One of the many surprises in Logan is that, part-way through the film, a brand new villain is introduced that was kept out of all the marketing: X-24. This mutant character poses a massive threat to Hugh Jackman’s aging, wounded title character, and ultimately serves as his final antagonist. It was a bold move, especially since Jackman played both Logan and X-24 in the film albeit with a few subtle physical changes, but it ultimately pays off wonderfully both thematically and from a story perspective.
However, Jackman wasn’t always convinced this was going to work. I recently got the chance to speak with Jackman in anticipation of the Blu-ray and Digital HD release of Logan (it’s available on Digital HD now and Blu-ray and DVD on May 23rd), and during our wide-ranging and spoiler-filled conversation, I brought up that Jackman has admitted there were some heated discussions in the development of the film given the passion of everyone involved. When asked specifically what one of the major points of contention was, Jackman revealed that he was pretty hesitant about playing X-24 in the movie:
“I was very skeptical of having X-24 being played by me. I understood what it represented and thematically the idea of battling himself, which of course is right at the core of this character that we never fully got to, so I kind of loved the externalization of that. But I also know that myself as an actor and fans of Wolverine come up to me in the street every day and go, ‘We wanna see that full berserker animalistic crazy off-the-wall Wolverine,’ right? That we don’t feel we’ve fully seen it, so I was like, ‘Jim if we introduced halfway or near the end of the movie that full berserker animalistic crazy Wolverine and he’s somehow fighting our hero, audiences won’t know what to feel.’ And I remember him saying, ‘Trust me, trust me, trust me.’ And I was a bit of a pain in the ass on that one, I was like, ‘I’m just not sure. Let’s keep exploring it and exploring it.’ When I saw the movie it’s just clear, for some reason I think because he skewers Patrick Stewart in that moment the audience just sort of hates him. We did some subtle things, I changed the bridge of my nose, I wore contacts—I just wanted him to look a little different from myself. And I think by that point we’d created already the Wolverine that people wanted to see. So anyway, that was one of my examples of being wrong (laughs).”
Indeed, this is a plot point that could certainly have gone south in the wrong hands, but by this point in the film we’ve seen Logan going full-on berserker and taking advantage of the R-rating, so there’s no fear of the audience all of a sudden switching allegiances—especially since X-24 brutally murders Professor X.
I pointed out that it’s pretty amazing the inclusion of X-24 was kept a secret all the way up through release, and Jackman admitted the same:
“Yeah actually now that I think about it, I mean there’s a lot of secrecy around these things and everyone tries to protect it, but it’s kind of actually amazing. I suppose that when we were shooting it, I was shooting both parts so I played both, so if I turn up on set everyone just knows I’m playing that. That’s a good point, I’ve gotta give props to the crew and the cast, no one spilled the beans. I hadn’t thought about it until just now. But it’s fun being in screenings and watching people gasp. They do not see it coming.”