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The following contains spoilers for Logan. You have been warned!
What happened in Westchester? It's a driving question of Logan, a question that fans of Wolverine and the X-Men are discussing coming out of the movies, because it likely means that Professor X -- suffering from a debilitating brain erosion -- lost control of his powers and killed the X-Men. We hear snippets of a news report when Charles (Patrick Stewart) and Logan (Hugh Jackman) are leaving the Oklahoma City casino where Charles had another seizure. But as we're now learning, we almost SAW the infamous Westchester incident in Logan's opening scene.
Yeah, I wrote that scene. I wrote it, and at one point, it was even the first scene in the movie. [But] it ... made the movie about that. It was really interesting. It suddenly made the movie about X-Men dying, as opposed to allowing the movie to be a kind of unwinding onion, like allowing you to kind of enter the story and go, 'Where is this going?' It was so large and loomed so large, and I felt like it also was still falling into the formula of the movies, with the big opener, that is setting up the mythology first. I thought, 'What if we do an opener that leans into character first? Actually underplay those things?' Let them just feel like it's more like a... normal thing.
As you know, Logan instead opens with Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) getting car-jacked by a gang of thugs. He warns them to leave his car alone, but they shoot him in the chest. Now he's angry. Forced to protect the car -- it's his livelihood, after all -- Logan must fight the guys off, in grisly fashion. It's a stellar opening, one that clearly announces the R rating through the use of violence, bloodshed and salty language. And it's a cooler opening, more in tune with the rest of Logan, than a battle-heavy "Death of the X-Men" opening would have been.
In a separate interview, Logan screenwriter Scott Frank opened up to CinemaBlend about the process of coming up with the Westchester Incident scene, and different ways they thought about using it. Read on to see what his thoughts on the matter are.
The Westchester incident casts a long shadow over the bulk of Logan. It's the reason why Logan (Hugh Jackman) is hiding his old mentor, Charles (Patrick Stewart) in a water tank south of the border. Charles' faulty mind has been deemed a weapon of mass destruction, and James Mangold and Scott Frank are now opening up to certain outlets about how we almost SAW the poisoned fruits of Xavier's powers in Logan.
Our own Eric Eisenberg recently spoke about the Westchester Incident, and how they approached it while writing Logan. He told us:
I remember writing scenes that sort of show it, where you see it or we were going to intercut it with certain things. We kind of had it, and then Jim made the right decision to keep it oblique, and to refer to it and not really spell it out. You get enough of it. You know something bad happened, but you don't really have to spell it out for the story to work. And I think that was smart. I think it was more interesting. What I thought we needed in the middle of the movie was a respite, but it was a respite that I felt that we had to have that said they can never have a respite.
To that end, Logan included the farmhouse scene, where an innocent family offers a slice of normalcy to a fleeing Charles, Logan and Laura (Dafne Keen)... and end up paying for that kindness with their lives. Once again, because of the tragic reality of these "heroes" and the lives they lead, people die. Sometimes, it's the X-Men in Westchester. And sometimes, it's an innocent family, in their quiet Midwestern home.
Logan is in theaters as we speak.