Why Old Man Logan WON'T Work
Okay first off, despite the internet rumors the Wolverine 3 movie has NOT been confirmed by Fox as being the Old Man Logan story. However, that doesn’t mean that it won’t happen. Recently Old Man Logan writer Mark Millar stated in an interview that, in his opinion, the story can still be done despite Fox not owning the rights to almost every character in the story with the exception of Wolverine. Millar said that the major characters he used in his story "aren’t important" to the overall theme. He also made the suggestion that Hawkeye could be replaced with Cyclops and it would have the same impact on the story.
They’re not important to the story. The way I worked that thing is I actually structured it as, I broke it down mechanically – I figured out going from this part of America to that part of America and what he would encounter along the way, and then I added in the adversities later. Basically Wolverine doing The Road movie is the important thing and he has a friend [a blind Hawkeye] with him. But that friend could be Cyclops and he could be blind by the fact that his ruby-quartz visor is broken and he has to keep his eyes closed the whole time and everything, but still insists on driving the car they’re crossing America with. There’s lots of stuff. Instead of the Hulk, you could have the Blob or something.
I happen to disagree with Millar. Let’s go over a few reasons why Old Man Logan shouldn’t be made.
First let’s take a quick look at all of the major plot points in this story starting from the beginning:
All the Superheroes are dead and the U.S. has been divided into four quarters. The quarters being controlled from West to East by Hulk, Kingpin, Dr. Doom and Red Skull. Red Skull is currently President of the U.S.
Right away we are presented with a problem. Fox only owns the right to one of the villains in this story and it’s safe to say that after the train wreck that was Fantastic Four they won’t be eager to rush into yet another rebooting of his character
Logan and his family live in Hulkland where the residents are under constant fear and intimidation from the Hulk gang run by Bruce Banner and his grandchildren. Now a pacifist Logan hasn’t fought or used his claws in 50 years and has sworn off violence completely.
One of the most interesting and important aspects of this entire story is Millar’s portrayal of Bruce Banner and the Hulk gang. This aspect sets the tone in both the beginning and the end of the story and for many readers was the one of the things about the story that really drew them in. Without the presence of the Hulk an Old Man Logan adaptation just won’t have the same feel to it.
Hawkeye arrives and talks a very hesitant Logan into taking a road trip with him to deliver an undisclosed package to his contacts on the East Coast. A now blind Hawkeye and Logan set off for their journey in none other than the Spidermobile.
Hawkeye is the co-star of this story. The more intriguing aspect of his character in this story is the fact that his is blind. In his recent interview Mark Millar suggested that Fox could swap Hawkeye with Cyclops without compromising the integrity of the story but as I’ll show soon, this won’t work.
After an encounter with the Molites Hawkeye and Logan are confronted by the Ghost Riders, a ruthless motorcycle gang that controls the territory. Logan still refuses to fight but Hawkeye takes them on and comes out victorious.
Marvel studios owns the Ghost Rider charters and so here is yet another event in the Old Man Logan story that won’t be seen onscreen.
Their next stop is to Hammer Falls where it’s explained that many years ago Thor was killed and here rests his hammer where crowds gather to pray for the return on the superheroes. In Hammer Falls Logan and Hawkeye are met by a friendly version of Ultron and are given the news that Hawkeyes daughter, currently donning the identity of Spiderwoman, has been taken hostage. Logan agrees to help Hawkeye find his daughter.
As you can see, here are three more characters that are off limits for Fox. All of which are critical to the story arch.
After Hawkeye and Logan finish their mission to find Clint’s daughter it’s revealed that the reason Logan became a pacifist is because 50 years ago Mysterio had tricked Wolverine into the murdering the entire X-Men team. Tortured by guilt Logan put violence behind him and hasn’t used his claws since.
This is the really, really critical part of the entire story. The reason Logan left his Wolverine persona in the past and decided to never fight or kill again is because he was the one responsible for killing the entire X-Men. Now, when Millar says that it would make sense to swap Hawkeye with Cyclops this is why I object. The impact killing the X-Men had on Wolverine is diminished by the idea that he didn’t in fact kill ALL of the X-Men, only some of them. It’s not a huge problem but it does impact the overall story. Would Cyclops come to Logan and draw him out of retirement and his pacifism knowing that Logan killed his teammates? And why would Cyclops even ask for such a favor if he knows how much pain Logan experienced in the ordeal? Also, the biggest reveal in the entire story comes with Logan telling Hawkeye about killing his teammates which can’t happen if Cyclops is already aware of this.
After a brief encounter with Emma Frost, Logan and Hawkeye meet their contact to whom they need to deliver the undisclosed package. Their contact happens to be agents of S.H,E.I.L.D and it’s revealed that the package contained a batch of super solider serum. The meeting is a sting set up by Red Skull. Hawkeye is shot and killed.
So here we are more than half way through the story and we’re just now seeing our first Fox owned character, Emma Frost. The problem here is that Emma Frost actually is one of the characters in the story that aren’t important unlike almost everyone else we’ve encounter thus far. So we finally come across a character Fox can use and it turns out she’s not very critical to the storyline at all.
From there Logan decides to confront Red Skull. When he gets to the White House (now occupied by Red Skull) he encounters Red Skull and kills him by decapitating him with Captain America’s shield.
One of the things that made the Old Man Logan story so impactful was the tragic event where Red Skull kills Captain American. To add insult to injury Red Skull actually wears Cap’s mask as a souvenir and has his shield hanging from the wall in his trophy room. The way Logan decapitates Red Skull with Cap’s shield was a satisfying taste of revenge that left the reader in awe. Certainly one of my favorite moments in the entire story.
Logan returns home to find that his family has been slaughtered by the Hulk gang. He decides to get his revenge, unsheathing his claws for the first time since he decided to put them away. He hunts down and kills all of the Hulk family before riding off into the sunset.
This is the most tragic part of the story. After returning home he find his family murdered. This sends Logan into a rage and it’s the first time in the story that we get to see the claws of Wolverine in action.
So as we can see, there is very, very little if anything at all that Fox can use from the Old Man Logan comic and still retain the story's integrity. I mean sure, they can put Wolverine and Cyclops together for a road trip and slap the name Old Man Logan on it but isn’t that exactly the kind of gimmick that comic book and superhero fans want to avoid? I disagree with Millar that this story can be adapted to film without losing anything. This is like saying that if a studio only owned one character in the Star Wars franchise they could remake Return of the Jedi using other science fiction characters without it really impacting the story. Simply cannot be done. Why even do the story if literally every single plot point is off limits? Mark Millar created an amazing world rich with characters and stories that captivated readers. The overall tone and feel of the story is what made it the success it was. Again, the question shouldn't be 'Can Fox do Old Man Logan’ but rather ‘SHOULD Fox do Old Man Logan’?
I think not.
(Give us your thoughts in the comments_