Hugh Jackman will be returning to the big screen next summer in the follow-up to 2009’s X-Men: Origins – Wolverine.

Though the film wasn’t as much of a critical success as the more recent X-Men: First Class (which was immense), I’m still a fan of the first Wolverine standalone film, and am eagerly looking forward to the sequel.

The film has had some troubles getting off the ground, but since James Mangold signed on as director last summer, things seem to finally be moving in the right direction. now report that four Japanese actors have come on board the project alongside Jackman.

Hiroyuki Sanada (The Last Samurai, Rush Hour 3) will star as Shingen, Hal Yamanouchi (Push) as Yashida, and newcomers Tao Okamoto and Rila Fukushima as Mariko and Yukio, respectively.

And added to that, Variety have announced that Will Yun Lee is set to play the villain, Silver Samurai / Kenuichio Harada, the illegitimate son of Sanada’s Shingen.

Though I admit I’m not up to scratch on my X-Men / Wolverine lore, Wikipedia tells me that Shingen Yashida (first name Yashida, last name Shingen), a.k.a. Lord Shingen, is the father of Mariko, and he was once a foe of Wolverine.

So it looks like the brilliant Sanada will be playing Lord Shingen, with Okamoto playing his daughter and Jackman’s love interest, and Yun Lee his son, since this was the last synopsis we had:

“beginning a forbidden romance with a Japanese woman whose hand in marriage is, unfortunately, promised to another man. Since Logan won’t take “no” for an answer, it puts him into battle with her father and her samurai-sword-wielding brothers and Silver Samurai.”

Christopher McQuarrie (The Usual Suspects) penned the original script, with Mark Bomback (Die Hard 4.0) doing the re-write, and now that Jackman has finished up shooting Les Misérables, The Wolverine should be getting underway soon.

So for anyone who wasn’t happy that Hollywood was re-casting the Akira remake with largely American actors (I personally though the cast looked immense, especially with Ken Watanabe as the proposed villain), it looks like The Wolverine will be taking a very different tack, which is nice to hear.

Anything that gains Hiroyuki Sanada more recognition is excellent in my eyes. He’ll next be seen alongside Keanu Reeves in 47 Ronin come February, 2013, which sounds like it should be brilliant, too.

The Wolverine is set for release on 26th July, 2013, with production due to begin next month. Expect good things, and a massive ad campaign to follow later this year right up until next summer. More as we get it.