Warning: Spoilers for Logan are in play, bub. You know the drill: bookmark this page, turn around, and get yourself to the next screening possible, unless you want to be spoiled.
What can you say about Logan that hasn't already been said? Well, quite a bit actually, as this R-rated powerhouse swept the box-office clean this weekend, and left a fair amount of questions and mysteries in its wake. One of the biggest mysteries to be raised by the film is what's been dubbed as "The Westchester Incident," an event that had a lasting impact on both Wolverine and Professor Charles Xavier.
The event is never shown in the film, but using the details given throughout Logan's various mentions of key details, we think we have a good idea as to what really happened. While we may never fully know what transpired on that fateful day, the ultimate takeaway is that it was an event so tragic and traumatic that it lead to Professor X being labelled as a weapon of mass destruction, and only Logan being able to take care of him.
Presented without further interruption, here's our take on what happened in Westchester and the effects it had on the world of Logan.
One day in the past events of the Logan tangent universe, Professor Charles Xavier had an incident. An episode that caused his mutant powers to become unstable, which in turn releases a huge, sustained wave of psionic energy. This energy, as we see in Logan, suspends everyone and everything in an immediate radius of the Professor, causing the inability to move or even breathe, as well as what looks like an intense headache. According to news reports after Professor Xavier's episode in Oklahoma City, the Westchester Incident left 600 people injured, meaning that this event was probably a wide spanning occurrence. This is not only the first moment that Professor X finds out he has a degenerative brain disorder, but it's also a watershed moment for the future of the X-Men in Logan's tangent timeline.
This very well may have been the cause for Professor Xavier's School for Talented Youngsters being disbanded. While it's not mentioned in so many words, the obvious lack of that setting in Logan, and references to how Charles "used to run a school," have the X-Mansion consigned to the past. Also, seeing as several X-Men are killed as a result, and there's undoubtedly government pressure to do "something" about mutants at this point, there's no way that the school could have operated for much longer after the Westchester Incident. What's also worth noting is that Wolverine was probably the only X-Men member to be able to stop Professor X. Not only apparently doesn't he have problems with being unable to breathe (as both Caliban states and X-Men: Days of Future Past's ending confirmed), he has the Adamantium coating his skull, which may have helped him resist Xavier's psionic attack.
When Did It Happen
While it's not implicitly stated in Logan, it's safe to assume that the tangent timeline that the film exists on loosely connects to the X-Men film franchise. Since no new mutants have been born since 2004, and Alkali/Transigen have been able to inhibit the birth of mutants since that time, it's safe to assume that the omission of X-Men: The Last Stand courtesy of X-Men: Days of Future Past was successful. So with that assumption, we can put this event after the future we see at the end of Days of Future Past, which marks the last time that we saw Logan and Professor X meet pre-Logan. Last, but not least, with X-Men: Apocalypse being confirmed as having a tie to Logan thanks to its mid-credits scene, this only further fuels the assumption that this film takes place, at least partially, in the timeline created with Bryan Singer's latest films.
Why It's So Important To Logan
The overarching themes of Logan deal with the confrontation of the darkness in one's past. It's about making good on sins previously committed, and while Wolverine is obviously fighting with the shadows of past misdeeds, Professor Xavier is also in a bit of a jam himself. For the most part, that's because somehow, the Professor didn't remember the Westchester Incident until his last moments in Logan. You can thank Wolverine for keeping the information from him, which was confirmed by dialogue delivered by Charles, in which he states:
I did something. Something unspeakable. I remember what happened in Westchester. Up until today, I didn't know. You wouldn't tell me.
With Professor Xavier's mind so far gone, the only thing for Logan to do was to lie low and keep Xavier under wraps until he had enough money to buy the Sunseeker boat. Once they had the boat, they could stay on the high seas, where the Professor wouldn't be able to hurt anyone but Logan, who can obviously take it. At least, that was the plan until Laura/X-23 came along and gave them both a purpose to live.
Had Laura never came around, Logan would have never happened, and instead we'd have seen Professor X and Wolverine sailing around the world in between doses of medication. While this could still have been a fun film to watch, Laura gives both men their ultimate redemption for past mistakes. Logan is finally a mentor to a mutant, much like Professor X always wanted, and the good professor came to terms with the fact that even he too was fallible. Whatever the Westchester Incident was, it's now rendered moot as both men have made peace with the event and helped a small cadre of new mutants live to fight the good fight in their name.