Darren Aronofsky leaves 'The Wolverine' to focus on family

What does this mean for the Hugh Jackman movie?

<p>Every one of those bodies is a guy who auditioned to replace Aronofsky on 'The Wolverine.'&nbsp; Looks like Hugh is being very particular about what he wants this time, eh?</p>

Every one of those bodies is a guy who auditioned to replace Aronofsky on 'The Wolverine.'  Looks like Hugh is being very particular about what he wants this time, eh?

Credit: 20th Century Fox

And just like that, Aronofsky is off of "The Wolverine" and on to whatever is next.

My guess is he won't be franchise hunting like he was before the release of "Black Swan."  I get it.  When he signed on to do "The Wolverine," Aronofsky was still a filmmaker in need of a hit.  No matter how good his films have been, and I've been a fan of all of them, he was not a money-maker for any of the studios yet, and that can be problematic when you have big-canvass films you want to make.

Him signing on to do "The Wolverine" looked to me like a guy following up several personal choices with a movie that looked like as safe a commercial choice as possible.  I believe he would make a very good "Wolverine" film, particularly with Hugh Jackman aboard, and that he has a real affinity for the material that would result in something honestly exciting.

But since he signed on, "Black Swan" became a legitimate box-office hit.  A huge one.  And for the first time ever, Aronofsky finds himself in a position of strength as he starts trying to develop his next film.  It's like he got all the benefits of making a "Wolverine" movie without having to actually make the film.

The official reason he's giving, according to Variety, is that once they finished scheduling the film, he realized he was going to have to be away from his son for at least a year in order to get the film finished, and that became an unacceptable proposition.  I get that, as well, and if that's his only reason for dropping out, then I can understand it.  Kids at a certain age need the stability of their own home, and it's hard to be away from them because there are so many milestones they reach every day.  Missing any of that can be painful for a parent and I know Aronofsky just well enough to know that he is an actively involved father, someone who takes parenting seriously.

I also have to wonder if right now is the moment to be trying to head to Japan with this franchise, or if there might be delays ahead for this one on more fronts than just finding a new director.

Now that David Slade is on "Daredevil," I wonder who Fox will turn to as their back-up on this one.  After all, they're going to need the approval of Hugh Jackman, and they're going to have to be willing to step in and pick up pre-production with a finished script.  Much of the upfront creative work for "The Wolverine" is already done, and what they need now is someone who can step in and shoot the film that's already been planned.  That's a tough gig in a lot of ways.

Whatever the case, I remain excited about what Aronofsky does next, and I hope that "The Wolverine" comes together as something special, even with another filmmaker at the helm of it.

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