Warning: This video and accompanying article contains massive spoilers for Logan.
Alas, poor Logan — we knew you as a mutant of infinite badassery and most excellent fury. After 17 years as the linchpin of Fox’s X-Men franchise, Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine has exited the series stage left in positively Shakespearean fashion in Logan, the Australian actor’s ninth and final time wearing his character’s claws. Wolverine’s big death scene — which we’ve exhaustively dissected — has been rattling audiences’ cages, with several fans confessing on Twitter that tears were shed when Jackman’s clawed alter ego breathed his last. Speaking with Yahoo Movies before the film’s release, Jackman expressed how profound that moment was for him as an actor. “I was sad it was over,” he confesses. (Watch our spoiler-filled video interview with Jackman and Patrick Stewart above.)
Interestingly, Jackman reveals that Logan’s death isn’t the final scene he shot as the character. Instead, weather issues prompted director James Mangold to film that scene three days ahead of schedule. So Jackman and his young co-star, Dafne Keen — who plays Logan’s daughter and successor, Laura, aka X-23 — took their places, with her kneeling over the 200-year-old mutant as he succumbed to his wounds and the adamantium that had been poisoning his body.
“We hadn’t seen Dafne in this [emotional] place before,” Jackman remembers. “The heart of that scene is in her reaction, really.” Keen rose to the occasion, and Mangold pronounced himself “happy” with the result. But rather than immediately move on to the next scene, he approached Jackman with an offer the actor couldn’t refuse. “[He told me] ‘I’m going to invent a new angle … and I want you to have a half-hour as an actor at the end of 17 years to just live in that for a little bit.’ That was a gift I’ll never forget.”
Wolverine isn’t the only major casualty in Logan. Stewart also takes his final bow as Professor Charles Xavier, a role he originated in Bryan Singer’s inaugural 2000 X-Men adventure. As Stewart himself pointed out, Professor X had already died twice before in X-continuity (once in The Last Stand and again in the future segments of Days of Future Past), but this time it’s permanent. “This is the end for me too. I’m not going to come back. This is so perfect a closure to what we’ve been doing,” he says.
It’s certainly hard to think of a more tragic end for Xavier, who is murdered by Logan’s lethal clone twin, the X-24. In preparing to play Professor X’s final moments, Stewart says, he drew inspiration from his friend and fellow actor Brian Blessed, who performed a memorable death scene in the classic 1976 British miniseries I, Claudius. “Something happened in his eyes — they actually misted over and became blank. He told me that he went somewhere else in his mind. That’s what I tried to do in Logan. I went inside rather than outside.”
Watch Stewart and Jackman talk about the film’s R rating: