With James Mangold's Logan long set up to be Hugh Jackman's final turn as the titular superhero, talk has been swirling for the last couple years about the possibility of seeing the return of Sabretooth to the big screen -- specifically the incarnation brought to life by Liev Schreiber in 2010's X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Sadly, that idea didn't wind up coming together, as the feral mutant character isn't featured in the new blockbuster... but he definitely did almost have a role. As I recently learned from Logan screenwriter Scott Frank, there were plans to have Sabretooth featured in a sequence in the middle of the movie, but ultimately it was an element that got cut out of the script.
With Logan arriving in theaters this Friday, I had the wonderful opportunity to talk with Scott Frank over the phone earlier this week, and one of the many aspects of Logan that we discussed was the possibility of including Sabretooth in the narrative. When I first brought up Wolverine's arch-nemesis/sibling, the screenwriter at first didn't recall if he was ever mentioned in planning, but then later in the conversation remembered that there was nearly a part for the character to play in the part of the movie when Logan, X-23 and Xavier are traveling through Oklahoma City. Said Frank,
There was a moment when we were thinking about, as I recall, Jim [Mangold] had an idea where when they were on the run, and they go to the gambling town, there may have been at that point they were going to see [Sabretooth] for help. He was going to be there for help. Now that you mention it! I wouldn't swear to it, but we thought that would have been an interesting thing to do. And then for whatever reason we didn't do it.
This certainly would have made for an interesting representation of the character, if not just because Sabretooth has never exactly been the "helpful" type. That being said, considering that the movie is set in a world where mutants are all but extinct, it wouldn't be totally unreasonable to think that Sabretooth might be willing to lend a hand to a few of the last remaining members of the Homo superior species. The change in dynamic would have definitely been something interesting to see in the film, but presumably it was somehow disruptive or didn't fit, which is why it was removed.
When viewed from the franchise perspective, this choice may wind up ruffling the feathers of a few fans - as the relationship between Sabretooth and Wolverine could have used a nice conclusion - but when looked at in the context of what Logan is, the decision does make sense. James Mangold and Scott Frank made a very deliberate decision to keep the number of mutants in the movie very limited, and starting to create exceptions for notable characters could have easily created a bad "opening of the floodgates" situation that they didn't want. Making the choice to not include Sabretooth allows the focus to stay on Logan, Xavier and X-23, and that's exactly where it needs to be for the story that is being told.
As mentioned earlier, Logan is arriving in theaters this week, and you can be sure that you'll find plenty more about the movie here on CinemaBlend in the coming days and weeks (including more from my interview with Scott Frank). Stay tuned for that, and hit the comments section below to tell us what you think about Sabretooth not being in the film.