After Turmoil, X-Men's 'The Wolverine' Finally Gets A Release Date

A few questionable 20th Century Fox "X-Men" hits and misses aside, the studio never gave up hope that Marvel's iconic Wolverine can still be the best there is at what he does. With the long-suffering sequel "The Wolverine" at last given a July 23, 2013 release date, Hugh Jackman can once more prove Logan is for damn sure better than 2009's "X-Men Origins" effort made him look.

Entertainment Weekly speculates that setting the bullseye 17 months from now must indicate the studio believes the sequel will enter production this year. It's been long rumored and all but confirmed that the sequel will see Wolverine make a pilgrimage to Japan to train under a samurai master, according not only to EW but also the film's IMDB entry. EW previously reported last March that the expected long location shoot steered Aronofsky off the project, fearing too lengthy a time apart from his family.

When Aronofsky made his exit, "3:10 To Yuma" and "Walk The Line" director James Mangold stepped up. Cementing Mangold helped strengthen the project's grip on life, but the negotiations still bumped filming back from starting this past fall. The really, really good news: in keeping with the film's Academy Award-caliber pedigree, Mangold apparently will still work from a script penned by Mark Bomback and "The Usual Suspects" writer Christopher McQuarrie.

Meanwhile, as the public awaits an announced start date, Jackman continues rehearsals for Tom Hooper's movie-musical "Les Miserables," in which he's to lead a star-studded cast as Jean Valjean.

Though a stacked resume doesn't always cut one out for slam-bang action faire, in the realm of superhero movies, it's often an indicator that one can be trusted to bring ample consideration for story and character to the table alongside thrills and mind-blowing visuals. To say Wolverine is a tad rough around the edges is like calling the Pacific a tad damp; still, if "3:10 To Yuma" and "Walk The Line" suggest anything, it's that Mangold can take an outlaw, give him a soul and still project him as one not to be taken lightly. And if this really is tackling Wolverine journeying to Japan to escape his past and train himself from the inside out, fans won't forget that he and McQuarrie took the time to treat their beloved little comic book yarns like stories worthy of being told right.