In the months leading up to Logan, rumors began to spread across the Internet that the film was going include a cameo from Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool, capitalizing on the record-breaking success of the Merc With a Mouth's solo outing from a year ago. Unfortunately for fans eager to see Hugh Jackman and Reynolds share the screen one last time, these reports were quickly debunked by none other than Reynolds himself, who pointed out the wildly contrasting tones of the two properties made Wade Wilson an ill fit. Indeed, for whatever levity Logan has, it's a drastically different sense of humor than Deadpool's wisecracks.
As Logan's theatrical premiere drew closer, it became apparent that Reynolds had in fact shot something for the movie, but instead of an actual scene, it was a promotional piece to drum up interest and excitement for the forthcoming Deadpool 2. This led some to theorize Logan would have a post-credits scene, but Fox had something a little different in mind. Bucking the conventional genre trends, a short sequence of Deadpool hilariously failing to save a man played before Logan started (and was later released in an extended form online), and fans have been buzzing about Wade's glorious return ever since. At the end, title cards promised he would be back (but not soon enough), before a very long passage of text scrolled up the screen. So what exactly is that, and does it connect to Logan in any way?
Upon close examination, the text is a summary of The Old Man and the Sea, a short novel by Ernest Hemingway published in 1952. In keeping with the Deadpool brand, the description includes a variety of typical Wade Wilsonisms, making references to Will Smith's rapping career, baseball Hall of Famer Joe DiMaggio's romantic relationship with Marilyn Monroe, and Red Lobster restaurants. Though laced with classic Deadpool humor, readers still get a very thorough outline of the book's basic plot.
The Old Man and the Sea is about an elderly fisherman named Santiago, who has gone 84 days without catching a fish. His luck is so porous (a fact Deadpool mocks in the text), Santiago's prized pupil Manolin is told by his parents he can only go out with more successful fishermen. But because "parents don't understand," (Deadpool's words, not Hemingway's) Manolin stays by Santiago's side, keeping him company and helping him through the day. The two make plans to sail into the Gulf Stream in an effort to reverse Santiago's fortunes. On the 85th day, Santiago's bait is taken by a marlin, setting up the novel's central conflict.
The aging Santiago cannot pull the big fish onto his boat, and is instead pulled by the marlin for two days and nights, leading Santiago to develop a sense of respect for the marlin. On the third day, a delirious Santiago musters what strength he has left to get the fish on his boat and stabs it with a harpoon. Strapping the marlin to the boat's side, Santiago is satisfied, convinced his luck has now changed. However, multiple sharks are attracted to the marlin's blood, and though Santiago wards many of them off, they are still able to eat most of the marlin before Santiago returns to shore. The fisherman is convinced he is extremely unlucky now and calls the sharks "dream killers." Deadpool jumps to the defense of the sharks, saying they were simply "doing their job" and feels a bit of sympathy for the poor marlin - who was stabbed to death with a harpoon, after all.
Hemingway ends his tale by having Santiago return home, defeated and ashamed, and fall into a deep slumber. Others in the town express their sorrow to Manolin, who continues to care for Santiago. One day, the old man wakes up, and the pair once again plan to go fishing together. Santiago goes back to bed and has dreams of lions on an African beach - a memory from his childhood. The novel would go on to win a Pulitzer Prize in 1953.
Connections to Logan
While The Old Man and the Sea and Logan are quite different in terms of story and setting, there are some thematic parallels between the two. For starters, a clear one is the notion of having a protagonist past his prime having to prove he isn't done jut yet. In Logan, a world-weary Wolverine (who wants to die) is thrust into heroic service once more when he crosses paths with X-23 and goes on a cross-country journey to get her to safety. The depiction of Logan in this film is a stark contrast from the indestructible killing machine seen in earlier movies. He walks with a limp, doesn't heal as quickly, and can easily be taken down in a physical confrontation. Much like Santiago, Wolverine is at the end of his rope.
In this metaphor, Logan can also be Manolin from a certain point of view. The movie's first act establishes Wolverine and Caliban have been caring for Charles Xavier - whose mental health is sadly deteriorating - for the past year, keeping him far away from society. It's their responsibility to give the former Professor his medicine to prevent potentially damaging seizures, which are showcased periodically throughout Logan. Wolverine and Xavier have plans to get a Sunseeker (a type of boat) and sail out to sea so they can live the rest of their days in peace. That's obviously not a direct comparison to Santiago and Manolin, but Wolverine has a similar dynamic with his old teacher, helping him get by in life and trying to keep a promise.
Both Logan and Santiago also have youngsters they take under their wings, albeit very different circumstances. Wolverine is reluctantly made a protector and guardian of Laura, a.k.a. X-23 and looks to make the best of his situation, whereas Santiago and Manolin are in a more traditional student/teacher relationship. Granted, there are doubts about both to excel in their position. Manolin's parents forbid him to go fishing with Santiago, and anyone with even a passing knowledge of Wolverine's personality know that he isn't exactly built to be a loving parent, given his cynical outlook on life. Still, Laura grows attached to Logan and ultimately cares about him, forever gracious for what Wolverine did. Manolin is likewise extremely loyal and dedicated to Santiago, refusing to leave his side.
Director James Mangold drew much inspiration from the Westerns of cinema's past when crafting Logan, but it's evident he had a little Hemingway on the mind as well. Again, the film is not a direct adaptation of that story, but Logan and The Old Man and the Sea explore similar themes about aging heroes who go out for one last fight. Regardless of Deadpool's sarcastic nature, that bit of text was, in all likelihood, chosen for a very specific reason. It doesn't outright spoil anything from Logan, though it gives viewers a little hint of what's to come.
With how fast the text scrolled up the screen, it would have been easy to shrug it off as an inconsequential collection of jokes that would make for fun frame-by-frame viewing once Logan hits home media. However, Fox was quite thoughtful with what they included, finding a way to tie things back to the film audiences were about to watch. It's quite hilarious and touching when one breaks it down - Deadpool's own tip of the hat to Old Man Logan.
Of course, this is just our interpretation of how the end of the teaser connects to Logan. Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments and let us know what you made of it!
- Logan (2017) release date: Mar 03, 2017
- Deadpool 2 (2018) release date: May 18, 2018