In his long, painstakingly ceaseless life, Wolverine has gone by many names: Logan. Patch. James Howlett. Captain Canada. Revolto the Clown. But his most recognizable moniker is, of course, Hugh Jackman. Still, Jackman wasn't a given to take on the X-Men hero — a slew of other actors were once in contention for the role...
One of the biggest names to be considered for Wolverine was Jackman's Les Miserables costar-to-be, Russell Crowe. Why'd they opt for Jackman? Maybe on the off chance they ever needed Wolverine to sing...
"I just want my mortality back!" is what Thomas Jane might have muttered, in character as Homeless Dad, were he to have occupied the Wolverine role during his tenure on Arrested Development.
Playing both a mutated immortal with retractable metal claws and a mighty warrior through the kingdoms of Middle Earth would probably take far too epic a toll on any man, even one as great as Viggo Mortensen. As such, we are left with the actor bearing only the credit of Aragorn to his name.
Imagine if Wolverine didn't know he was Wolverine, because he thought Wolverine was actually some other dude he met on an airplane, roomed in a decrepit abandoned house, accompanied in the transformation of human lard into soap, and eventually assisted in the creation of a sweeping cult of mayhem-obsessed lunatics? The first rule of X-Men...
Not even an actor, Glenn Danzig was considered a potential to play the character due to his muscular build and small stature: at only around 5'4", Danzig matched Wolverine's original height in the comic books... but of course, Hollywood favors the tall.
If Gary Sinise had Wolverine's powers of instant cellular reanimation, Lt. Dan Taylor would never have suffered that spirit-killing loss of his legs. Of course, then he might never have joined up with Forrest Gump on the late Bubba's shrimping boat, opened his own shrimp syndicate, invested in Apple, and gotten engaged. So, it kind of worked out in his favor.
Though he may have never played a superhero, Aaron Eckhart did one better: he played a supervillain. While he did not ultimately win the role of Wolverine, Eckhart immortalized the Gotham nightmare that was Two Face in The Dark Knight. So which is better? It's kind of a toss-up.
Dougray Scott was also up for the role of Wolverine. That's pretty much all we have to say about that one.
Another actor far closer to the original comic book character's size, Bob Hoskins might be the most surprising entry on the list of former candidates. We know him best as the Los Angelino detective who cracked the case in Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, but we could envision Hoskins laying down the law upon some unruly Magneto minions as he did to Judge Doom.
Jean-Claude Van Damme
Jean-Claude Van Damme has made a career — nay, a lifestyle — out of smashing things. Lots of things. All the things. Now imagine if he had razor-sharp blades sticking out of his knuckles to abet this habitual smashing. Quite a wonder that would be. Still, no matter the aptitude he or any of his fellow Wolverine potentials might have had, we have to conclude: nobody could do the job as well as Jackman.