Though the addition of X-24 won over fans in Logan, star Hugh Jackman wasn’t so sure about the role at first. Marvel Studios have been forunate enough to have near-universal acclaim for each of their films, but other studios haven’t been quite so lucky. Both Sony and Fox have had issues adapting their Marvel characters to the screen, but they’ve also had successes as well. While Fox’s X-Men franchise has had its highs and lows, their solo Wolverine outings started off in a bad place. Luckily, James Mangold’s The Wolverine set a new standard, one that the director managed to elevate in this year’s Logan.
Along with last year’s Deadpool, Logan has awarded Fox both a critical and commercial success. The film is being praised for its unique tone, introspective look at its characters, and all-star performances by the three leads. Despite its relatively low-key approach to superheroes, however, it still managed to insert one heck of a comic book twist with the introduction of X-24. But while Jackman has spent years campaigning to play an older, more grizzled version of Logan, he wasn’t as easily sold on a younger, berserker take on the character.
Collider spoke with Jackman about playing both Logan and X-24 in the film, and what his initial thoughts were on tackling the character.
“I was very skeptical of having X-24 being played by me. I understood what it represented and thematically the idea of battling himself, which of course is right at the core of this character that we never fully got to, so I kind of loved the externalization of that. But I also know that myself as an actor and fans of Wolverine come up to me in the street every day and go, ‘We wanna see that full berserker animalistic crazy off-the-wall Wolverine,’ right? That we don’t feel we’ve fully seen it, so I was like, ‘Jim if we introduced halfway or near the end of the movie that full berserker animalistic crazy Wolverine and he’s somehow fighting our hero, audiences won’t know what to feel.’ And I remember him saying, ‘Trust me, trust me, trust me.’ And I was a bit of a pain in the ass on that one, I was like, ‘I’m just not sure. Let’s keep exploring it and exploring it.’ When I saw the movie it’s just clear, for some reason I think because he skewers Patrick Stewart in that moment the audience just sort of hates him. We did some subtle things, I changed the bridge of my nose, I wore contacts—I just wanted him to look a little different from myself. And I think by that point we’d created already the Wolverine that people wanted to see. So anyway, that was one of my examples of being wrong (laughs).”
Jackman wasn’t wrong in his initial skepticism. Not only does the idea of X-24 create two conflicting versions of his character, but it threatens to make the film far pulpier than anything that comes prior to it. Luckily, the inclusion of X-24 ended up walking the line thanks to the script, direction, and acting. And it also gave fans the full-blown berserker version of Wolverine they’ve long wanted to see, though he’s been teased in the past.
Jackman went on to discuss the reveal of X-24, and how it was miraculously kept under wraps in a day and age where blockbuster spoilers are all too common.
“Yeah actually now that I think about it, I mean there’s a lot of secrecy around these things and everyone tries to protect it, but it’s kind of actually amazing. I suppose that when we were shooting it, I was shooting both parts so I played both, so if I turn up on set everyone just knows I’m playing that. That’s a good point, I’ve gotta give props to the crew and the cast, no one spilled the beans. I hadn’t thought about it until just now. But it’s fun being in screenings and watching people gasp. They do not see it coming.”
While a script leak or careless crew member could’ve potentially ruined the reveal, Jackman is right in stating that his playing both parts likely kept the secret from coming out. After all, the actor appearing on set for X-24 wouldn’t have looked much different from him showing up to play the main version of Logan. With the black and white edit of the movie soon hitting theaters and the Blu-ray for Logan coming next week, we’ll likely continue learning little things about the movie as promotion continues.
Logan is available now on digital HD and will release on Blu-ray on May 23, 2017.