Hugh Jackman’s final outing as Wolverine in “Logan” takes the character to a dark, dystopian future with the Australian actor playing an aging hero hustling for prescription drugs in Texas across the border from Mexico, caring for a senile Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart).
While the latest “X-Men” outing is set in 2029, its gritty theme and location is a throwback to the Western era, which was actually a huge inspiration for both Jackman and director James Mangold.
Clint Eastwood’s “Unforgiven” and Mickey Rourke’s “The Wrestler” were both at the front of the star’s mind as he embarked on playing the troubled, blade-wielding character for the last time, according to USA Today.
Eastwood’s 1992 Western classic “slightly subverted Clint’s history and what people knew and expected of him,” Jackman said, while Rourke’s aging wrestler in Darren Aronofsky’s Oscar-nominated film “still has his desires and ambitions but the weight of everyday life and his past seem to be getting the better of him.”
While he is cemented in Marvel’s movie world, Logan also has dashes of a country music great weaved into his character. “Johnny Cash is a very Logan guy and vice versa,” Mangold said. Observant viewers will notice that the Man in Black is playing over the “Logan” trailer and in the movie’s end credits.
“What I love about Wolverine is this sense of a man trapped,” Mangold said, according to USA Today. “He doesn’t really want to be a superhero, unlike these other cats who are always getting dressed up and jumping around and shining their logo in the clouds. He doesn’t want the celebrity or the credit or the adoration. There’s a ton of shame on his back.”
He also a troubled young girl (Dafne Keen) thrown into his life to boot.
The core of the relationship between Logan and Laura actually harps back to “Shane,” a 1953 Western in which a tired gunfighter with a mysterious past, played by Alan Ladd, rides into into an isolated valley in Wyoming and falls in with a family to protect them from a ruthless cattle baron.
“Is he [Logan] frightened of villains? No. Aliens? No. Galactic destruction? No. His own demise? No. But he is scared of love,” Mangold said of Logan and Laura’s rocky relationship.
Just like in many of the Western that the movie honors, “Logan” will see Jackman riding off into the sunset, never to return to the role that he has played since 2000.
“Logan” hits theaters Friday, March 3.