Hugh Jackman first appeared on screens as the invulnerable Wolverine in X-Men, which released in the year 2000. He quickly became the focal point of the franchise, launching a standalone trilogy and reprising the role in every single ensemble mutant movie since. His formidable run is finally coming to an end in Logan, the R-Rated James Mangold feature which is looking to close the book on the tormented hero. The sense of weariness and hurt has been hammered home in the marketing for the film thus far, establishing it as a uniquely atmospheric and visceral entry into the mutant franchise. But Fox is also looking to come full-circle with the inclusion of the young X-23, paralleling the paternal connection between Logan and Rogue which was established almost two decades ago.
New images from Empire have been released alongside comments from director James Mangold and star Hugh Jackman, who describes this movie as “a darker version of Little Miss Sunshine” with “slightly more violence.” Mangold went on to discuss the defining image behind the film:
“The idea of a road picture with Logan, Laura and Xavier in an average car was a driving image for me…Taking heroes and putting them in normalcy – and nothing makes them more normal than to cram them into a car and make them have to deal with each other – that seemed the ultimate contradiction of what tentpole movies tend to do.”
The four photos show both Logan and X-23, aka Laura, flexing their claws. Two shots appear to be from the same sequence in the movie, with a feral-looking X-23 crouching beside a body in the woods, and a bloodied Logan standing in what appears to be the same location. Series veteran Patrick Stewart is back in the chair as Professor Xavier, and he’s shown being wheeled through a dusty industrial setting which has appeared in the preceding trailers. The final shot is the most poignant, featuring a bloodthirsty X-23 about to skewer a body while Logan watches on from the background.
The photos and comments do more than just tease the film’s R-rated violence and unconventional tone. They cement the parallels between Logan and X-23, while throwing his age and newfound vulnerability into a sharp new focus. Logan was forced into the role of Rogue’s protector in X-Men, but nothing in the marketing for Logan thus far suggests that the ferocious X-23 requires much physical protection at all. In the most recent trailer, Logan is quickly incapacitated by the cyborg Donald Pierce, played by Boyd Holbrook. It falls to X-23 to save herself, before stepping outside to intimidate the very people looking to capture her.
For the aging Logan, X-23 offers a unique glimpse into his feral past. He isn’t her protector so much as her future. This puts him in a unique position which is perfect for the final installment of the Wolverine saga. It gives him the opportunity to reflect, while goring the bad guys alongside his surrogate daughter.