No actor has embodied a comic book character as perfectly or for as long as Hugh Jackman. Across 17 years, audiences have seen the actor take on amazing physical transformations and don the adamantium claws of the pride and joy of the Weapon X program, Wolverine. What began as a youthful journey of self-discovery is winding down in the coming months, as the trailer for Logan depicts a much older and slower version of the beloved mutant.
Logan has been said to draw much inspiration from "Old Man Logan," but without word to any adaptation of the "Death of Wolverine" storyline. Portrayed to the tune of Johnny Cash's "Hurt," is a Logan seemingly nearing the end of his life. His body now washed with scars, Logan's healing factor is clearly dissipating. We no longer see the hunter, the perfect weapon, but a drunk numbing the pain of violent memories and a lifeless world. A tone so drastically different from the rest of the X-Men cinematic universe tells us to expect a movie we haven't seen before.
So what exactly will that movie be?
1. Logan won't be a superhero movie.
Many comic/superhero movies have hidden themes and enough symbolism present to drive the plot slightly further than being just an action-high. Logan, however, will present a philosophical discussion of mortality in the core of the movie. The trailer did not reveal much action, but what it does show is Logan having given up on life, no longer in a mutant-ridden world, perhaps awaiting the moment his healing factor shuts off for good. Even when Prof. X presents Wolverine with the knowledge of Laura Kinney (X-23), he shrugs it off with apathy, telling Prof. X that some one else will come along.
Logan will have to face the memories of his past and reflect on his own life, as he now protects the only person who can truly understand what he's experienced. Wolverine's entire life is defined by his loner status and that is about to go for a tailspin with the introduction of X-23. Logan will be a philosophical drama/action film that will rely little on the typical, eye-catching oohs and aahs of superhero films.
2. Logan will have less gore than Deadpool.
Yes, Logan is rated R. Yes, in the trailer Wolverine does stick all three of his claws from a person's chin through their skull. However, Deadpool's gore was a plot device to sell the comedic aspect of the movie through pure ridiculousness. Based on the segment above, Logan will be much more Arrival than Independence Day. From the R-rating, I think it's fair to expect a high degree of brutality, but it will only show what is necessary to carry the scene. I also think that per the nature of Laura and Logan's relationship, Logan will try to restrain himself at times to show Laura that she does not have to be an animal.
3. No major X-Villains will make an appearance.
There is speculation that Nathaniel Essex, AKA Mr. Sinister, will be making some form of appearance, since it is his corporation who retrieves a vial of Weapon X blood at the end of X-Men: Apocalypse. This is not an X-Men movie and Logan would not benefit from any huge name or face drops. Logan will be a self-contained story and the only villains making an appearance will be the Reavers and Donald Pierce. If Essex does make an appearance, I do not think it would be anything more than a few glimpses to get audiences familiar with him for a future film.
4. Time travel...?
Hear me out. We currently have two separate X-Men timelines happening concurrently. We have the timeline set by X-Men Apocalypse and the one set by Wolverine. If, and that is still a big if, Laura Kinney is set to replace Logan as Wolverine, Fox may not want to keep her separate from the rest of the X-Men team. With Logan taking place in a desolate future, any X-23 led movie would have to take place in the same timeline. This would deny any opportunity for her to work with, well, most of the relevant mutants audiences know. Therefore, it would benefit Fox where it matters for them ($$$) to pull some time magic and transplant X-23 sometime in the past. It's not like the X-franchise has been afraid to play with time in the past.
Of course, this is all based on the future of X-23, for whom I clearly state my bias in my previous article:
5. Logan will die.
It has all led to this moment. Logan will die. Not like a Superman die or a Coulson die, but a full-fledged Uncle Ben die. This is, of course, the Logan in a future world where mutants appear all but extinct. Fox no longer has to worry about Wolverine's impact on the rest of their X-Men franchise. Plus, they potentially already have the next Wolverine in the form of a little girl. There is nothing else for Logan to live for story-wise. We've seen him lost -> his redemption -> his heartbreak -> his time-changing importance -> and we will end with his legacy.
Thank you, Hugh Jackman, for bringing one of the most layered comic book characters to life and for 17 years of service to the X-Men franchise.