More isn’t always necessarily better, but it depends on the story. With Logan, the final adventure of Hugh Jackman’s Adamantium-enhanced Wolverine, the goal was to craft an Unforgiven-inspired personal story. So when it came to choosing the supporting cast, like the rest of the film, a minimalistic approach was taken.

Sir Patrick Stewart’s Charles Xavier returns of course, and alongside him and Logan is Caliban (Stephen Merchant) and young X-23 (Dafne Keen), and it’s about that family. We spoke with co-writer and director James Mangold at the Logan press junket – who returns after working on the Wolverine with Hugh Jackman previously – about the mutant characters in the movie and if there were plans for other familiar faces to show up.

While there’s room for team movies like the mainline X-Men movies and other franchise team-ups (Avengers, Justice League), Mangold explains that more characters means less screen time and therefore less development and impact for each. And for a movie like Logan, that just wouldn’t do.

Logan introduces to X-23 but we also but we also get to see Caliban and Xavier. Are there any other mutant characters you were thinking about including?

James Mangold: We toyed with it but one of the things I’ve been very conscious of is that I think one of the reasons a lot of different movies are in the comic book arena these days, is they keep operating from the “more is more” philosophy. If we made a movie last time about four superheroes, this time it’s gonna be seven, next time it’s gonna be twelve. And there’s a kind of arms race in visual effects and cast and I don’t think it necessarily yields more. Do you the math If you have a 120 minutes and you have seven actors with principal roles, then they’re each getting six minutes to themselves, or to their storylines. If you make a movie about two or three characters, the movie is really owned by these characters and you get to go deep with them. That was our goal.

And overabundance of characters is certainly something many superhero films have suffered from (too many villains in Spider-Man 3 or The Amazing Spider-Man 2) but it’s also something – when done right – that can launch other films, or something that individual character stories can build towards (Marvel’s solo movies leading to The Avengers). In this respect though, while Marvel Studios enters production on their most massive project yet (Avengers: Infinity War) that brings together all of their sub-franchises, standalone spinoffs like Deadpool and Logan that aim to be different are certainly refreshing and needed for the genre.

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In the near future, a weary Logan cares for an ailing Professor X in a hide out on the Mexican border. But Logan’s attempts to hide from the world and his legacy are up-ended when a young mutant arrives, being pursued by dark forces.

James Mangold directs Logan from a screenplay by Michael Green and Scott Frank & James Mangold and astory by David James Kelly and James Mangold. Logan is produced by: Hutch Parker, Simon Kinberg, Lauren Shuler Donner, and stars Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Richard E. Grant, Boyd Holbrook, Stephen Merchant, and Dafne Keen.