Chris Claremont is a living legend in the comic book industry and has created or co-created 221 characters to date. He is most famous, however, for being the "foster father" to Len Wein's creation - Wolverine.
Wein created Wolverine - along with X-favorites Colossus, Storm, Nightcrawler and Thunderbird - before handing the reins to Claremont the issue after they were introduced.
Claremont would not let go of the x-titles for nearly 17 years, shaping the characters as they are now known in comics, film and, video games - but Wolverine remains by far the most popular.
"I would have to say the reason for that is luck of the draw," Claremont said modestly in an exclusive interview. "It took a confluence of reader popularity back when the X-Men was just a comic book franchise and the extraordinary synergy of Hugh Jackman as the character in the film franchise."
"In the original concept of the (first) 'X-Men' film, I don't think Bryan Singer or even Lauren Shuler Donner anticipated that Logan would be such a standout - especially in a film with so many other strong, definitive performers as part of the team," Claremont continued. "I mean, going from Ian McKellen to Patrick Stewart to Halle Berry, you're not talking about secondary people there. So, to have Hugh Jackman literally walk out on screen and have your eyes lock onto him right off the bat - in much, the same way, as the character in the comics did...I mean, he just jumped up off the page and made readers embrace him."
"As any creator with good sense would do, you just follow along," Claremont said. "Much like Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Sherlock Holmes, when things reach that degree of solidity and prominence, you don't argue with that. You just don't."
With Jackman now portraying Claremont's most famous "foster child" on screen for the ninth and possibly last time, Claremont said he couldn't be more pleased with the Australian actor's portrayal of Wolverine.
"I think, without a doubt, he is everything in person that one could think of - that I could think of - when writing the character in the comics," Claremont said. "In very primal ways, Hugh has taken the character and made it his own."
"I couldn't really see any other actor taking over the role," Claremont continued. "In the same respect, I couldn't see a Roger Moore taking over for Sean Connery - or even a Daniel Craig taking over for Sean Connery almost 50 years down the line. I can't see, in my head at this point, any other actor portraying Logan on the screen that would ring as true for me and the audience as Hugh Jackman."
"I'm sure Fox will probably try to find someone - and I'm sure they'll make a brilliant choice," he adds. "But at this stage of the game, I can't see anyone else filling those shoes - and I really don't want to."
Of course, Claremont addresses the inherent difficulty in keeping Jackman's Logan young onscreen versus the comics.
"The real frustration is that, on paper, it's simply a matter of finding an artist who can draw the character really, really well and present him evocatively to the audience," Claremont said. "Whereas, onscreen, I remember seeing them shoot Days of Future Past (the 2014 X-Men film) and when Hugh was in a scene Bryan Singer would yell, 'Cut!', Hugh would come off set...and just pick up two hand weights - and do 5 minutes of intense lifts with them! This way, when Bryan set up the scene to reshoot, Hugh looked as buff and powerful and awesome as could be managed!"
"When you think that he would go through this for 30 or 50 days or however long the shoot was and then, 2 or 3 years later, have to do it all over again - and he's been doing this..almost 20 years!"
"That's remarkably impressive," Claremont added. "Plus, I think there are a couple of scenes in 'Logan' where you can see the effect of reality - as in aging - on his physical form to an extent that you don't see it in the comics, because there's no need to show it in a comic. The reality is that people, like it or not, get older - and comic book characters can stay young forever."
As for Jackman's final role as Wolverine in Logan?
"I am far too biased a person to give that a fair answer, because I have my own creative vision as to what a 'Logan' swan song might be - and it follows my vision of the character and visions of the story of his life," he said. "Whereas Logan exemplifies a perspective of a traditional and corporate vision, which is - different."
"So, I guess my comment on Logan is that, as always, it is wonderful to see Jackman bring the character to life. It's wonderful to see Patrick Stewart bring Charlie (Professor X) to life," Claremont concludes. "Everything else ... I would say, 'Let the viewers make their own decisions.' I certainly hope they will be excited and entertained, but I'm not gonna address that issue for them."