Warning: Major SPOILERS for Logan ahead
Hugh Jackman has spent the last 17 years of his life largely playing the same character over and over again. After all these years and many different timelines and ages, Logan is his final stop. No longer will Jackman don the adamantium claws or appear in various X-Men related projects – no matter how badly Ryan Reynolds and many others wish it would happen. To put the final nail in the coffin, Logan made the decision to put both Wolverine and Professor X (Patrick Stewart) in the ground for good, leaving X-23 (Dafne Keen) alone in the future of the X-Men timeline.
The move is curious on a number of levels as it now leaves the main X-Men timeline without its biggest star, but also leaves his potential replacement in a separate timeline/future altogether. Fox has not been shy in voicing the likelihood that Wolverine will one day be recast, which Jackman supports, but the Logan producers have slightly changed their tune and may be looking at X-23 to carry things moving forward.
JoBlo spoke to producers Simon Kinberg and Hutch Parker about the film and what it means for the future of both characters. With Jackman making it apparent early on this would be his final film, that is the way they approached it as well and have not yet begun to think about what the future holds for Wolverine – whether that is recasting or another avenue:
Kinberg: We haven’t started talking about that. The truth is, we really approached this as, this is really the end of Hugh Jackman playing Wolverine and it very well be the end of Wolverine in the movies. Beyond that, we’ll figure out if there is some other version of him. We haven’t gone down that road. We really approached this as if it were the end.
Parker: And truly, we are literally just finishing with this so, candidly, it has not been a process where there has been a lot of downtime from production into post, post into visual effects and scoring and all that stuff. It was not long ago we were in that dark room. But I agree with Simon, the whole focus of the last however many years was living up to Hugh’s desire and Jim’s intention on delivering on a final Wolverine film for Hugh on a different, unique story that would try to carry the day more on the emotionality and the reality than on visual effects or action. Pretty much the whole focus has been on that.
With the future unclear for Wolverine and the response to X-23 already being extremely positive, there is a desire from fans to see her lead her own movie at some point. Logan director James Mangold is interested in an X-23 spinoff, and Parker confirmed this is an idea they are discussing:
We have been talking a little bit about that and the possibility certainly exists. She’s a remarkable actress, I think she did an amazing job, and a lot of the credit for that goes to Jim [Mangold]. It’s certainly a rich opportunity, we haven’t gotten specific in any way, but I’d love to see more with that character.
Should X-23 be gifted a solo movie and Mangold return to direct, Fox could continue to tell her story outside of the other films and retain the tone established in Logan. The movie sets up a number of possibilities for her character to explore moving forward as her and the rest of her mutant friends search for Eden, a safe haven for them. The entire roster of young mutants showed that they can hold their own when push comes to shove and an ultra-violent kids adventure would once again be a new take to bring into the superhero genre.
It will be interesting to see what Fox does with both characters in the future. They already have their core story continuing with X-Men: Supernova, have a young team coming in with New Mutants, plus Deadpool 2 and X-Force tackling the gritty R-rated corner. They could easily wait a few years and tell another future story of X-23, but it would be surprising if they never brought Wolverine back in some form without Jackman. Either way, these decisions have to be made and the reaction to Logan will certainly be an influence.