With the black and white version of Logan getting a one-night run in theaters this week to help promote its home entertainment release (the film is available now on Digital HD and will be available on Blu-ray, DVD and 4K Ultra HD on May 23), I sat down with director James Mangold to delve into the final Hugh Jackman Wolverine movie one more time. And during our chat, the filmmaker revealed that Logan originally opened on a much darker (if very familiar for comics fans) note…
One of the biggest revelations in Logan was the fact that the X-Men are dead by the time Wolverine and Professor X have gone into hiding in the film. And not just that, but it was their beloved Xavier who accidentally killed them!
It was a stunning development, but also one that had its roots in the comics tale on which the film was based, Old Man Logan. Ultimately, Mangold decided that the actual demise of the mutant super-team should take place off-screen in Logan the movie, but as he explained to me, the slaughter of the X-Men was originally intended to be shown on the big screen as well.
“I literally had written an opening which started with that sequence,” said Mangold. “And so it was quite literal, who was dead. But the reason we didn't do it wasn't to spare other films, it was that it redefined the movie. It made the movie about the X-Men, instead of being about Logan and Charles. And irrevocably, when you read the script opening that way, it became about this other tragedy, as opposed to that tragedy being something hovering like a shadow in the background for these characters.”
In the film, we do hear a radio report indicating that several of the X-Men were killed in an incident in Westchester, New York (home of the X-Mansion), but Mangold says he had a pretty good idea as to which of the members actually went down. In the end though he decided it was best not to “nail it down” so precisely.
Of course, in the Old Man Logan comics the death of the X-Men was brutally depicted. Whereas in the film we learn that Xavier had inadvertently killed his own students due to a degenerative brain disorder that caused him to lose control of his telepathic powers, in the comic Logan himself committed the heinous deed.
Set in an alternate version of Marvel’s Earth (Earth-807128 if you must know), Old Man Logan recounts the time all the supervillains banded together to defeat the heroes and take control of America in one swift stroke. That night, Wolverine confronted what he thought was a cadre of villains invading the X-mansion. After a brutal battle that he seemed to win, Logan realized that it had all been an illusion created by the Spider-Man villain Mysterio. In fact, the bad guys who he thought he had cut down had in fact been his own teammates: the X-Men.
That’s where the comic book version of Old Man Logan’s story really began. But as we know now, the death of the X-Men is also an integral part of the Hugh Jackman version of Logan’s swan song…
Would you like to have seen the scene onscreen, or do you think it works better as is? Let’s discuss!
Talk to Senior Editor Scott Collura on Twitter at @ScottCollura.