After years of sporting adamantium claws, Hugh Jackman is rapidly approaching the end of his time as Wolverine. He’s made eight appearances to date ranging from starring roles to mere cameos, but his ninth and final appearance will be unlike anything that’s come before. Instead of a cameo-filled, run of the mill superhero film, Logan will features the iconic X-Men character in a less action-focused film in the interest of giving the character a proper sendoff.
This resulted in not only giving the film an R rating so Wolverine doesn’t have to hold back on the violence, but also taking the story into the future to avoid continuity and tell a contained character-driven piece. With so many big budget films taking the exact opposite approach lately, it is a surprising move to make – which is why the first trailer caught so many by surprise. The buzz generated since has proven this to be a great direction for the film to take, but Fox was not always confident in it.
Variety reported on a Q&A with Fox chairman Stacey Snider from the Recode Media conference where she discussed the initial reaction that the studio had to this direction. Unsurprisingly, Fox was not completely sold on this idea due to it being such a drastic departure from anything they’ve done previously.
Inside, there was real consternation about the intensity of the tone of the film. It’s more of an elegy about life and death. The paradigm for it was a Western, and my colleagues were up in arms. It’s not a wise-cracking cigar-chomping mutton-sporting Wolverine, and the debate internally became, isn’t that freakin’ boring? Isn’t it exciting to imagine Wolverine as a real guy and he’s world-weary and he doesn’t want to fight anymore until a little girl needs him?
While it is easy to understand why Fox was initially hesitant of a Wolverine solo film, especially the last starring Jackman, to not be an action-heavy and friendly film, the result has been a breath of fresh air in the genre. Fox experienced their greatest success yet in Deadpool by allowing it to be exactly what it should’ve been, so taking a similar approach to Logan in retrospect definitely helped.
Even though the film appears to be character driven to properly send off Jackman, and possibly Patrick Stewart as Professor X as well, it will not be completely absent of Wolverine’s typical violent nature. With X-23 (Dafne Keen) also being introduced to this world, there will be plenty of opportunities for the characters to draw their respective claws. The marketing has shown just glimpses of their team-up so far, and instead continues to sell the movie on the draw of a grizzled Logan. If the movie can deliver on both fronts, Fox should once again see the benefits of producing unique superhero films.