Beating all expectations, Logan was a mix of every aspect necessary to make not just a great superhero film, but a great film, period: Compelling story, relatable characters, gut-wrenching action and a whole lot of tear-jerking drama. It was, without a doubt, a worthy sendoff for the character.
Because of that, you might be surprised to know #HughJackman was initially not a fan of one of the film's most important elements: Wolverine's evil clone, X-24, who was twice as vicious and without the 200-year mileage of his predecessor.
Jackman sat down for an interview with Collider to promote the upcoming release of the movie on Blu-ray. There, the actor opened up about the film's development process, and revealed he originally didn't feel comfortable with the addition of the clone.
X-24's Development Journey
Jackman was afraid that, if the antagonist was a clone of the protagonist, he would serve as the fulfillment Logan didn't get as a character in terms of his unhinged persona. He felt it was a disservice to fans who clamored to see Logan on full-berserker mode for years to suddenly get a completely different (and evil) version of the character replacing him in doing it:
“I was very skeptical of having X-24 being played by me. I understood what it represented and thematically the idea of battling himself [...] But I also know that myself as an actor and fans of Wolverine come up to me in the street every day and go, ‘We wanna see that full berserker animalistic crazy off-the-wall Wolverine,’ right? That we don’t feel we’ve fully seen it, so I was like, ‘Jim if we introduced halfway or near the end of the movie that full berserker animalistic crazy Wolverine and he’s somehow fighting our hero, audiences won’t know what to feel.’"
After admitting he was "a bit of a pain in the ass," we have to ask ourselves, does he have a point? While his feelings were completely understandable, there was a very unique aspect that Wolverine's villainous personification brought to the film, aside from the unleashed physicality. X-24 and Logan represented both sides comprising the character, his duality. One side couldn't wait to hack and slash his way through anyone who pisses him off, while the other wanted to be a good person living in peace.
Fortunately, the actor eventually understood this and came to terms with the addition, realizing they had in fact come full-circle with their version of Wolverine. He also revealed he made certain subtle changes to himself to give each of his characters a point of separation:
"When I saw the movie it’s just clear, for some reason I think because he skewers Patrick Stewart in that moment the audience just sort of hates him. We did some subtle things, I changed the bridge of my nose, I wore contacts—I just wanted him to look a little different from myself. And I think by that point we’d created already the Wolverine that people wanted to see."
Keeping X-24 A Secret For So Long
Fox pulled off with X-24 something that, due to the internet feeding fans' hunger for juicy information on blockbusters, is quite difficult to achieve nowadays: Keeping the character a secret. Up to the release of the film, in fact, we had no idea who would serve as Wolverine's actual physical foil, which is quite impressive for a major blockbuster.
To give you an example of how clueless we were about the topic, one trailer teased a character with claws as Wolverine's physical foil. Theories ranged from Lady Deathstrike to an aged Sabretooth, but a dark, younger version of Wolverine wasn't an option that popped up. Even Jackman was surprised by the successful mystery of the film. He commended the cast and crew for never even dropping hints about it, despite him constantly having to switch between the two roles:
“Yeah actually now that I think about it, I mean there’s a lot of secrecy around these things and everyone tries to protect it, but it’s kind of actually amazing. I suppose that when we were shooting it, I was shooting both parts so I played both, so if I turn up on set everyone just knows I’m playing that. That’s a good point, I’ve gotta give props to the crew and the cast, no one spilled the beans. I hadn’t thought about it until just now. But it’s fun being in screenings and watching people gasp. They do not see it coming.”
That's great and like I said, really impressive. However, there's something worth pointing out: Ironically enough, Jackman himself ruined the duality's surprise. Before we got any sort of first look at #Logan, the actor posted an image of himself on Instagram:
The picture caused a stir online, as people assumed the actor was sick. Now that we've seen Logan, it's evident the actor was somewhere in-between transformations from Wolverine to the younger, shaved-headed X-24. Granted, at the time we had no idea that that would be in the film, but nonetheless, it alluded to the surprise.
Jokes aside, overall X-24 gave Logan several layers to both the story and the characters. My personal favorite was a beautiful metaphor near the end of the film. X-24, serving as the representation of Logan's irrational side, got the better of Wolverine and nearly killed him, but Laura stepped and took him down.
At the risk of reading too much into something, that fast-paced moment signified the death of the bestial side of himself that Logan was never fond of, before he himself passed away, finally happy and peaceful. That type of metaphor is extremely hard to pull off in a superhero film, and X-24 served as a great vehicle to deliver it, so I'm glad he was part of Wolverine's last ride.
Logan is now available on Digital HD and will be released on Blu-ray, 4K and DVD on May 23, 2017.
How did you feel about X-24? Did you think he was a necessary addition or would you have preferred not to have him in Logan? Let me know in the comments!