(Ahead, the director of Logan, James Mangold, discusses with us the ending of his movie. If you haven’t seen Logan and don’t want the ending spoiled, you should not keep reading. This is your only warning.)
Hugh Jackman has made it clear that Logan would be his last time playing Wolverine. And if you’re reading this, you are well aware that this was not an idle threat, as Wolverine finally found peace in the form of his own death.
Director James Mangold, for his part, realizes that Wolverine’s death (and Charles Xavier’s death) wouldn’t be a huge surprise to audiences who were kind of expecting this. “The deaths were, well, in a way, we all knew they were coming,” says Mangold, who barely thinks of these as spoilers. So, in his mind, it wasn’t the fact these two beloved characters were going to be killed, it was more about giving them the proper sendoff that fans would appreciate.
“You know you have to do it right,” says Mangold. He continues, “The ‘do it right’ part, you can only do by your own sense, meaning my idea of doing it right. And I think this was Hugh’s idea as well: to do it with the dramatic commitment of any serious film we’d make.”
Mangold continues, ”When people say ‘comic book movie,’ there’s a pejorative – not among the comic book fans of the world, but in the general critical world and the general world. It means kind of dumber. It shouldn’t mean that, because comic books themselves have always been incredibly grown up. And part of the appeal for all of us as adolescents was that they were more sophisticated than the Saturday morning cartoons or the other stuff we were being fed. And so did movies, in a sense. And my own goal was to try to do the opposite, which was to just kind of lean in.”
So does Mangold feel like fans will be satisfied with the way Logan’s death was portrayed? “That’s our hope,” says Mangold. ”That is our hope, I mean, because it has been an amazing run, for Hugh, particularly.”
But did he feel the pressure about killing off two of the most popular cinematic characters of the last 17 years?
“It was just about doing it right,” says Mangold, “which, as a filmmaker, is a wonderful pressure to have. I felt the same way, frankly, making a movie about Johnny Cash [Walk the Line]. You feel the weight of all these people who are like, ‘You better not fuck this up.’”
As far as the death of Patrick Stewart’s Charles Xavier is concerned, Mangold is quick to point out, “Patrick’s been kind of killed twice.”
So does that mean there’s hope we might see Stewart play Charles again? Mangold answers frankly while laughing, “I don’t know if he can come back from what we did.”
You can contact Mike Ryan directly on Twitter.