Making a great film involves making a million decisions that eventually shape the structure and direction of the project. All legendary directors from the industry have made their mark by paying attention to detail (think Stanley Kubrick), even in areas that might seem unimportant to an audience member. These decisions can only be critiqued in retrospect, but nobody is really ever sure of how things might pan out for a film before its release. Until then, directors have to rely on their gut, vision, and colleagues to make informed decisions. James Mangold, the director of the commercial and critical hit “Logan” discussed one such crossroad he faced recently, and why he decided to draw a line on the “darkness” quotient of his film.

Old Man Logan

Nearly every X-Men film made so far has borrowed from the comic books to some extent, and “Logan” is not an exception. The source material responsible for shaping this brilliant film was a comic book titled “Old Man Logan." In this disturbing arc, Wolverine is manipulated into killing all his X-Men comrades by the hands of Mysterio who manages to get inside his head and do a real number on him.

This arc was borrowed by “Logan”, except that it was tied into Professor Charles Xavier’s story and not Wolverine's. In the opening act of “Logan”, we see Xavier reeling from the effects of his tragic past, but the incidents of the tragedy are never fully explored. We are made to understand that something dastardly has happened to the remainder of the X-Men, but we never see any scenes directly related to these events.

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The Alternate Ending

James Mangold, the director of the brilliant film, recently discussed his ideas for an alternate opening for “Logan” during an interview with IGN. During this talk, Mangold opened up about the reasons behind not portraying the fate that had befallen the X-Men in the opening minutes of the film, although a version of the script did dive into this very scenario.

“The reason we didn’t do it wasn’t to spare other films, it was that it redefined the movie. It made the movie about the X-Men, instead of being about Logan and Charles. And irrevocably, when you read the script opening that way, it became about this other tragedy, as opposed to that tragedy being something hovering like a shadow in the background for these characters.” said Mangold.

This makes a lot of sense considering how personal the overall tone of the film was to Hugh Jackman’s character. By keeping the story purely about Wolverine, Professor Xavier, and Little Wolverine, the film took on a brand new dimension and managed to stand out in the X-Men series. Not all superhero movies need to be dumbed down for the audiences, and “Logan” proved to the studios that the world is ready for a new breed of superhero films.