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The following story contains SPOILERS for James Mangold's Logan. If you haven't yet seen that amazing film, go now! Then come back, and read this.
Now we know. Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) dies at the end of Logan. We understood that this would be the final Wolverine movie for Jackman, after 17 years and 9 different performances in the role. But we didn't know if Mangold and Jackman would allow the mangy mutant to ride off into the sunset -- this is a modern Western, after all -- or bite the dust. Well, they killed him. But during a recent conversation I had with Mangold in New York City, I asked him HOW they came up with a method to kill off the classic X-Men hero. And he explained to me:
All those things are difficult, but I think the part of the 'how' [Wolverine dies] that was most tricky was to make sure that it's not killing him, but that the scenes in which he passes are worthy. That the movie itself is worthy. Meaning, nothing would be cheaper than to do that and somehow make a movie that is disposable, because it would then, in a way, say that he was.
Deciding that you are going to kill Wolverine is one thing. Figuring out HOW you are going to kill a virtually indestructible mutant who has stood the test of time, has a healing factor (even one that's fading), and has a skeleton coated in adamantium is an altogether different challenge. As you know -- because if you made it this far, you better have seen the movie -- Mangold uses X-24, played by Hugh Jackman in a bizarre and Freudian twist, to impale Logan on a jagged tree stump. This was after a lengthy battle, which took place after Wolverine had already fought off an army of Donald Pierce and Rice's men. So yeah, he wasn't long for this world. But it was X-24 that finally did him in. Symbolic. Poetic.
Logan roared out to an amazing start at the box office, banking an estimated $85 million domestically and a grand total of $238 million globally. The movie proves, much like Deadpool, that audiences will turn out for an R-rated superhero movie, though it's likely that fans turned out to support Hugh Jackman in his final turn as Wolverine.