Logan is a 2017 American superhero film starring Hugh Jackman as the titular character. It is the tenth film in the X-Men film series and the third and final installment in the Wolverine trilogy following X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009) and The Wolverine (2013). The film, which takes inspiration from the “Old Man Logan” comics storyline by Mark Millar and Steve McNiven, follows an aged Wolverine and an extremely ill Charles Xavier who must defend a young mutant named Laura from the Reavers led by Donald Pierce and Zander Rice. The film is produced by 20th Century Fox, Marvel Entertainment, TSG Entertainment and The Donners’ Company, and distributed by 20th Century Fox. It is directed by James Mangold, who co-wrote the screenplay with Michael Green and Scott Frank, from a story by Mangold. In addition to Jackman, the film also stars Patrick Stewart, Richard E. Grant, Boyd Holbrook, Stephen Merchant, and introducing Dafne Keen in her film debut as Laura.
Logan was designed to look like the near-future, with slight updates to technology and the social environment and was written with a dark and violent tone closer to the western genre than the traditional superhero genre. Principal photography began in Louisiana on May 2, 2016, and wrapped on August 13, 2016, in New Mexico. The locations used for Logan were mainly in Louisiana, New Mexico, and Mississippi. The film was given the false title of Juarez to lower visibility during production.
Logan premiered at the 67th Berlin International Film Festival on February 17, 2017, and was theatrically released in the United States on March 3, 2017. The film received critical acclaim, with strong praise for its emotional depth, Mangold’s direction, action sequences, screenplay, uncompromising tone, thematic profundity, and the performances of Jackman, Keen and Stewart. It became the best-reviewed film in the X-Men franchise, with many critics calling it one of the greatest superhero films ever made, and it was selected by the National Board of Review as one of the top ten films of 2017. It was nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay at the 90th Academy Awards, becoming the first live-action superhero film to be nominated for screenwriting. It grossed $619.2 million worldwide and became the third-highest-grossing R-rated film at the time of its release.
In November 2013, 20th Century Fox initiated discussions over another solo film starring Wolverine, with James Mangold in negotiations to write the treatment for the film and Lauren Shuler Donner returning to produce under The Donners’ Company. At the time, Hugh Jackman neither confirmed nor denied his reprisal of Logan in a new film. Jackman clarified that his lapsing contract with Fox, which reportedly would need to be renegotiated after X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014), did not mean he was leaving the franchise, as he had been working movie-by-movie since X2 (2003). He also stated, “I do want to do it with Jim and with [producer] Lauren Shuler-Donner because we had such a great experience. I’m really proud of The Wolverine (2013).” Later in the month, Mangold announced that the pre-production aspect of the film had not yet begun, nor the writing process, though he furthered this by stating, “… I would say I’m not there yet. But I have taken finger to key. Let’s say that. There’s been typing. And ideas. And talking amongst all the principles.”
Shortly after the release of The Wolverine, Mangold spoke of a potential sequel with the aim of not converting it into a “Will the world survive?” film, while also stressing his need “… not to make the same picture again.” In December 2013, Jackman spoke of nearing the end of his tenure as the character, while stating that the film was in the very early stages of development. Jackman also revealed that Mangold and he had begun speaking of potential ideas, adding, “… Jim Mangold and I were literally on the phone last night talking about ideas but there is no script and no writer yet so it’s a way off.” Mangold would later reveal that Jackman was very involved in developing the story, saying, “Hugh and I have been friends for almost twenty years now, and he was there every step of the way. For Hugh and I, the first goal was to construct something more intimate. Hugh often brought up The Wrestler and Unforgiven as examples. I used those references as well as others. I pitched to both Hugh and the studio that I had an idea for an extremely bloody, existential Little Miss Sunshine.”
By March 2014, a decision was made to begin shooting after Bryan Singer’s X-Men: Apocalypse (2016), with the tentative plan to shoot the films back-to-back, with producer Hutch Parker stating, “… the goal will be X-Men: Apocalypse for 2016, which means at the latest [filming begins] in summer 2015, and then the same thing with Wolverine, either before or after, but based on the script.” Also in March, 20th Century Fox set a release date of March 3, 2017, Mangold boarded the project as director, Jackman signed on to reprise his role, and David James Kelly was hired to pen the screenplay. In April 2014, Jackman spoke about his ambitious feelings for the character of Logan while mentioning that they can go further than what they achieved in The Wolverine. Jackman also expressed his feelings of finality with portraying the character of Logan, while in terms of storyline, he explained that nothing had been decided as of yet. Jackman concluded by highlighting that the success of the script development would determine whether Jackman would return at all: “I haven’t signed on. I’m genuinely at that point where unless it’s better than the last one I’m not going to do it. I think it has to be better. I can still see where we can improve on the last one. I love the intimacy of that story, I liked the small stuff, I liked that it was a little unexpected.”
In February 2015, Patrick Stewart spoke of discussions about the third Wolverine film, centering around a team-up between Jackman’s Wolverine and himself as Charles Xavier, with Stewart stating to Marc Mohan that “… we have been talking about a Wolverine movie, which would team Hugh Jackman and myself together … That would be a very different sort of X-Men from the four movies that I’ve already done.” By April 2015, Michael Green had taken over screenwriting duties, with Mangold still actively overseeing the script development process. In September 2015, Jackman spoke of the writers being halfway through the script, and that the story would delve into the relationship between Wolverine and Professor X, to which he added, “I think it’s a really important relationship but I want to see signs of that quasi-father/son sort of relationship that has not been seen before, and sides of particularly Professor X that have not been seen before.”Jackman spoke of Mangold’s plan to start filming the next year, though he expressed uncertainty as to filming locations. Also in September, Mark Millar, creative consultant for Fox, confirmed that Mangold’s film would be a loose adaptation of the “Old Man Logan” story he had written in 2008, something that was hinted at earlier by Jackman. In October 2016, the title of the film was announced as Logan.
In January 2016, Jackman confirmed that Mangold had a full screenplay, albeit not complete. The following month, Liev Schreiber expressed interest in returning to portray Victor Creed / Sabretooth, with Jackman himself mentioning Mangold’s vision to Schreiber. After the film’s release, it was revealed by Jackman that originally the script had the character play a role in the film, but that Sabretooth was excluded from the final screenplay. By April 2016, Mangold had chosen Boyd Holbrook to portray the main antagonist of the movie, the chief of security for a global corporation that is pursuing Wolverine. Also by April, Richard E. Grant was cast as a villainous mad scientist, and Stephen Merchant had also been cast In May, Eriq Lasalle and Elise Neal were cast supporting roles, and Elizabeth Rodriguez entered negotiations for a small but key role. Also in May, producer Simon Kinberg revealed that filming had already begun, and confirmed that the movie would be R-rated; regarding the setting and tonality, he stated, “It takes place in the future, and as you and others have reported, it is an R-rated movie. It’s violent, it’s kind of like a western in its tone. It’s just a very cool, different film.”
The film included some vintage X-Men comic books, used both to advance the plot and as a metafictional reference. The director clarified that Marvel Comics allowed this on the condition that they could use actual characters and designs, but not use any real comic book issues. As a result, the comic book covers and pages seen in the film were made specifically for it, by writer Joe Quesada and artist Dan Panosian. Mangold commented that “The reality was that, like in Unforgiven, when [Clint] Eastwood runs into Richard Harris, who’s writing these fictional accounts of the great Western heroes, or Pat Garrett in Billy the Kid, where you’ve got these aging heroes who kind of are twilight versions of their own legends — I think that idea, of being a kind of celebrity, or like a sports star long past your heyday, was really interesting for me to investigate with this kind of world.” Panosian made 10 fake comic book covers, and interior arts were unused. He pointed that the arts had to resemble the style used in the Bronze Age of Comic Books, and pointed out that they also served to contrast their campy style with the darker tone of the live-action film itself. He said that “The colors and art itself juxtaposed against the raw and savage world in the film capture just how much innocence has been lost over time”.
- Hugh Jackman as James Howlett / Logan / Wolverine:
The X-Man and a physically enhanced mutant with accelerated healing. Charles Xavier’s former pupil and Laura’s biological father, dealing with his age and ailment. He is one of Charles Xavier’s caregivers, alongside Caliban. Mangold spoke of Logan’s age influencing his regenerative capabilities, which he stated may no longer produce soft skin, “so we imagined he heals quickly, still, but it leaves a scar. The simple idea was that his body would start to get a little more ravaged with a kind of tattooing of past battles, lacerations that remain of previous conflicts.” On the second page of the screenplay, Mangold spoke of Logan as “… he’s older now and it’s clear his abilities aren’t what they once were. He’s fading on the inside and his diminished healing factor keeps him in a constant state of chronic pain—hence booze as a painkiller.” In 2015, Jackman requested fan input for the direction Wolverine’s story should go in the next film while seeming to confirm that the project would serve as his farewell to Logan. To prepare for his role, Jackman ate a minimum of six meals per day when working with trainer Mike Ryan. Ryan stated that an average workout session for Jackman lasts up to three hours, beginning at 4:00 a.m. Jackman stated, “It’s going to be very different. Very different in tone and hopefully different to anything we’ve done.” Regarding the more personal tone, Jackman noted, “That’s always been really his dilemma, coming to terms with who he is”. Jackman has also explained that comedian Jerry Seinfeld was indirectly responsible for his decision to stop playing Logan after 17 years, with Jackman stating, “I was having a chat with [Seinfeld] about a year ago … he was talking about why he finished Seinfeld … He said he’d always had this feeling and belief that you never know when either your energy or the audience’s energy is going to dip over into people [saying] ‘Oh, please go.'” Jackman accepted a pay reduction to ensure that the film would be produced to receive an R-rating. Additionally, Jackman portrays Logan’s clone, X-24.
- Patrick Stewart as Charles Xavier / Professor X:
A mutant who is the world’s most powerful telepath, who is founder and former leader of the now-defunct X-Men and formerly known as Professor X. Charles’s telepathic abilities have become unstable due to age (over 90 years) and an unknown brain disease, and at times, he does not recognize Logan. During the events of Logan, Xavier is cared for by Logan and Caliban. Regarding Xavier and the themes of aging and loneliness, Mangold said, “We’ve seen these characters in action, saving the universe. But what happens when you’re in retirement and that career is over? … The really interesting thing to me, or a place to dig that hadn’t been dug, was the idea of mutants when they’re no longer useful to the world, or even sure if they can do what they used to do. Their powers are diminished like all of ours are by age … Our Charles is a very sweet character in this film. I think he’s always been an incredibly sweet character. With the addition of his own physical fragility in this movie, he becomes an incredibly powerful paternal figure in the movie. Logan is more of a reluctant one, I think you can easily guess.” Stewart remarked that “… this is probably the end of this franchise for me. But the thing about science fiction and fantasy is that you can never, ever say it’s the end, it’s over.”
- Richard E. Grant as Dr. Zander Rice:
The surgical head of Transigen, whose father was killed by Logan during his escape from Weapon X Headquarters at Alkali Lake. On the character of Rice, Mangold stated, “He’s the puppet master behind Pierce and the Reavers, and has a much larger role in the sense that he’s actually the kind of brilliant mind that is trying to grow mutants.”
- Boyd Holbrook as Pierce:
Transigen’s relentless, calculating, and intense head of security and leader of the militant Reavers, who is sent to retrieve Laura, which brings him into conflict with Wolverine. Holbrook said of the character, “He’s an innovative engineer and he’s a big fan of Wolverine. He just wants to hang out with him … There’s a lot of surprising stuff in it.” Mangold praised Holbrook’s performance, saying that “[he] is just a fabulous actor. I wanted this film to feel intimate and real and truthfully acted, and I wanted very much to break away from the kind of bloated feeling I’ve gotten from a lot of comic-book movies.”
- Stephen Merchant as Caliban:
An albino mutant who can sense and track other mutants, who is helping Logan take care of Xavier. On Merchant taking the role, Mangold mentioned, “I’m always interested to find the thing that looks most interesting on the actors. Stephen is a huge man. One of the things that is so wonderful filming with him for a character like this is that he’s a good six inches taller than Logan, and huge over Patrick. The little kid in the movie would come up to basically his knee. So there’s a wonderful sense of scale—but he has heart too.” Mangold concluded by stating, “… So that was a wonderful energy to enter the movie, and someone who instead of turning things into their own energy kind of joined ours.” A younger Caliban was previously portrayed by Tómas Lemarquis in X-Men: Apocalypse.
- Dafne Keen as Laura / X-23:
A mysterious young girl, who is “very much” like Logan as well as Logan’s biological daughter. She is also subject “X-23”. On Keen’s portrayal of Laura, Mangold mentioned, “If anyone could steal a movie from [Jackman], it would be Dafne. She carries, all the time, a slight strangeness.” In an interview with Digital Spy, Mangold stated, “… [Keen] was 11 years old when we were shooting. She’s a remarkable kid. Her parents are actors, and she’s kind of a very modern kid. Very physically capable. Incredibly gifted as an actress. I mean, it was a huge risk for Fox to allow me to make a movie where the third point of the triangle was built upon someone so young.” Mangold stated that the worldwide search for an actress to portray Laura was one in which he was seeking “someone who was bilingual because I wanted a Latina kid—one who was between 10 and 12, and was a credible child.” He later stated of Laura that: “She’s an 11-year-old girl equipped with all the volatility, instability, mood swings, shadows and potential violence of our hero.” Co-writer Scott Frank pushed for the character to speak as little as possible when he joined the project to avoid making her into a typical kid sidekick, explaining, “I read a few other drafts of the script that Jim worked on, and in all those drafts she was talking from the beginning and had an attitude. I thought that was a giant mistake.” 11 year old Nayah Murphy served as Dafne’s stunt double. Millie Bobby Brown auditioned for the role before Keen was cast. Logan was Keen’s film debut.
March 3, 2017
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