Logan, the third and widely-presumed final Wolverine “solo” movie has finally released its long awaited first teaser trailer, showing a grim near-future dystopia where Mutants appear to have all but disappeared, and the previously ageless Wolverine is looking a lot worse for wear. The trailer is turning heads for a reason: It’s a dark, moody rush of largely context-free images set to Johnny Cash’s unforgettable cover of the Nine Inch Nails classic “Hurt.” For fans of the X-Men franchise, however, it also featured several curious and exciting reveals that tease big goings-on for the film’s previously top-secret storyline.
Directed by James Mangold (The Wolverine), Logan also features Patrick Stewart back in the role of Professor Charles Xavier, and Dafne Keen as a mysterious young mutant him Xavier and Logan are trying to protect. The movie will also feature X-Men franchise newcomers Boyd Holbrook, Richard E. Grant, and Stephen Merchant.
These are some of the biggest reveals (and unanswered questions) from Logan‘s debut trailer – from plot details to new characters.
12. Logan No Longer Heals Instantly
Logan’s plot is believed to have been inspired in part by Old Man Logan, an alternate-future Marvel storyline published as a miniseries by Mark Millar and Steve McNiven, which ran from 2008 to 2009. In that series, an aged Logan seeks vengeance in a post-apocalyptic future where his Mutant healing factor has weakened (thus showing his advancing age) and he has refused to use his claws for many years, leading to bloody and painful results when he is finally forced to. It’s unlikely that the film will follow the plot of Old Man Logan too closely, as it was much darker in terms of content than the X-Men films have preferred to go thus far and featured too many non-Mutant Marvel characters as part of its core narrative. But it looks likely that some key visual cues from the series have made it in, and Logan’s long “unpopped” claws seem to be one of the big ones.
11. Logan’s House
Revealed previously by Jackman as a teaser image on social media, the Logan of the future looks to be making his home among the remnants of a long-since destroyed smelting plant. The poetic symbolism of a man made largely of indestructible metal living in the ruins (the water-tower, specifically) of a plant previously dedicated exclusively to breaking down metals aside, it’s unclear what the significance of the plant’s location in the film-proper might be. We can discern, at least, that he’s lived there for long enough to set up some basic electrical amenities via the power line leading into the structure; and it seems likely that the holes peppering the steel in the fashion if high-caliber bullet holes will be tied into the backstory of how the world got to the sorry state it’s in as the film begins: Did Logan fight a significant last battle here? Or was it just a convenience?
10. The Mutants Are Gone
This might be the least surprising plot development to be gleaned from the trailer, and not just because it was also teased by Jackman with another cryptic image earlier in the year. Old Man Logan took place in a future where all of the X-Men had been murdered and most other mutants (most other heroes, period) had either retired or been taken out as well. Obviously, rights issues between the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Fox Studios would prevent that specific scenario, but nonetheless Logan’s trailer wants us to know in no uncertain terms that something terrible has happened to render Mutants largely a thing of the past. Whether or not the film aims to mimic the comic’s pitch-dark plot turn about Wolverine’s own unwitting role in the near-extinction remains to be seen, but starting from a point of the X-Men being long gone feels like a bold move after the “happy ending” future featured so prominently in Days of Future Past.
9. Professor X
Fans watching the production play out already knew that Patrick Stewart would be coming back as an older Professor X in the film, though it’s still jarring to see the fan-favorite character looking so haggard and even more immobilized than previously. It’s still unclear how far into the future Logan takes place (2024 has been named as a target date), but the fact that Charles Xavier is himself still alive without a healing factor of his own to blunt the aging process indicates that it’s closer to the near-future than some far-flung apocalypse – perhaps by only a few decades. It also appears that Xavier, at least at some point, is being cared for in the same smelting plant hideout where Logan is living – are they together at the start of the story, or does he arrive later? And does he have a purpose for doing so beyond setting in motion the main plot of Logan protecting the mysterious young girl?
8. The Girl
Who is this mysterious young girl, whose survival is apparently so important (and so immediately imperiled by the villains) that it demands Logan come out of retirement to transport and/or protect her? That looks to be the big as-yet-unanswered question of the film thus far. Most fans have assumed that she’s a young, live-action incarnation of Laura Kinney, aka “X-23,” a Mutant introduced relatively recently to the Marvel Comics canon who has adamantium claws and a feral streak similar to that of Wolverine himself. If so, her presence could signal the start of big changes to come in the X-Men movie franchise: Not only did the comics version of X-23 go on to become a superhero in her own right, she inherited the official mantle of The Wolverine from Logan himself when the character most recently died. Marvel has marketed their “female Wolverine” aggressively on the comics side as part of a broader company-wide push for greater diversity, but is Fox ready to ask movie audiences to transfer their Wolverine fandom onto young actress Dafne Keen, last seen in Bad Moms? And if she’s not X-23, then who is she?
7. X-23 Claws?
It doesn’t look like it will take Wolverine nearly as long to pop his claws back out in the film as it did in Old Man Logan (i.e. not until the last possible necessary moment), but the trailer is downplaying the claw-slashing action all the same. However, at least one shot appears to show off Logan just barely managing to block an attack from another claw-wielding attacker. Whose claws are those? If Novikov is indeed playing X-23, it’s entirely possible that she’ll be hostile to Wolverine at first, if for no other reason than for the film to establish her as a physical threat (if she can match Wolverine in a fight, chances are she’s well equipped for anyone else), but in the comics X-23 has 2 claws on her hands (and one on each foot), and Logan looks to be blocking six claws of the same type all at once.
One additional possibility? Daken, Wolverine’s evil half-Japanese son. He hasn’t been announced as part of the film, but it’s entirely possible he or a version of him could show up as a trump-card for the villains – especially if they were planning to face not one but two clawed Mutants as it is.
Who died? Given the sheer number of characters in the X-Men movies and the sheer lack of them in this film, it could theoretically be anyone (and the funeral could be taking place as part of a flashback or, really, even some kind of dream sequence. At least one person it probably isn’t being held for: Charles Xavier, as he’s seen elsewhere in the trailer riding in a limousine presumably involved with this same service. In Old Man Logan, the X-Men all perished in a single event, and even if all buried separately it was still under circumstances that Wolverine would be unlikely to attend. It’s possible that at least one of the more prominent characters is being put to rest, perhaps Cyclops, Jean Grey or even Erik Lensher. One thing that makes the guessing difficult: It’s hard to tell from the shot selection which religious denomination is carrying out the service (i.e. if it were a traditional Jewish burial, one would assume the deceased was the former Magneto.
Are legions of Caliban fans eagerly demanding his presence in the X-Men movie universe, waiting with baited breath for each new sliver of hope that the character may, at last, grace movie theater screens once again? There may well be: The character, played by Stephen Merchant, gets two big featured shots in this trailer (masked and being attacked under unknown but unpleasant-looking circumstances); and he was previously featured as a supporting character in X-Men: Apocalypse in the guise of a different actor. All kidding aside, though a relatively secondary figure in the X-Men mythos, it makes sense for Caliban to be present here: His power to “track” his fellow Mutants would make him an invaluable asset either to heroic Mutants looking to find their own kind, or villains aiming to track them down for more nefarious purposes. What role will Caliban play in the actual film – ally, or friend only to the enemy?
4. El Paso
Texas isn’t exactly a novel setting for a story that looks to be intentionally aping the Western genre, what with Logan as a grizzled outlaw with a dark past being pressed back into service and forced to confront his old demons, but it’s still noteworthy to see that the film indeed seems to take place at least in partly in one of America’s most colorful states. Superhero movies have grown accustomed to setting their action either in entirely made-up locales or generic landscapes for a variety of reasons, from looking to appeal more globally to the need to shoot increasingly expensive films in a handful of locations offering generous filmmaker tax credits, but there’s a sense of authenticity that comes from grounding even a fantastical film like Logan in what looks to largely be in discernible place and time. How far will Wolverine carry this potential “neo-western” aesthetic, considering the oddity of reworking a Canadian Mutant superhero into an American cowboy archetype? Should be interesting to find out.
Here comes trouble! As many had already guessed, that exposed cybernetic hand on Boyd Holbrook’s looks like proof he’s indeed playing Donald Pierce, and if so Logan and company are in for a world of hurt. Created by Chris Claremont and John Byrne during the writer/artist duo’s franchise-defining run on the X-Men comics, Pierce is the mutant-hater to end all mutant-haters and also a “regular” racist bigot to boot. Driven to madness by insecurities over his cyborg status, Pierce has done everything from infiltrating the Hellfire Club itself in order to kill that many more mutants, to reconstituting the cyborg supervillain outfit The Reavers. Amusingly, his name and design were based off of actor Donald Sutherland and his M*A*S*H character of “Hawkeye” Pierce. How much of that characterization will survive into the film is anyone’s guess, but his paramilitary goon squad definitely seem to be a variation on The Reavers come to live-action life.
Yup, these definitely appear to be The Reavers, officially revealed a few days ago online. Originally appearing in the X-Men comics as a team of specifically-Australian cyborg criminals with outlandish attire and behavior inspired by movies like the Mad Max franchise, they were later reformed into a more elite team of cyber-enhanced Mutant-hunters under the leadership of Donald Pierce. In terms of what their role in the film could be, the possibilities are wide open: Are they (and Pierce?) part of the reason that Mutants are now so scarce? Did something bad happen relating to Mutants that lead someone to decide a “clean-up” team was needed to handle whatever was left of them? Are they just a team of cannon-fodder to slow Wolverine down borrowing a name and gimmick from the comics for the heck of it? One thing is certain: The X-Men movies have never been wanting for teams of heavily-armed humans with a hate-on for Mutantkind.
1. Johnny Cash
Sure, the Logan trailer included plenty of Easter eggs and potential teases for fans to chew on, but what seemed to catch on immediately with mainstream film fans on social media was the trailer’s unexpectedly melancholy music choice: Johnny Cash’s cover of the Nine Inch Nails track “Hurt.” The unmistakable vocals of The Man in Black are entirely appropriate for a film that looks to be leaning hard on a neo-Western look and feel, but it adds an unexpectedly somber note to a barrage of action images that might otherwise be associated with more kinetic or exciting moods. The song, a first-person narrative about coping with addiction and self-harm, was recorded by Cash for his American IV cover album and ultimately became the last major hit of the country music megastar’s career during the final months of his life. Cash would pass away from diabetes-related complications and his long battle with a neurodegenerative disease just seven months after shooting a famously-candid music video for the song.
Let us know your favorite moments from the Logan trailer (and your theories about what it all means) in the comments.