[WARNING: This article contains SPOILERS for Logan]
We know, we know: we were fools for ever hoping that Hugh Jackman's Wolverine would get a happy ending. But as the immortal mutant joined the X-Men and started clawing his family and life back a bit at a time, there seemed reason to hope. Sadly, Logan showed that even if Wolverine managed to save the future of the X-Men move timeline, his story, and that of Charles Xavier's life's work, was on the way out. And in Logan's final moments, he took his place among some of Hollywood's greatest gunslingers as a man of honor who passes from memory when the time for killing is over.
It's about as bleak a conclusion as a fan of Marvel's mutants could ever expect to see: Charles Xavier is killed in heartbreaking fashion, shortly after coming to terms with the fact that he killed the other X-Men. Eventually, Logan succeeds in killing every one of the soldiers hunting Laura and the other mutant clones before he, too, succumbs to his injuries. And as the camera pulls in on his grave, finally put to rest having passed on some part of himself to the world, the idea that it could have ended any other way seems downright foolish.
But the movie begins with Logan in pursuit of another concrete goal, working as a driver to save up the cash needed to buy a secondhand yacht upon which he and Charles can forget about their troubles, and head out to sea where the ailing professor can't hurt anyone ever again. The name of that dream is 'Sunseeker,' and it was, in hindsight, the half-baked pipe dream of a man running as fast as he could from his pain, and the truth.
Thankfully, one Logan fan has taken it upon themselves to deliver that happy ending that fans of Wolverine, Xavier, and the young Laura hoped could somehow be possible. Credit goes to aprilis420 on DeviantArt... and we promise not to get misty-eyed if you don't:
It's an idyllic scene, with Charles at full health, in his signature chair, and lost in a game of chess like the many he was seen playing with his old friend Erik (in both the original films and the prequels). And frankly, any image of Logan appearing to have recently bathed is an improvement over Hugh Jackman's weathered look. The image is heartbreaking for two major reasons. First, it's impossible to see just how much the old friends Charles and Logan have been through by seeing Logan on its own, without a fresh reminder of what Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart look like normally (even if the health problems in Charles Xavier's last days haven't diminished his telepathic powers... only the accuracy).
And finally, director James Mangold saved his most heartbreaking moment for the final scene in which Logan and Laura say their goodbyes. Only after he's saved her life does he show affection to the girl who is, as Xavier said, his daughter. And only as he's dying does she first call him "Daddy." The image above gives that pair another chance to experience some sense, any sense of peace and warmth. Even if it's never meant to be on film.
We doubt that any fan art will ease the pain of Logan's powerful ending, but a glimpse of a happier outcome will distract us in the meantime, at least.