Hugh Jackman is expected to take a final bow as Marvel Comics’ clawed mutant Wolverine in director James Mangold’s upcoming film Logan, the third — and possibly final — installment of the character’s solo franchise and the follow-up to 2013’s The Wolverine.
Directed by Mangold from a script by David James Kelly (Straw Man) and Michael Green (Green Lantern), Logan also brings back fellow X-Men franchise actor Patrick Stewart as an aging Charles Xavier. The telepathic mutant joins Logan for one last adventure in a future when mutants have all but disappeared from the world and a young girl with all-too familiar abilities finds herself in dire need of a hero.
With Logan hitting theaters March 3, 2017, here’s everything we know about the movie so far.
Place your bets
You can probably chalk it up to the intense promotional cycle leading up to the film’s premiere, but Logan actor Boyd Holbrook is feeling pretty confident about the film’s box-office potential.
In a March 2017 interview, Holbrook joked — or maybe he wasn’t joking — that he expects the movie to surpass the lofty mark set by fellow “R”-rated comic book movie Deadpool last year, and he was willing to wager his own money on it.
“I’m taking bets,” the actor told Uproxx. “I’m hoping this thing is going to beat Deadpool.”
Although early word on Logan seems promising, beating Deadpool at the box office would be no small achievement. The 2016 film that cast Ryan Reynolds as Marvel Comics’ mouthy mercenary was one of the year’s biggest surprises, earning more than $363 million domestically and $783 million worldwide, and setting a new opening weekend record for “R”-rated movies ($132.4 million).
With Logan hitting theaters in less than 48 hours, the outcome of that bet will be known soon enough.
A bloody introduction to X-23
Early on in the development cycle for Logan, young actress Dafne Keen was cast in the role of Laura Kinney. This raised alarms for Marvel Comics fans, who recognized that character as the mutant clone of Wolverine introduced back in a 2004 miniseries, who came to be known by her code name, X-23.
X-23’s presence in the film was later confirmed through various updates on the project’s development and each of the trailers released for the film, and now a brief video posted by Logan director Mangold offers an up-close and bloody peek at the character’s big-screen origin. (Warning: The clip is somewhat graphic, in keeping with R rating of the film.)
Titled simply “laura.mov,” the footage depicts Keen’s character being operated on, likely to coat her bones with the same adamantium coating that makes Wolverine nearly indestructible. She’s seen with her claws messily protruding through her fists, and later shown cutting herself with her own claws in an isolated cell.
As far as introductions go, it’s a memorably visceral one.
A super trailer and the first clip
Wolverine made his presence known in a big way during the 2017 Super Bowl with a brand new trailer for Logan.
Just a day later, 20th Century Fox released the first, official clip from the film. The clip features Hugh Jackman’s Logan coming to the aid of a character played by ER actor Eriq La Salle.
Titled “You Know The Drill,” the clip suggests that Wolverine hasn’t lost all the abilities that make him a force to be reckoned with in his old age.
New trailer, fresh blood
The second, full-length trailer for Logan (embedded above) premiered January 19, 2017, and took things to a new level with the film’s brutal action — particularly involving young actress Dafne Keen’s character, Laura Kinney, a young mutant who appears to have powers (and claws) similar to those of Wolverine.
Much like the Marvel Comics character X-23 (a mutant cloned from Wolverine), Laura appears to have all of Wolverine’s rage, strength, and fearsome weapons, but even less of the control Logan has struggled to develop over the years. The trailer also includes an interesting moment with Logan, Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart), and Laura perusing an X-Men comic book — a bit of self-awareness that suggests that the film’s R rating might not be all it borrowed from last year’s Deadpool.
The scars tell a story
The first trailer for Logan featured a bruised, battered, and bloody Wolverine in several scenes, leading to much speculation about what this could mean for the character’s famous healing ability.
Mangold addressed some of those question in an interview with Empire, reiterating that the version of the character seen in Logan is well past his prime — to the point where his mutant healing factor just isn’t working as well as it once did.
“One of the things we all thought about as we worked on this film is, well, we don’t want to rebuild everything. We want to have some questions,” explained Mangold. “In order to make a different Logan, and a different tone of a Wolverine movie, we felt like we couldn’t hold on to every tradition established in all the movies religiously, or we’d be trapped by the decisions made before us.”
“So we questioned whether Logan’s healing factor causes him to heal without even a scar,” he continued. “We imagined that it may have when he was younger, but with age, he’s getting older and ailing. Perhaps his healing factor no longer produces baby-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.”
Seeing is believing, bub
After months of sporadic updates, followed by several weeks of a new photo from the set of the film appearing seemingly each day (sometimes more than one photo in a single day), the first trailer for Logan was released on October 20.
Confirming months of speculation, the Logan trailer appeared to combine several of the most popular story lines from Wolverine’s comic-book history in one big-screen adventure. Elements of writer Mark Millar’s celebrated Old Man Logan comic book miniseries (featuring a geriatric Wolverine on a cross-country journey) seemed to be blended with the story of Wolverine’s clone, X-23, and wrapped around a larger conspiracy story that does indeed seem to connect with the sinister Essex Corp. from the comics, which was alluded to in the post-credits scene from X-Men: Apocalypse.
A red-band, international trailer for Logan was released a short time later, featuring much of the same footage as the original trailer with the addition of a brief scene around the 1:28 mark that suggests this version of Wolverine isn’t going to skimp on the brutal use of his claws.
One last ride
Plans for the film that would eventually become Logan kicked off in late 2013, with 20th Century Fox approaching Mangold to direct a sequel to The Wolverine, which effectively saved the character’s solo franchise due to its critical and commercial success.
Previously, Jackman indicated that he believed he was nearing the end of his run as Wolverine, having appeared in eight films in the X-Men franchise so far — six of which cast him in a featured role — so there was speculation early on that his next film could be his last as the popular Marvel Comics character. In a July 2015 request for fan input on the direction Wolverine’s story should go in the next film, Jackman seemed to confirm (via an image posted on Twitter) that the project would serve as his farewell to Logan.
My last time putting on the claws. What do you want to see happen? 50 words or less. I'll read as many as I can. pic.twitter.com/ksA1Gii5tf
— Hugh Jackman (@RealHughJackman) July 27, 2015
“My last time putting on the claws. What do you want to see happen? 50 words or less. I’ll read as many as I can.” he wrote in the caption for a photo depicting Wolverine with one claw extended, along with the hashtag “#OneLastTime.”
Various reports during the film’s development cycle then began hinting that the 2008-2009 miniseries Old Man Logan — which followed a past-his-prime Logan undertaking a final adventure through a post-apocalyptic version of the Marvel Comics universe — would be the inspiration for the next Wolverine solo movie. Those rumors were confirmed by Old Man Logan writer Mark Millar in a September 2015 interview with IGN.
Casting for the film soon began in earnest, with Jackman already locked in as Wolverine, and various other familiar faces from the franchise, as well as newcomers to the X-Men cinematic universe, added to the cast in the following months.
Cameras began rolling on the movie in May, and filming concluded a few months later, in August. The official title for the film, Logan, was finally revealed by Jackman on October 5.
Going old for something new
From the very early stages of development on Logan, speculation suggested that the film would take inspiration from Old Man Logan, an acclaimed, eight-issue story written by Millar that kicked off in 2008 and featured an aging Wolverine embarking on one final, cross-country adventure.
Casting reports for the film seemed to reiterate the future setting of the film, and Millar himself later confirmed that his story would inform the film in one way or another. Those rumors were confirmed in October, when some of the first images, official title, and a page form the script of the film were all revealed in a flurry of Logan-related news.
Among the announcements made during a busy week for the film was the debut of the movie’s first, official poster, which Mangold revealed on Twitter.
The poster generated a new line of speculation with its depiction of a child’s hand holding Wolverine’s clawed hand, with fans now led to believe the film could also feature the debut of X-23, the teenage mutant cloned from Logan who is a prominent character in the Marvel Comics universe.
This was followed by an image of Narcos actor Boyd Holbrook on the set of the film, posted by Mangold in mid-October. The director’s caption for the film, “Pierce,” hinted that he could be playing Donald Pierce — a recurring foe of the X-Men in Marvel’s comics and the leader of a deadly, anti-mutant organization called The Reavers.
X-Men franchise director Bryan Singer later indicated in the commentary track for 2016’s X-Men: Apocalypse that his film’s post-credits scene — which features a group of mysterious agents from “Essex Corp.” removing a vial of Wolverine’s blood from a secret government laboratory — would directly connect with the debut of popular X-Men foe Mr. Sinister in the next Wolverine solo movie. This added yet another layer to the story rumors surrounding the film.
Many elements of the rumors and speculation were eventually confirmed on October 20, when the first trailer for Logan premiered. Along with offering the first footage from the film, it also indicated that the film would indeed be a mash-up of Old Man Logan with the story of X-23 (or at least, a movie version of the character), The Reavers, and various other story threads that had been discussed in the preceding months.
Mutants (and non-mutants) assemble
Jackman’s role as Wolverine in Logan had always been assured, but the rest of the film’s cast included quite a few surprises as each actor was announced.
Most notable among the returning characters is Stewart as an aging Charles Xavier. Stewart hinted at a potential return to the character as far back as February 2015, and confirmed his role in Logan in early 2016. The first photo of Stewart in character was revealed by Mangold in October 2016, however, and featured a very different look for the former leader of the X-Men.
Taken w/ Leica S 007 Summicron 100mm, ISO 3200 1/250 ƒ3.4 — by JM pic.twitter.com/Jhwsf7uBhv
— Mangold (@mang0ld) October 6, 2016
Among the other cast members announced — and later featured in photos posted by Mangold or on Instagram by the studio, cast, or creative team on the movie — was actor and comedian Stephen Merchant as Caliban, the albino mutant with the ability to track other mutants.
Merchant appeared in character in a set of photos posted in early October.
Taken w/ Leica S 007 Summicron 100mm, ISO 1600 1/250 ƒ2 — by JM pic.twitter.com/8P3s5Mdruo
— Mangold (@mang0ld) October 17, 2016
Narcos actor Boyd Holbrook also appeared in a noteworthy photo posted on Instagram, as it hinted that he would play an infamous character well-known to X-Men comics fans: Donald Pierce.
The leader of a dangerous, fanatical group of anti-mutant agents known as The Reavers, Donald Pierce was a recurring enemy — and a dangerous one, responsible for the deaths of several characters — for the X-Men. In one particularly memorable story line from Marvel’s comics, Donald Pierce crucified Logan as a warning to other mutants after defeating him.
Other cast members officially announced for the film include Richard E. Grant as Dr. Zander Rice, scientist for Essex Corp., and Dafne Keen as Laura Kinney, the young mutant cloned from Wolverine. Eriq La Salle, Elise Neal, and Elizabeth Rodriguez all appear in unidentified supporting roles.
The first photo of Jackman as an aging, scarred Logan was posted by Mangold on October 19, the day before the first trailer for the film was released.
Taken w/ Leica SL, Noctilux 50mm, ISO 1600 1/1000 ƒ1.7 — by JM pic.twitter.com/Rz4MUyctqq
— Mangold (@mang0ld) October 19, 2016
Logan is scheduled to hit theaters March 3, 2017.
Updated on 3-1-2017 by Rick Marshall: Added comments from Boyd Holbrook regarding Logan box office vs. Deadpool box office.