With the release of the first trailer for James Mangold’s Logan, fans got their first glimpse of the action in Hugh Jackman’s final Wolverine film. It was obvious from the start that Logan is a much different movie than those that came before it: the mutants are gone, Logan is mostly alone, and the world seems to have seen better days. Any hope and optimism that the good guys would overcome in the previous films seems to have been lost by the time Logan takes place.
Of course, the reason for this is that Logan appears to be loosely based on the classic comic storyline Wolverine: Old Man Logan by Mark Millar and Steve McNiven. At the moment a direct movie adaptation of the comic can’t be made by any film studio due to rights issues; several major characters who appear in the comic (including Hawkeye and the Incredible Hulk) are part of Marvel’s Avengers film franchise, and therefore aren’t available to be used as part of the X-Men movie franchise.
Keeping this in mind and looking at the first trailer for Logan, are the only commonalities between the movie and the Old Man Logan comics an old, grizzled Wolverine, a road trip theme and a future setting – or is there more to it?
Logan, What Did You Do?
At the beginning of the trailer for Logan, we hear Patrick Stewart’s Professor X ask in a shaky voice, “Logan… what did you do?” The trailer doesn’t tell, exactly, but those who’ve read Old Man Logan might have some idea. You see, the comic takes place in an alternate future in which the supervillains succeed in taking over the United States. They do this by working together, taking out high-profile targets that might be able to stop them if given a chance. One of these targets is the X-Men, since a team of super-powered heroes that features a nigh-immortal berserker with a healing factor and mostly unbreakable claws could definitely put a damper in the villains’ plans.
The plot in the comics is as brilliant as it is heartbreaking: Mysterio, Spider-Man’s master of illusion who’s often accused of wearing a fishbowl, made Wolverine see pretty much every major villain that the X-Men have ever fought raiding the X-mansion. Unsure of where the other X-Men were or what the villains had done with them, he fought his hardest to try and save his friends. It wasn’t until it was too late that he realized the scents were wrong. It wasn’t supervillains he was cutting through – it was the X-Men themselves.
This is what lead to Wolverine sheathing the claws and becoming nothing more than Logan in the comic. The memory haunted him, and he swore that he’d never pop his claws again. With the Professor X quote in the trailer, the various scenes of Logan’s hands shaking and the hints that something sinister having happened to the mutants, there’s a good chance that some version of this backstory will carry over from the comics to the screen. It would likely take a different form, however, possibly involving some sort of manipulation by Nathaniel Essex (Mr. Sinister) and the Essex Corporation.
She’s Like You… Very Much Like You
Old Man Logan was a story of Logan’s fall and redemption, told largely through a cross-country road trip that saw Logan teamed up with a blind Hawkeye. His family farm was threatened by the inbred children of the Hulk, and they encountered various Marvel characters (and those characters’ successors) along the way. They even meet up with the Red Skull and a T-rex with a symbiote. Of course, most of the characters who were featured in the comics weren’t available to Fox, so the overarching plot of Logan takes a different direction.
Instead, Logan seems to center around one last act of heroism for Logan and Professor X: trying to save a young female mutant (Dafne Keen) from being hunted down and captured or killed. Though Mangold has shied away from confirming or denying rumors and speculation that the girl is Laura Kinney a.k.a. X-23, a female clone of Wolverine from the comics, a lot of the evidence points in that direction.
The primary antagonist seen in the trailer is a character called Pierce (almost certainly a version of cyborg supervillain Donald Pierce, given his name and cybernetic hand), played by Boyd Holbrook. He appears to be leading or working with the Reavers, and army of cyborg mutant hunters. The setting is still a world that seems much the worse for wear, but it’s not the supervillain-decimated United States of Old Man Logan.
Someone Has Come Along
What we’ve seen of Logan so far suggests that there may be a similar tragic backstory to what was featured in the comics, but beyond that it’s telling its own story. Does that mean that the end result will be nothing like the comics? Not necessarily. There are elements from the comics that we catch glimpses of in the trailer, and some of the overall themes of Old Man Logan seem very much in place in Logan, even if different characters are involved.
The “buddy” aspect of the comics is definitely still present, though this time it’s Professor X along for the ride instead of Hawkeye. This is fitting, given how close he and Logan are in the movies, and how he’s always been the one there trying to help Logan overcome the weight of his past sins. The story still seems to be one of redemption, too, with Logan finding a reason to stand up again. In the comics Wolverine finally pops his claws because of family, and there’s a sense of family that’s evident in the trailer when we catch a glimpse of Logan, Professor X and the mutant girl sitting around the table smiling and laughing.
Logan will miss some of the bigger action scenes from the comics, but will certainly supply its own to replace them; given its R rating, the action will likely be much more brutal than what we’ve seen in previous X-Men films. Logan won’t be holding anything back once he finally does get back into the fight, and even though we won’t see him kill the Red Skull with Captain America’s shield, the action should still be what you would expect from a tired and angry Wolverine.
Logan… You Still Have Time
Logan‘s marketing is just beginning, but its powerful first trailer has definitely gotten things off to a good start. It’s possible that future promotional materials will reveal parts of the movie that suggest a different tone than what we’ve seen so far, but that would almost be a shame. Even with its differences from the comic book source material, Logan seems to have captured a lot of what made Old Man Logan special. So far it looks to be a deeply personal story of tragedy and redemption, and that’s exactly what it needs to be.
There’s no word yet on whether we’ll see another Wolverine at some point in the movies, though after 17 years the character could certainly use a break. Until he’s recast or otherwise brought back, Logan will stand as the final Wolverine story – for good or for ill. Old Man Logan is the perfect inspiration for that, since it gives the character a sense of closure and lets him finally feel the age of all of his adventures. With any luck, the film will just keep looking better as we get closer to its March release date.
Given how hit-or-miss some of Wolverine’s appearances have been (X-Men Origins: Wolverine, we’re looking at you), this is how Hugh Jackman’s take on the character needs to go out: Not as The Wolverine, but as Logan.