Why Logan Director James Mangold Had No Problem Killing Off Wolverine

Hugh Jackman in Logan

Superhero movies don't typically kill off their main heroes, as there are fears that viewers may not respond well to such a development. Audiences want to see their heroes overcomes their struggles and obstacles and stand victorious at the end, and studios want audiences to leave the theater feeling optimistic. However, Logan director James Mangold took a somewhat different approach.

With Logan, James Mangold realized he had a chance to do something different within the superhero genre. Mangold came to the conclusion early on that there were only a few logical ways to end Hugh Jackman’s run as Wolverine, with killing the adamantium-clawed mutant being one of the major choices. Here’s what he had to say:

The process is a lot less of a committee than you'd think. It was really Hugh [Jackman] and I at first. It seemed logical, that if it were going to be his last film, that he's either going to ride off onto the horizon or die, that you need to have some kind of curtain on his story. You either have the Shane ending where he rides off on the mountain to parts unknown, which had largely been the way his character was resolved in every preceding movie, or you'd kill him.

Before retiring from the role, Hugh Jackman had famously played Wolverine for nearly 17 years, with his first appearance being in X-Men back in 2000. Ironically, Hugh Jackman thought the first movie would bomb, but instead became a sensation and helped launched several sequels and Wolverine-centric spin-offs, though some of those outings fared better than others critically.

Hugh Jackman first announced in 2015 that Logan would be his final appearance as the iconic X-Man. Clearly, giving Hugh Jackman’s version of the hero a proper send-off weighed heavily on James Mangold’s decision to kill off the character. While speaking with ComicBook.com, Mangold later added:

But the reason the choice was at our feet was because you needed the sense of closure. You needed some sense of an ending if you were going to end, if you were dealing with the legacy of Hugh's many performances and many films, and trying to set this part in some definitive way.

Hugh Jackman seemed to echo James Mangold's sentiments, saying that he knew it was “time” to say goodbye. Still, Jackman has admitted that if the timing had been right, he would have been game to join the MCU as Wolverine. Fans have long wished he could have joined the shared universe, but alas, it wasn’t meant to be.

While main superheroes historically haven't been killed off in films, Logan may have set a precedent. Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame killed off a whole host of superheroes, including the main man himself, Iron Man. In fact, Kevin Feige admitted that he wanted Iron Man’s death to have the same impact that Wolverine's had in Logan.

Could this mean we might see more superhero movies breaking the chain and killing off major heroes? Not likely, as Wolverine and Iron Man’s deaths were exceptions to a rule that's very hard to break. Instead, we should probably be asking ourselves who'll play Wolverine in the MCU now that he'll eventually be recast. It's hard to say who it'll be but, whoever it is, he'll have big shoes to fill.

How did you feel about Wolverine's death in Logan? Let us know in the comments section below.

Jason Ingolfsland