By now, everyone knows that Logan is Hugh Jackman’s last go-round as Wolverine. It’s tough to see him go — he’s arguably the protagonist of the original X-Men trilogy and was always a welcome presence in the new crop of movies, but he’s a big star now, and Logan is a tone-perfect way to round out his career as that character. Now, the question becomes: who, if anyone, will take his place? The X-Men series will still continue for at least one more movie, and there are a number of spinoffs in the works, so Wolverine will have to reappear somehow, right?
There’s a lot that goes into making a movie that’s easy to take for granted. Every shot requires a ton of work behind the scenes in post-production to get the color and sound and everything else just right, which sometimes requires actors to come back for key scenes. No, I’m not talking about dreaded reshoots, I’m talking about ADR — automated dialogue replacement. And the ADR for Logan was… well, it was something else.
Logan is, first and foremost, a Wolverine movie. It’s also a western, a poignant character study, a story of a man reconciling with the inevitable, and a really great farewell for Hugh Jackman — and also maybe Patrick Stewart’s Professor X. Like the titular hero, Charles Xavier is quite different when we meet him again in Logan, haunted by a mysterious incident that is never fully explained, much to the film’s benefit. Director James Mangold would agree, as he’s revealed that the original script didn’t just allude to the incident, it actually showed it, which would have made for a much different film.
My recent list of the most dated parts of the original X-Men movie included things like Hugh Jackman’s comparatively non-huge, non-jacked-man physique, Wolverine’s non-stop smoking, and the heroes’ black leather costumes. The list also included the relative lack of Easter eggs; even with about ten major roles in the film, the first X-Men movie is, at least by contemporary standards, a small movie. There’s no sense of a wider Marvel Universe beyond the edges of the frame, there’re few appearances by (or references to) other mutants, and there’s no post-credits scene to tease future films. It is a movie unto itself.
You probably know that Logan is based on the Marvel Comics series “Old Man Logan” by Mark Millar and Steve McNiven. But did you know that Logan really came together when Hugh Jackman woke up in the middle of the night after a long conversation (and a few drinks) about Wolverine with Chappie director Neill Blomkamp? Jackman recorded a voice memo on his phone of what he wanted the movie to look like and eventually that became Logan. That’s just one of the facts featured in the newest episode of You Think You Know Movies!
The internet’s movie rumormongers did get a few things right about Logan, Hugh Jackman’s third and supposedly final solo Wolverine movie. They did correctly predict that Logan’ female clone, X-23, would co-star in the film. They also anticipated that the movie would be loosely based on a Marvel Comics storyline called “Old Man Logan.” Of course, after that rumor was initially posted, it was also publicly debunked by one site. You win some, you lose some.
It boggles my mind that it’s been almost 17 years since the very first X-Men opened in theaters. Where did that time go? There was one X-Men movie, I blinked, and then there were 10. It’s like some crazy time paradox; maybe when I wasn’t paying attention Hugh Jackman went back in time and stopped Jennifer Lawrence from killing Peter Dinklage.
When the first teaser images for Logan landed online last fall, there was something particularly intriguing about them — aside from the fact that this is Hugh Jackman’s final outing as Wolverine, of course. The photos were mostly in black and white, leading some to suspect that maybe the film itself was black and white. That suspicion was laid to rest with the arrival of the first teaser, but it might not have been entirely off.
When Logan finally fades to black, it brings Hugh Jackman’s 17-year run as Wolverine to a close. It is an emphatic and definitive ending, not just to Jackman’s Wolverine series, but also to the X-Men franchise as a whole.
Hugh Jackman isn’t the only one saying goodbye to the X-Men. Sir Patrick Stewart has decided that Logan will be his last appearance as Professor Charles Xavier as well, after appearing as the character in six other X-Men movies.