Hugh Jackman’s ripped rig became as famous as the character. Image: 20th Century.

Hugh Jackman? More like Hugh JACKED-man. The Australian thespian has confirmed that he is back picking up the weights in an six-month training regime in preparation for his return as Wolverine in Deadpool 3.

Since Jackman first took up the claws way back when in the first X-Men movie released in 2000, the actor has become a benchmark for the kind of extreme physique that leading action men are allegedly required to have these days. As the movies grew in budget, so did the size of Wolverine’s pecs and biceps it seems.

Well before Hemsworth got into a wig and launched his own fitness app that apparently helps him get Thor-ready, Jackman was bulging muscles in places where most of us don’t even realise we have them.

But that was 20 years ago, and Jackman was still in his 30s then. Now, at 54, the actor will no doubt have to tweak the intensity of his regime. According to Jackman, he will undergo a six-month shredding process to prepare for his return as Wolverine. It will be a slow, steady process the actor said in an interview with HBO’s Who’s Talking To Chris Wallace.

“I’ve learned you can’t rush it. I’ve learned that it takes time. So we have six months from when I finish [The Music Man on Broadway] to when I started filming. And I’m not doing any other work. I’m going to be with my family and train. That’s going to be my job for six months.”

Asked about his capacity to regain that level of muscle and what it took originally, Jackman said he did so without the use of steroids – something that has plagued the industry in more recent years. He did it, he said, the old fashioned way: chickens.

“And I tell you, I’ve eaten more chickens — I’m so sorry to all the vegans and vegetarians and to the chickens of the world. Literally the karma is not good for me. If the deity has anything related to chickens, I’m in trouble,” he told Wallace.

The news that he was getting back into shape for the character does come as something of a surprise. For starters, Wolverine died. In the standout film Logan, the beloved Marvel character met a very fitting end to his story – and that Jackman himself was in support of. In 2018 – during press talks for the first Deadpool, ironically – Jackman admitted that it was time for him to step away from the battle-weary role of Wolverine.

How they tend to retrofit this into the next film remains to be seen but no doubt the time travel device from the closing credits in Deadpool 2 will play a part.