Now that Logan, Hugh Jackman's final outing as Wolverine, has come and gone, most fans have applauded the film as a milestone for superhero movies. But there are some holdouts who wish it had adhered closer to the comic book storyline Old Man Logan, which follows an aging Wolverine living in a world overrun by super-villains.
Most of the major characters in the Old Man Logan story — Hawkeye, Red Skull and Hulk — are owned by Marvel Studios, and were therefore off limits for Fox during Logan's development. This made the fan outcry for Fox to let the mutants join the Marvel Cinematic Universe even stronger.
But even if Marvel Studios had gotten the rights to the X-Men in the kind of deal that Sony made for Spider-Man, we would probably never seen a faithful Old Man Logan adaptation. Here are the three main reasons why:
1. The Extreme Violence
Let's make something clear: Old Man Logan is not only violent, it's also extremely disturbing, to the point where certain pivotal story elements can leave you reaching for a trashcan days after you've read it. In the movie industry, that translates to a hard R.
Regardless of how complex Marvel Studios' stories get, they have always steered away from aspects that would ensure a mature rating. Yes, stories in the MCU — like the Daredevil, Luke Cage and Jessica Jones TV shows — have more mature elements, but that's partly why those characters are not integrated into the films.
The Marvel movies and the brand as a whole are enjoyed by children. Therefore, alienating its biggest audience by putting all of these notorious elements on screen — including the bloody deaths of several heroes — would not be a smart move. After all, people identify the MCU with fun and hope, and the studio wouldn't likely break away from that for a single dystopian movie.
Let's face it, a PG-13 adaptation of Old Man Logan would trigger countless cases of berserker rage among the fan community, and would defeat the purpose of why people wanted a faithful adaptation of the story in the first place.
2. The Vilification Of An Avenger
The Marvel Cinematic Universe is all about giving us heroes, which is why its villains are often one-dimensional obstacles to jump over. The studio wants to develop its main characters as role models to emulate.
A faithful adaptation of Old Man Logan would mean sacrificing the heroic status of one of the MCU's most important characters: Hulk. How? By making him the main, extremely vicious villain.In the original story, Bruce Banner had an incestuous relationship with his cousin, She-Hulk, and created a new breed of super-powered humanoids, who went on to become insatiable murderers.
That would taint the image of the character for years to come, and would make it difficult for audiences to connect with him once again. We'd all know that, just a few years after the latest Avengers movie, Hulk will go bananas and become a perverted, cannibalistic psychopath. Speaking of which...
3. Old Man Logan Would Give Finality To The MCU
A signature of comic books and the MCU is their never-ending nature. No matter how many times the end of the world might be teased, as readers we know there'll always be a new adventure for our heroes.
In fact, Marvel has touched upon the option of recasting or retiring characters but keeping the MCU's continuity going. In short, we know this franchise doesn't have the intention to end; its doors are always open for future storylines.
Old Man Logan would shred (heh, pun) that plan. The story takes place in a future where almost all superheroes are dead. It would give finality to the world. Marvel Studios is very strict with its continuity — therefore, after an adaptation of Old Man Logan, the characters would have an expiration date. That's the last thing Marvel Studios or Kevin Feige want to do.
Even if Old Man Logan were deemed an alternate, non-canon future for the MCU, it would just be too much of a departure from everything else the studio has ever done. There's no way Marvel would have ever filmed this story in a million years, and it's a small miracle that Fox was willing to give us a story with the same mature tone.
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As much as we might have desired to see a proper adaptation of Old Man Logan, an incredibly intriguing story that would've made for the boldest superhero movie in history, we should recognize that James Mangold's Logan is an intriguing, bold story in its own right. Ultimately, Logan expanded the core concept of Old Man Logan while crafting a new idea around it. That resulted in an incredible piece of storytelling that doesn't leave much to be desired.
We never got to see Old Man Logan on the big screen, but we are fortunate enough to have a pretty darn good variation of it.