OK, let’s get two things out of the way right up front. Logan, in theaters now, is the third standalone Wolverine film starring Hugh Jackman as everyone’s favorite Canadian mutant. “Old Man Logan” is a storyline from the Wolverine ongoing comic book series that will be familiar to many readers.
Let’s take a look at how the “Old Man Logan” comics inspired the Logan movie…
The film finds Logan hiding out near the Mexican border in the year 2029. He cares for an ailing Professor X. The X-Men are gone and Logan is starting to feel his age. His healing factor still works, but not as well as it should, causing him to self-medicate with alcohol to keep the pain at bay. Tired and broken, Logan wants nothing more than to be left alone. Until a young girl called Laura – who is very much like Logan – enters his life. But Laura is hunted by the Reavers, cyborgs working for the Essex Corporation who want Laura for their own dark purposes.
“Old Man Logan,” the 2008 comic book event, was written by Mark Millar. Similarly, it’s set in a post-apocalyptic future and features an emotionally broken Wolverine living in an America ruled by supervillains.
Old Man Logan is set in an alternative future where all the supervillains united to defeat the combined heroes.
Wolverine himself was responsible for killing the X-Men. Tricked by Mysterio into believing that his friends were enemies, he slaughtered them all. Despondent and broken, Wolverine tries to commit suicide, but his healing factor doesn’t allow him to die.
Logan becomes a pacifist, and 50 years later he lives in California as a farmer with his wife and children. And here’s where it starts to get weird…
After missing a rent payment, Logan needs money or his family will be killed. The only other known surviving superhero, Hawkeye, arrives with an offer to accompany him across America. Now blind, Hawkeye needs a bodyguard and guide. Logan sets off on one last adventure to save his family.
So the movie Logan is pretty different from the comic book source material. Let’s talk about why.
Logan is not an adaptation of “Old Man Logan” for many reasons. Firstly,”Old Man Logan” features a ton of characters who are not available to 20th Century Fox due to licensing agreements with Marvel. Characters like Hawkeye, Bruce Banner, and Red Skull – who all play prominent roles – are exclusive to Marvel Studios and their Cinematic Universe.
Let’s be honest… Logan not being a direct adaptation is probably for the best. Not having to slavishly recreate a well-regarded tale gives director James Mangold a free hand to craft a tale that is both unique and in keeping with the established X-Men universe already committed to film.
When a story is told as well as “Old Man Logan,” it’s better to simply draw inspiration from the source material and that’s what Logan does. Here’s how:
- Logan wants nothing more than to be left alone to live his life.
- Xavier appears to fill the role that Hawkeye fills in “Old Man Logan,” namely that of the old ally who pushes him to get involved once more.
- And while Logan doesn’t have a family, family is still an important theme.
- Xavier is the father figure (despite actually being younger than Logan), and the addition of Laura gives Logan a surrogate daughter.
Now, you probably know about Laura (A.K.A. X-23) and how she becomes the new Wolverine in the current comics continuity. Here’s why that’s important.
Jackman was initially adamant that Logan would be his last outing wearing Wolverine’s claws, but this has been downplayed as of late. Thanks to the success of Deadpool and Ryan Reynolds’ wish for a Wolverine/Deadpool team-up movie, Jackman could stick around a little longer. If anything can tempt him to unleash the claws for one last time (again), it’s probably the prospect of that film.
However, if Jackman doesn’t return to the role, does a different Wolverine have a future in film? Since the X-Men movies have already used time travel to avoid bad futures, could a MacGuffin like that be used to transport Laura from the future to the past where she can become a superhero with the X-Men at their prime? Or will she be the seed used to resurrect the X-Men in the future, becoming Logan’s legacy? The possibilities boggle the mind.