Guest Post: Musings on Darren Aronofsky’s departure from The Wolverine… and who should replace him

So late last week, Fox announced that Darren Aronofsky won’t be directing the new Wolverine film. As a fan of Wolverine and the X-Men franchise, this was a huge blow to me. Even though I’ve never read any of the comic books, I was a huge fan of the cartoon show that aired in the 90s. I also enjoyed the first two films quite a bit, not too much with X-Men 3 and the first Wolverine film though. So when Aronofsky said that he’s coming on board to retool the Wolverine movie, I was ecstatic because I think he’s one of the best young filmmakers in Hollywood today and Wolverine is one of my favorite comic book characters right behind Batman.

I thought the first Wolverine film has potentials but the final product was pretty lame. Some of you might even remember that the first film has so much drama behind the scenes too, so maybe Aronofsky didn’t want to deal with Fox executives and decided to just walk away now before he’s knee deep in production and couldn’t get out.

The official statements by Fox and Aronofsky said the shoot was going to be out side of the States and that Aronofsky didn’t want to be away from his family for that long period of time. When I heard that, I didn’t believe it for a second. I will bet anything that Aronofsky left the project because Fox executives won’t let him make the film the way he wants and also they probably gave him a very tight schedule to shoot the picture. I truly believe that Aronofsky wanted to make a very gritty and dark film about Wolverine and Fox executives probably said no, very similar to the first movie.

Fox didn’t like where the movie was going so they ordered the director (Gavin Hood) to make changes so they could market it to younger audiences. Rumor has it that Hood actually walked off the set and veteran director Richard Donner actually was the one who finished directing the movie, Donner’s one of the movie’s producers. I think Aronofsky didn’t want to deal with the stress and just walked away. Now some people will suspect the tragic that’s happening in Japan might have something to do with his decision to leave the movie (the new Wolverine film will take place in Japan), that could be true but I highly doubt it. If they’re so concern about the danger of shooting in Japan, they could go to some other country and shoot it. There are lots of country that can be substitute for Japan, The Last Samurai was in New Zealand.

A few years ago when Singer left X-Men to shoot the new Superman film (Superman Returns), Fox announced that Mathew Vaughn was taking over the franchise. Then a few weeks before shooting begin, both the studio and Vaughn came out saying that he’s leaving the project because he didn’t want to be a way from his family for too long. Sounds similar to last week’s announcement about Aronofsky isn’t it? Here’s the original article where Fox announced Vaughn was leaving X-Men 3. The real reason why Vaughn left the project was because Fox gave him an impossible shooting schedule and they demanded he shoot the film based on the new script, Vaughn wanted to stick with Singer’s original script. Had he or Singer made the film, the main story would’ve been about the Phoenix saga and we’ll finally get to see those giant robots known as The Sentinels, it was seen briefly in beginning of X-Men: Last Stand. Of course we all know what happened, even though Last Stand made a lot of money, I thought the film was quite awful compare to the first two X-Men films.

As of now Fox hasn’t announce who will take over the project yet, I just hope they don’t go and get some of the hacks to finish the job. If they do, you can bet they’ll go after someone like Brett Ratner, Rob Cohen, Stephen Sommers (he was fired from the G.I. Joe sequel so he’s looking for work) and Paul W. Anderson. Since most of my favorite and talented directors are busy with their own projects, I’m afraid Fox might just hired one of those hacks.

But just for fun, these are my ideal candidates to replace Aronofsky: Duncan Jones (Moon), Park Chan-Wook (Oldboy), The Coen Bros. (why not, they haven’t done an action/comic book film yet and this could be very interesting project for them) and Quentin Tarantino.

I know those guys will probably never be on Fox’s list but even if they are, I highly doubt they’ll accept the job. One possible candidate that Fox might actually hire is Bryan Singer, he was in the running to direct the first Wolverine film so maybe he’ll come on board if Fox asks him.

Well, what do you think of Aronofsky’s departure from The Wolverine? Are you as upset as I am and who do you think should fill in the director’s chair for this film?

35 thoughts on “Guest Post: Musings on Darren Aronofsky’s departure from The Wolverine… and who should replace him

  1. I have to admit, I was interested in seeing what Aronofsky could do with this. It doesn’t seem like a usual choice for him and not sure if he really would’ve pulled it off, but it would’ve been interesting.

    Bryan Singer is an alright option. I enjoy all the directors you mentioned before, however, none of them seem to be a right fit for this type of movie. Though Tarantino sounds intriguing.

    I say give it to Matt Reeves.

    1. Ted S.

      Yeah I was very excited to see what Aronofsky could’ve done with the film since it’s something very different from his past films.

      I don’t think any of those directors will be on Fox’s list but even if they are, I highly doubt they’ll accept the job.

      Matt Reeves is a interesting choice, I never seen Cloverfield but recently I just saw Let Me In and I was quite impress by it. He could def be a good fit for this film.

    1. Wolverine should never be a PG-13 anyway. Marvel should release it unde the Dark Knights banner and make it a true representation of the clawed one!!


    2. Ted S.

      If they ever offer the job to Tarantino, there’s no way he’ll make a PG-13 version of this character. Knowing his style of films, he’ll make sure Wolverine slices and dices a bunch of people on screen as much as he could. 🙂

      1. Ahah, yep you’re right. I guess Wolverine would fittingly be a much darker and grittier film, so I think Chan-Wook or Tarantino would be my pick.

        Btw, I hope you like the I made for your byline. I just want to make sure it’s more noticeable so people know this is a guest post 🙂

  2. Fox treats its directors horribly. If your name’s not James Cameron (or even Baz Luhrman), Tom Rothman will micromanage their films to death. That they even managed to come to an agreement with Darren A in the first place is remarkable. I predict they’ll go the ‘Amazing Spider-Man’ route and bring in another young no-name.

    1. Ted S.

      Oh I know, Fox is horrible when it comes to working with filmmakers. If you’re not James Cameron, Steven Spielberg or George Lucas, they’ll treat you like crap. Rothman is a big d-bag, remember Kingdom of Heaven? Ridley Scott wanted a different actor for the lead role but Rothman insisted that he cast pretty boy Orlando Bloom or he won’t finance the picture.

      I was very skeptical when Aronofsky said he was coming on board to direct The Wolverine too, in the back of my mind I thought this will never work and sure enough it happened.

  3. Vince

    I thought Duncan Jones did a splendid job on Moon. I just hope they don’t hire Kevin Smith who wrecked Daredevil. That’s Affleck’s fault as well.

    1. Ted S.

      Oh yeah Jones would be a perfect candidate but I know won’t accept the gig, he said he wants to do smaller pictures first before moving to big budget films. That’s why he turned down a chance to direct the new Superman film.

    2. Kevin Smith didn’t direct Daredevil, but wrote some Daredevil comics instead. Anyway, David Slade (Hard Candy, 30 Days of Night, *cough* one of the Twilight movies *cough*) is now the director of the new Daredevil movie.

  4. “My kinda odds bub!”

    I loved Wolverine as a child. I loved the fact that he was wild and lived life on the edge of good and evil in the comics I read (i still have all the way back to #1 vol 3).

    He never really came out right on film, for me. He for one was way too tall. Needs to be build like a brick sh*t house but only 5′ tall. And he no way said bub enough in the movies hehe

    I would love to see the coens do it. I reckon they could capture the true dark nature of the Logan.

    Nice post Ted!!

    1. Ted S.

      Thanks custard and I agree, Wolverine on films just doesn’t have that meanest you’d expect from the character. That’s why I was upset when Aronofsky left because he said he wanted to bring the animal out of the character and he told Jackman to bulk up for this new Wolverine film. I guess Fox didn’t want that because they couldn’t market the movie towards the teenage crowd.

  5. Park Chan-Wook would be a really gutsy- but really exciting- choice. I only say “gutsy” because he’s not really a “name” director for a lot of the people who’d go see the movie. But I can only imagine what he’d do with that movie. It’d be fantastic.

    1. Ted S.

      Yeah not many film fans here in the states know who Chan-Wook is, so I highly doubt he’ll be on Fox’s radar. But like you said, it would be very gutsy and I’ll be very excited to see his take on Wolverine.

  6. Well that’s Fox for you, they are notorious for interfering on everything unless your name starts with James and ends with Cameron. That’s also why they manage to churn out crap so consistently.

    1. Ted S.

      Exactly, I think Aronofsky left early so there won’t be any bad blood between him and Fox, they distributed the last two of his films, The Wrestler and Black Swan, through their art house film company, Fox Searchlight.

  7. Aronofsky leaving only means good things. For him. Seriously, Aronofsky directing a Wolverine movie at this point wouldn’t mean good things for the picture as much as it would mean bad things for him. I’d argue the same for any of the other directors recommended; I understand the need to have a proven, talented director helming films like Wolverine, but each has better things to do with their time and none of them are at a point where they need to direct a comic book movie to survive or build up some clout. With Black Swan continuing where he left off with The Wrestler, the same can be said of Aronofsky.

    If I were to suggest anyone, it’d be someone like Francis Lawrence, who could probably make something interesting of the material. The problem with nominating a guy like Lawrence is that he’d probably be easily pushed around by Rothman and the film would end up being just as bad as the first one. Basically, my faith in the franchise is shaky so long as the property remains at Fox (though First Class might be the exception to that rule, or perhaps the exception that proves the rule).

    1. Ted S.

      No offense Andrew, but your argument doesn’t make sense to me. So you’re saying you’d rather have some so so director making this movie instead of some very talented one? The reason why I was so upset that Aronofsky left The Wolverine project was because I wanted to see a different take on the character and with his talent we might get to see something very special. Similar to what Nolan did with the Batman films.

      1. Ted, I’d rather see a talented director go off and make his films his way instead of seeing him get jerked around by Fox for the sake of a superhero movie and fanwanking. How does that not make sense? Aronofsky’s better than Wolverine, and as much as I agree that he would have made the material interesting, I doubt that he could have made the film necessary. Meaning that it still would have been a superhero flick, just one directed by Darren Aronofsky. I don’t think we need that. I don’t think we needed the Batman films, either, except for the fact that they probably helped Nolan out with Inception immensely. Maybe there’s a similar argument to be made for Aronofsky, but then again, he’s making films like Black Swan without a need for a payday picture like Wolverine.

        Rich, you’re right about Aronofsky’s films’ financing problems, but at the same time, both The Wrestler and Black Swan not only enjoyed considerable critical acclaim but some significant financial success too. The Wrestler doesn’t have returns quite as impressive as Black Swan, but you’re talking about 6 million and 13 million dollar projects that wound up being profitable as commodities and visionary as art. Swan probably will go a long way toward securing financing for any other modestly budgeted and artistically satisfying films he has up his sleeve in the future. I question whether or not he really needs a Wolverine at all.

        1. Key word being ‘some’. Most studios these days are much less interested in adult dramas than they once were because they know that movies like ‘Wolverine’ will bring in a huge opening weekend, not to mention all the money they’ll get from from ancillary merchandise and home video. Why do you think we’re seeing so many name directors and writers working in cable television now? ‘The Wrestler’ and especially ‘Black Swan’ were successful despite the studios, not because of them, and I suspect Darren A is probably tired of having to beg, borrow and steal to get his very unique films made.

          1. Look, studios are all about the bottom line. The Wrestler cost six mil and made around four times that domestically and around seven times that with international totals included in the mix; Black Swan cost double, but made over one hundred mil domestically and close to three times that worldwide. His two critical darlings were both really profitable, studios care about profits. If he needs to make a studio tentpole picture after Black Swan, I’d be shocked.

            The other thing here is that Wolverine 2 isn’t guaranteed to light up the box office. The first one wasn’t profitable at home, and had to make up the difference overseas and through ancillaries (which I’m man enough to admit it did). That said, American audiences lost their interest in the franchise at Last Stand, and I’d really like to not see Aronofsky’s name associated with a franchise that people don’t really want to see.

            1. I’m not denying that his films were successful. I’m saying that he wants to make money just like the studios do, and a Wolverine movie WILL make more money for him than another ‘Black Swan’-type movie. The first ‘Wolverine’ wasn’t profitable domestically? Neither was ‘Daredevil.’ Neither was ‘Ghost Rider.’ And sequels for those movies are in the works too. Besides, when it comes to summer blockbuster action movies, it’s all about conquering opening weekend anyway, especially when the competition is tougher than ever.

    2. I see where you’re coming from, but consider how difficult it was to not only get ‘Black Swan’ and ‘The Wrestler’ made, but financed. Darren A probably saw ‘Wolverine’ as a big payday for him, and rightly so, because the new Hollywood paradigm looks less like ‘Black Swan’ and more like ‘Wolverine.’

  8. I’m so glad to hear that Aronofsky is off this. I couldn’t believe it when I heard he was involved. I thought the first Wolverine film was one of the worst I had ever seen, and I’m personally not a fan of the X-Men series at all. I guess he realized how bad this decision would have been for his stellar career to date.

    1. Well if you’re not a fan of the series then naturally you don’t enjoy Wolverine. I agree it’s a bad movie but I think the story is intriguing and with the right director it could be a worthy addition to the comic book movies genre. A lot of great directors are tackling superhero movies, so I don’t see that as bad move for someone like Aronofsky. I doubt that the reason he dropped out was because he was concerned about the impact of making this would mean to his career. He probably just have creative differences w/ the studio, just like what Ted’s saying here.

      1. I thought perhaps he could have transformed it into a winning franchise, but I would have thought he’d have been wary of becoming involved in such a mess. Yeah, I think the creative limitations would have been a deal-breaker too. I actually enjoyed the first X-Men film but I found X-2 pretty overrated…and then there was the third one. Ugh! I can’t believe how many comic book adaptations are being released this year. Ridiculous! T

        1. Oh yeah, the third is an abomination, but that’s Brett Ratner’s fault. I have high hopes for X-Men: First Class… if it’s at least on par with the first I’ll be a happy camper.

    1. Ted S.

      Agree with you 100% dirty but as mentioned many times here on the comments section, Fox was just looking at one thing and one thing only and that’s money. If they make a very dark and gritty film, then they couldn’t market it to younger audiences. Too bad though.

  9. yeah, shame Aronofsky left it. coulda been interesting.
    Hugh Jackman should do something else though. he’s the potential to be a damn fine actor. think Aronofsky might have brought out best in him here though

  10. I spent some time thinking about this since you’ve posted it and came up with Jon Favreau! I’d like him to give it a shot! He did a great job with Iron Man. Cowboys and Aliens looks great, and we already know he won’t be returning for Iron Man 3…so he may be freed up!

    Superhero expertise already..Iron Man, Daredevil, etc!

    He could do it!

    My vote: Jon Favreau!

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