‘The Wolverine’ Original Script: Logan Was the Only Mutant in the Movie

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The Wolverine INterview Christopher McQuarrie The Wolverine Original Script: Logan Was the Only Mutant in the Movie

Writer/director Christopher McQuarrie’s new hard-boiled mystery/thriller Jack Reacher (starring Tom Cruise) will be in theaters this holiday season. While attending the Jack Reacher press junket in New York, part of our interview with McQuarrie inevitably turned toward his work in the X-Men movie universe.

McQuarrie wrote the original script for The Wolverine, the version that had Black Swan director Darren Aronofsky attached, before a multitude of factors forced Aronofsky to drop the project, and McQuarrie to soon follow suit. In talking with the Usual Suspects scribe, I learned more about what his version of The Wolverine would’ve been like – a version that McQuarrie himself describes as, “Kurosawa’s Wolverine.”

Star Hugh Jackman and director James Mangold (Walk the Line) recently did an extended interview about The Wolverine, assuring fans and casual moviegoers alike that this will be the best onscreen depiction of the character yet. While that may turn out to be true, certain fans will forever be wondering “What If?” (that’s a Marvel joke, folks) when the question of Aronofsky and McQuarrie’s version comes up. After all, it was a film that many fans (somewhat spuriously) predicted could become an Oscar contender when all was said and done.

Talking to McQuarrie, it’s clear that the Oscar-winning writer also views his version of The Wolverine as being something truly special:

The truth of the matter is that ‘Wolverine’ I consider to be one of my favorite scripts that I’ve ever written. I really held it near and dear to my heart, and I was sorry that circumstances worked out that I couldn’t be there and be involved in that movie. I’m almost afraid to see what it’s evolved into, because that’s the nature of the process.

The Wolverine 2 Hugh Jackman Official The Wolverine Original Script: Logan Was the Only Mutant in the Movie

Hugh Jackman in ‘The Wolverine’

I followed up by asking him what, exactly, led him to the character of Logan, and why he felt his superhero character piece was in fact so special:

Well you know, it was an X-Men movie – it was a Marvel movie – but it existed very much in a real world. And more than anything, I love it for the very fact that – at least in the script I wrote – he was the only mutant in the movie… It was what you’d imagine the Wolverine universe to be under the control of somebody who wrote ‘The Usual Suspects’ and ‘The Way of the Gun’ and is a fan of Sergio Leone. It was Kurosawa’s Wolverine.  There was a real romance to it, there was real humor to it, and a very straightforward sort of plain-faced brutality to it. I’m hoping they preserve that.

Hugh was really great, I liked working with Hugh a lot – he was very understanding, very open and supportive of me – so I’ll be very interested to see how that film turns out.

From what we know so far, Mangold and screenwriters Mark Bomback (Die Hard 4) and Scott Frank (Minority Report) have tweaked elements of McQuarrie’s script – possibly to better link The Wolverine with X-Men: Days of Future Past and the overall X-Men movie universe. This includes adding more mutant character (like the villain, Silver Samurai), and setting the film after the events of X-Men: The Last Stand.

the wolverine hugh jackman darren aronofsky The Wolverine Original Script: Logan Was the Only Mutant in the Movie

Aronofsky’s Wolverine

That said, during their extended interview, both Jackman and Mangold touched upon themes – Logan’s alienation and rage as a quasi-immortal killing machine – that are very much in line with what McQuarrie sought to explore. Mangold has also called the film “an unconventional superhero movie,” which is definitely what the McQuarrie/Aronofsky version would’ve been (to put it mildly).

Plenty of fans will assert that a Wolverine film that is a bit more comic book than Kurosawa is definitely a better approach; and given how The Wolverine could end up interlocking with future X-Men films, those fans may be right. After all, in this post-Avengers era, it’s not very likely that an artistic (and truly standalone) Wolverine character drama would’ve been as effective or popular – what do you think?

[poll id=”487″]

Stay tuned for more from our interview with McQuarrie, including what it’s like directing a blockbuster film like Jack Reacher, and his plan to expand the X-Men movie universe.

Jack Reacher will be in theaters on December 21, 2012.

The Wolverine releases on July 26, 2013.

X-Men: Days of Future Past hits theaters on July 18, 2014.

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  1. Akira Kurosawa and Sergio Leone are great directors . . . but I don’t think their edge in film making has anything that’d make a Wolverine movie ‘special’ as McQuarrie says. Every issue I’ve read with Wolverine had mutants in it and every issue of those comics I found to be awesome.

  2. I think I’d preferred it with no other mutants rather then just having random cameos from other mutant characters.

  3. An unconventional superhero movie? I’m intrigued by this. Skeptical, but intrigued.

    And I was going to write this one off. It can’t be as bad as the first one, right?

  4. I think many people are still interested in seeing standalone character dramas. I understand that (most) people eventually want to see their favorite characters interact with other characters, but the desire to see Wolverine on his own, where his full potential as a character can be on display, has been there for a while.

    Parting Note: Although I am optimistic overall, I’m a little disappointed that “The Wolverine” has been tweaked to better fit into the future MCU at Fox. The whole point of the film was to focus on that character, and that character alone. I don’t see why they couldn’t just insert him into whatever future X-Men film, regardless of what happens in the upcoming Wolverine movie. He’s been in all of X-films so far, it wouldn’t be too big of a stretch. Maybe the tweaks will be minimal.

    • I agree. It really is about the potential of the character, NOT about the MCU. What has me intrigued about the movie are the bigger themes alluded to in this article.

  5. Only mutant in the movie? Im so glad it has been changed. Thats the complete opposite of what i want to see in in future marvel movies. I want to see the marvel universe as much as the characters in it and having The wolverine in the “real world” just seems like a s***** idea. the kind that should stay in ones imagination. It worked with batman but I cant see it working with an immortal super human who’s whole skeleton is made of a fictional material.

  6. Toshiro Mifune as Wolverine!

  7. Reading this article really makes me a bit sad. The thought of Aronovsky directing this type of film, with the described type of screenplay, sounds so wonderful. I hope that the finished product keeps some of that originating spirit. The Last Stand and Origins: Wolverine were both horrible messes of films, with far too many characters, many of them underdeveloped.

  8. So in other words his first script was more in line with the comic book version of the story. It would have been interesting to see and it just confirms what many have said about this franchise for the years. They just want to use as many characters in a film whether they need to or not.

  9. Logan being the only mutant might’ve been fine. There have been stories set in the past when Logan was doing his own thing against mooks that were just highly trained but didn’t have any powers of their own.

  10. Personally I’d go with quality (I referring to this dudes original script as quality) over expanded universe if I had to pick one or the other. I’m hoping that this film gives me both of those things tho… We’ll see if my hopes are realized when its released next year.

    • *I’m referring, thats I’m referring.. my bad

  11. As much as I’m looking forward to The Wolverine, I kinda’ wish the McQuarrie/Aronofsky version was the one that we ended up with. As you said though, it will always be a “What If…”

  12. Ha! That photo of Christopher McQuarrie makes him look like Chris Hemsworth. Or is it the other way round?!

    • Clearly what youre smokin is better than what i am cuz there is ZERO resemblance.

  13. I have to go with the “Nobody has seen either version” option. Also, McQuarrie sounds really full himself in those snippets and that is something that always makes be a bit suspicicous about the actual quality of a script.

    • *full of himself


  15. Problems with this article;
    “After all, in this post-Avengers era, it’s not very likely that an artistic (and truly standalone) Wolverine character drama would’ve been as effective or popular”
    Really? Cause Nolan’s Batman did exactly that and did just fine.
    You also have to remember how bad the “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” movie was. They tried to make up for a poor script by loading the movie with MCU mutants and it didn’t make the movie any better. In fact it did more harm than good, cause now we have to live with the president that movie set until a reboot of the franchise comes along.

  16. Well, guess what? The Wolverine is worse than Origins or Last Stand. Tada! At least if there were more mutants I would have been semi-interested. Talk about an amateur script, McQuarrie! This will blacklist you in Hollywood! I seem to recall some witticisms in Usual Suspects. None here. What happened?