The first trailer for Logan brought us a stunning, brooding look into what is a darker and less healing factor-friendly world for our fading, adamantium-sporting hero. Set to the aching tones of Johnny Cash’s cover of ‘Hurt’ by Nine Inch Nails, it was hard to feel all the feels as we saw what Logan has become, and where his path may be leading him.
In an interview with Empire, James Mangold spoke upon Logan’s timeline branching off from past incarnations of his ‘X-perience.’
“One of the things we all thought about as we worked on this film is, well, we don’t want to rebuild everything. We want to have some questions. In order to make a different Logan, and a different tone of a Wolverine movie, we felt like we couldn’t hold on to every tradition established in all the movies religiously, or we’d be trapped by the decisions made before us. So we questioned whether Logan’s healing factor causes him to heal without even a scar. We imagined that it may have when he was younger, but with age, he’s getting older and ailing. Perhaps his healing factor no longer produces baby-soft skin. So we imagined he heals quickly, still, but it leaves a scar. The simple idea was that his body would start to get a little more ravaged with a kind of tattooing of past battles, lacerations that remain of previous conflicts.”
I adore the idea of exploring alternate versions of the original timeline that Logan has been traveling along. Radical changes can occur with the slightest alterations in logistics where storytelling is involved, and making Logan’s healing factor less by even a fraction could do something as severe as costing him his usual role as victor. Speaking as a writer, I have to understand that if a character chooses to wear a red t-shirt instead of a blue one on any given day, it could cause the driver of a vehicle to be distracted for less than a second and cause a fatal car crash. It seems freedom in fiction can hang by a very thin thread, and the makers of this film understand the weight in their choices.
“We are in the future, we have passed the point of the epilogue of Days Of Future Past… we’re finding all these characters in circumstances that are a little more real. The questions of aging, of loneliness, of where I belong. Am I still useful to the world? I saw it as an opportunity. We’ve seen these characters in action, saving the universe. But what happens when you’re in retirement and that career is over? The really interesting thing to me, or a place to dig that hadn’t been dug, was the idea of mutants when they’re no longer useful to the world, or even sure if they can do what they used to do. Their powers are diminished like all of ours are by age.”
I’ve long been drawn to the X-Men comics due to the core fragility of the characters Marvel has created; be they covered in steel, seemingly invincible, or able to heal in the blink of an eye, everyone ate breakfast in the morning, had gripes and grappled with their emotions on a very human level. No mutant was ever spared their humanity in the pages of those comic books, and I welcome the chance to see Logan face the ultimate challenge of being less than invincible. Where it could come as a crushing blow for some to see their heroes stripped of the physical strength they’ve come to rely on, true grit comes in the form of grace in times such as these, be they futures past or newly presented.
Logan hits theaters March 3, 2017