With the film due this summer, and still no trailer, the only thing we have to go by on “The Wolverine” thus far is a handful of images and quotes from a few interviews. Rumors of various characters from the “X-Men” films popping up have been percolating (Hugh Jackman has made the tease himself, with Famke Janssen‘s Jean Grey being the leading candidate), but we’ll just have to wait and see. But director James Mangold did sit down recently with EW to talk about the movie, and shed a bit more light on the Logan we’ll be seeing this time around.
The general consensus thus far is that our hero will be at his lowest point in this movie, in which even his immortality may be tested. And indeed, that’s something the helmer continues to stress. “I felt it was really important to find Logan at a moment where he was stripped clean of his duties to the X-Men, his other allegiances, and even stripped clean of his own sense of purpose,” he explained. “I was fascinated with the idea of portraying Logan as a ronin – the definition of which is a samurai without a master, without a purpose. Kind of a soldier who is cut loose. War is over. What does he do? What does he face? What does he believe anymore? Who are his friends? What is his reason for being here anymore? I think those questions are especially interesting when you’re dealing with a character who is essentially immortal.”
Indeed, the picture is set after “X-Men: The Last Stand,” and character cameos or not, it looks like Logan will be on his own, without a team to back him up. And Mangold found that a freeing way to approach Wolverine, who has already appeared in multiple franchise films. “It was only to my advantage to set it after the ‘X-Men’ films because the ‘X-Men’ had effectively ended at that point,” he explains. “A lot of the key characters had died. There was a sense if I’m locating this film not five minutes after the other movie, but a period of time after that last ‘X-Men’ movie, I can find a Logan who is living separate from the world. He is no longer a member of some superhero team.”
Based on the Chris Claremont comic — Mangold calls the movie “a very admiring adaptation” — the film will find Wolverine suffering from amnesia and searching for answers about his past in the Japanese criminal underworld, where he finds both love and tragedy, and winds up squaring off against Silver Samurai. This backdrop as well was something that inspired the director.
“…the gigantic change of scenery – which Japan offers – gave us a kind of license to make the tone we wanted, as opposed to continuing another tone that may have existed,” Mangold explained. “For me, the tremendous advantage and attraction of this material was working with an actor I admire. I felt we could both make demands on each other and take it someplace the other hasn’t gone.”
We’ll see the results when “Wolverine” gets out the fangs on July 26th.