After a series of setbacks that have delayed production, fans of the first X-Men spin-off, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, will be happy to know that the film’s sequel, The Wolverine, looks to be very much back on track.

After director Darren Aronofsky exited the project, because proposed production in Japan would have separated him from his family, James Mangold came on board last summer for 20th Century Fox, with credits that already include the impressive Walk the Line and Girl, Interrupted.

The Wolverine has now finally been given an official release date, report, and we can now all set down 26th July, 2013 in our mental calendars. With an original script from Christopher McQuarrie (The Usual Suspects), and a rewrite from Mark Bomback (Die Hard 4.0, Unstoppable), things are looking pretty good all round.

Hugh Jackman will of course be reprising his role as the eponymous Wolverine/Logan, in a film that finds him,

“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.”

No word yet on who else will be filling out the cast alongside Jackman, but I’m looking forward to the news when it comes, and quietly keeping my fingers crossed for Ken Watanabe taking the role of the girl’s father. I of course haven’t read the script, but Watanabe is amazing, and would be awesome in any role they give him. Not to mention the fact that he’s the best known Japanese actor internationally, and with good reason.

Jackman should first be filming Tom Hooper’s adaptation of Les Misérables opposite Russell Crowe and Anne Hathaway, and The Wolverine should be his next port of call. With a release date now officially set, things are definitely heading in the right direction, and hopefully we’ll have more news to bring you on casting and filming schedules soon.