Spoiler warning: If you haven't seen Logan yet, go watch Hugh Jackman's final stab at Wolverine before you read the rest of this article or you'll descend into a berserker rage fiercer than Logan's cameo in X-Men Apocalypse.
Some fans may have been disappointed to discover that Wolverine doesn't wear his iconic comic book costume at any point in Logan, but to be honest, a black cloak and a pointy scythe may have been more appropriate anyway. After all, death follows Logan everywhere he turns in this dystopian future, whether it be the Munson family or #ProfessorXavier himself.
However, one of the most shocking deaths of all happened entirely offscreen, yet still dealt a devastating blow to fans who have fallen in love with the #XMen franchise. Audience favorites such as Cyclops, Storm and Jean Grey reportedly met their untimely end before the events of Logan took place — and no, it wasn't a longtime nemesis of the team who killed them. It was their beloved mentor, Professor Charles Xavier.
'The Westchester Incident'
While the marketing campaign initially led us to believe that #Wolverine himself could have been responsible for the X-Men's fate, incorporating aspects of the comic book story line Old Man Logan, hints began to suggest that Charles Xavier could somehow be responsible for their absence instead.
However, it's not until Donald Pierce and the Reavers attack Charles in the casino that we realize the truth. The stress of the situation immediately exacerbates Xavier's degenerative mental condition, causing him to lash out in response and cripple everyone nearby in unbearable psychic pain. As Logan, Charles and Laura make their get-away, the car radio reports on the attack, comparing what happened at the casino with a previous incident where over 600 people were paralysed and several people died, including some of the X-Men.
While it's not explicitly said, the facts are clear. During one of Xavier's breakdowns, he accidentally killed his beloved students in their own home, each of whom were defenceless against his psychic attack.
Despite its low-key reveal, this heartbreaking moment holds almost as much resonance as the death of Charles himself. After all, the X-Men are iconic characters who endured in pop culture decades long before they found a wider audience in Hollywood. However, there may yet be hope for fans who wish to see at least some of the team return in the future.
Did Any Of The X-Men Survive The Westchester Incident In 'Logan'?
While no reference is made to any surviving members of the team, that radio report holds one vital clue which suggests that some of the X-Men may have survived Xavier's attack.
The key here is that only "some" reportedly died. If the entire team had been killed, the radio report would have just said that outright. Of course, Wolverine survived, so one could argue that the word 'some' refers to everyone except him, but that specific use implies that more than one team member survived.
If that's true, then who could it be? Our money's on Jean Grey. After all, Jean is a powerful telepath in her own right, and her psychic abilities could have shielded her from Xavier's meltdown. Psylocke or other minor members who possess similar gifts could have also resisted Xavier's attack to a degree, but his mind is the strongest on earth, and it's likely that Jean would be the only one to rival his power.
If Jean or even more of her teammates did survive though, why don't they appear in Logan? Well, there's a possibility that they could have died after the Westchester incident through other means, or perhaps they just couldn't forgive Xavier for what happened, despite the condition he suffered.
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If any of the X-Men did survive the Westchester Incident, then is there a chance that we could see these older versions of their characters appear in future movies? A Logan sequel seems rather unlikely, but if the cloned children end up forming their own team, then we could perhaps see one of the surviving X-Men help them come to terms with their powers, taking on the mentor role left behind in Xavier's wake. The idea of seeing a battle-hardened Jean Grey from this post-apocalyptic future is too tantalising to pass up.
Do you think any of the X-Men survived the Westchester Incident?
(Poll Image Credit: Marvel Comics)