One year after the overwhelming success of Deadpool, Twentieth Century Fox is hoping to have another R-rated superhero hit in the form of Logan. Said to be Hugh Jackman’s final performance as Wolverine, the film’s marketing campaign has generated much excitement over the past few months. Director James Mangold has gone all-out in his desires to make a Western that just happens to star Wolverine and Charles Xavier, crafting an X-Men installment that’s far more grounded and realistic than the ones that have come before. This even extends to the antagonists, as the enemies won’t be the “operatic villainy” of the earlier movies.
One main way the Western approach has been highlighted in promotion is the aged appearances of Logan and Professor X. The two look significantly weary and tired as they try to protect the young X-23, leading some to wonder if the pair will live to fight another day by the time Logan has concluded. While fans obviously have to wait until next month for those answers, both Jackman and Mangold have now opened up about the inspirations and choices that went into crafting the iconic characters, circa 2029.
In an interview with Empire, Jackman revealed an old trick he learned from veteran thespian Jim Broadbent informed his turn in Logan, as he found a unique way to convey the mutant’s physical damage:
“When he was playing older, [Broadbent] would tape a little stone to his heel. I would have that, just to remind myself of a limp. [Logan’s] body hurts. His joints hurt. His heart hurts. Psychologically, he’s damaged. What’s the collateral damage of being Wolverine for all those years?”
It’s long been reported that Wolverine’s famous healing ability is diminished, and he’s got the scars to prove it. While Logan is still a force to be reckoned with, he is not as invulnerable as he once was, which gives the movie an interesting angle to explore. Additionally, Wolverine has been through a lot emotionally. The film is set in a time where mutantkind is nearly extinct, and there’s a strong possibility many of the people closest to Wolverine have passed. All of this has certainly taken a toll on Logan and has been a running theme throughout advertising. Dating back to the original teaser, Wolverine said, “Nature made me a freak. Man made me a weapon. And God made it last too long.” He’s ready for it all to be over, from the sound of it.
Mangold also explained one slight alteration he made to Xavier’s look for Logan. Traditionally, the Professor has a clean chrome dome, but the footage from this latest installment shows strands of white hair on his head. The director admitted this could be considered “sacrilege,” but felt that this would be a nice illustration of how Xavier’s advancing age has impacted him. “The theory was that he originally lost all his hair because it’s just too damn busy [in his head] to grow hair – the idea for me was, well, maybe there’s a little fringe on there, because things are slowing down mentally,” Mangold told Empire. This implies Xavier’s powers are no longer at their peak, which makes sense considering Wolverine is caring for the elderly Professor when Logan opens. What this means for Charles’ ultimate fate remains to be seen, but if Logan can live up to the hype, then fans will definitely be in for an emotionally-riveting treat.