100] When compared to the rest of the X-Men film franchise, The Wolverine has garnered somewhat mixed results in terms of box office success. While its domestic gross is greater than the production budget, it's still lower than other five films of the franchise, with it's domestic box office total being roughly $45.4 million less than the franchise's average. However, its overseas total currently exceeds the franchise's average by roughly $74.8 million and is significantly more than any of the other X-Men films. With a worldwide total of roughly $413.6 million, The Wolverine is the second highest grossing film of the franchise.[101]

Outside North America

The film topped the box office on its opening weekend with $86.5 million from 100 countries. The film achieved the highest opening of the franchise, passing X-Men: The Last Stand's $76.2 million opening.[102][103]

North America

In North America, the film opened at the top of the box office on its opening day, with $20.7 million, with $4 million coming from Thursday late night showings.[104][105] It held onto to the number one spot through its first weekend, with $53,113,752, which is the lowest opening of the series.[102]


Both Mangold and Jackman are set to make a sequel to the 2013 film.[106]


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Further reading