Warning: This post will contain MAJOR spoilers for Logan.
Logan was sold and marketed as the end of an era for the comic book genre, pitched as the final film from Hugh Jackman as Wolverine on screen – ever – and as fans now know, the film certainly delivered on that promise. But Logan proved itself to be great beyond just being an honorable final ride for Jackman as that beloved character, adding a new film to the ever-growing comic book movie genre, the likes of which audiences have never quite seen before. Uncompromisingly dark and honest, it trades out the usual, “save the world” plots of most modern day superhero movies, for a much smaller story about Professor X (Patrick Stewart) and Logan (Jackman) as they enter into the last days of their lives.
In a way, by focusing so closely on the lives and actions of just those two men, and the impact they have on a very small group of people too, Logan manages to feel even bigger than most of the other comic book films being made nowadays. The fact that it also provides a look into the future of the X-Men cinematic universe, with one startling and unexpected revelation after the other, just helps it to further cement the unique, somber tone that it so perfectly captures onscreen.
Out of all of the many, many reveals made throughout Logan‘s run time, however, few are quite as monumental and surprising as the one Patrick Stewart’s Charles Xavier makes just moments before he dies at the hands of X-24. Talking to who he assumes to be Logan in the middle of the night, Charles reveals that he remembers what happened to the other mutants at his school in Westchester, and why Logan is so intent on keeping him as safe and secured as possible. It’s because, during one of his first seizures, he killed at least seven notable mutants. Speaking with ComingSoon about that story point, co-writer and director James Mangold revealed why the “Westchester Incident” wasn’t included in the film itself:
“I wrote that scene. I wrote it, and at one point, it was even the first scene in the movie…. [But] it also made the movie about that. It was really interesting. It suddenly made the movie about X-Men dying, as opposed to allowing the movie to be a kind of unwinding onion, like allowing you to kind of enter the story and go, “Where is this going?” It was so large and loomed so large, and I felt like it also was still falling into the formula of the movies, with the big opener, that is setting up the mythology first. I thought, “What if we do an opener that leans into character first? Actually underplay those things?” Let them just feel like it’s more like a—what’s that? A normal thing, like it’s happened. And instead of underlining it, yeah. Just let it live in the background of all these characters.”
Mangold certainly isn’t wrong when he says that having Logan open with that scene would have felt very reminiscent of a majority of other comic book films nowadays, which open with similar, expositional sequences. Co-writer Michael Green recently spoke about the scene as well, saying that he and the rest of the writers found it to be more poignant to let Charles simply talk about the effects of the incident, rather than spelling it out directly to the audience. Indeed, fans have been busy speculating about who may or may not have been killed when it happened, but the point of the scene isn’t to reveal those details, but to further explain and highlight the emotionally devastating effects it’s had on both Logan and Charles.
In a film that’s filled to the brim with emotional, heart-wrenching moments, that scene with Charles in the bed is inarguably one of the most poignant. Patrick Stewart has been on the receiving end of a notably high amount of critical acclaim for his performance in the film and it’s not hard to see why when looking at that scene either, which continues to fill in the details of the X-Men universe’s future in interesting ways. But that’s the true success of Logan, is how it manages to feel so monumental and huge, when in fact, very few people outside of the characters in the film even know what’s happening. Logan wasn’t a movie about saving the world, but about redemption. About two men, who have fought in some war or another their entire lives, going forward with one last effort to do something good before they said goodbye. No wonder it’s become so beloved, so quickly.