James Mangold Talks Alternate 'Logan' Opening That Was Axed For Being Too Grim

In the Old Man Logan comic, from which James Mangold's Logan borrowed a few ideas, Wolverine killed the X-Men. In a flashback, it's revealed Mysterio played mind games on Logan and tricked him into killing his family of mutants. Mangold and his co-writers ultimately used the spirit of that scene for Professor Charles Xavier (Sir Patrick Stewart), not Logan.

In an earlier draft of the script, the story began with the incident in Westchester, New York, which is only alluded to in the movie. Below, Mangold discusses the Logan alternate opening.

When Xavier feels guilt for enjoying himself at the Munson's home, his delivery and the remorseful look on his face says all we need to know about what happened in Westchester. Mangold not showing what happened maybe even makes it feel worse, by leaving the X-Men long dead in the past. There are a few reasons why it's probably not necessary, but Mangold explained to IGN why he decided against opening with the X-Men's demise:

I literally had written an opening which started with that sequence. And so it was quite literal, who was dead. But the reason we didn't do it wasn't to spare other films, it was that it redefined the movie. It made the movie about the X-Men, instead of being about Logan and Charles. And irrevocably, when you read the script opening that way, it became about this other tragedy, as opposed to that tragedy being something hovering like a shadow in the background for these characters.

It's tough to imagine the sparse, stripped-down comic book movie opening with a bang like that. It wasn't the only other alternate opening considered for Logan. When we interviewed co-writer Scott Frank (A Walk Among the Tombstones), he said the first scene in the script once brought back Colonel Stryker – a character we don't need to see again anytime soon – but they all decided to open with a James Bond-inspired fight instead:

The opening involved something with Colonel Stryker and Logan being a mercenary dropped in to kill some guy, and he's remembering this. I said, "You know, I've always wanted to write a James Bond movie where the beginning is in a pub in England somewhere, and Bond is drunk off his ass and he gets the shit kicked out of him by a bunch of soccer hooligans." I thought that would be a great way to open James Bond, and we sort of did that with Logan.

Logan's opening set the stage well. Instead of taking us to the past, Mangold dropped us into Logan's grim future. Plenty of superhero movies open big, but how many open with their former hero drunk in a trunk and slicing and dicing guys? It showed how hard the soldier had fallen, and it established right away what kind of movie Logan is.Logan is now available to own on DVD and Blu-Ray.