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Director James Mangold explains The Wolverine's place in X-Men continuity; calls it akin to The Outlaw Josey Wales

01.09.2013

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James Mangold gets it.  He's always been a solid director visually, and from this recent interview (as well as past comments about the character), I'd say that Mangold has Logan down cold.  Which all of a sudden gives anyone interested in this movie a whole lot more to look forward to.

I'll add a caveat here by saying that I'm not a reader of Wolverine comics, so my opinion may be less than valid to some of you.  But from what I've interpolated of the character, from what I've felt and seen and imagined in response to all that I've heard, Mangold seems to me to be most definitely on the right track.  It's all well and good to want to do right by a character for their own sake, but I'd say that Mangold definitely understands the character.  They say that the road to Hell is paved with good intentions, but I would say that the road to Heaven is much the same. 

Is a kind of cinematic heaven and collective sigh of relief coming for fans of Logan? Only time will tell, as THE WOLVERINE isn't set to arrive in cinemas until July 26th.

"It’s set after 'X-Men 3', but I wouldn’t call it a sequel to 'X-Men 3'," said Mangold. "...Because of some of the themes in the Claremont/Miller saga. 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. 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."

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"What I wrote on the back of the script when I first read it was 'Everyone I love will die,'" Mangold continued. "The story I’ve been telling, he enters it believing that. Therefore he’s living in a kind of isolation. He gets drawn to Japan by an old friendship and then finds himself in a labyrinth of deceit, caught up in the agendas of mobsters, of wealth, and other powers we come to understand... What I felt like I hadn’t seen as a comic book fan, was I felt I hadn’t seen Logan and his rage. That sense of darkness. Without getting into the [2009] Wolverine movie, which is an origin story, with the X-Men movies he’s part of a team, so he gets little scenelets, but they’re essentially team movies. The liberty I have making a film like this is I can find him.  I’m not cutting away to catch you up on any of the Thunderbird team members. It’s his emotional experience, his trajectory, his sense of loss, and his own ambivalence about his powers and talents... There is a labyrinth of intrigue he enters, but the story is very simple, which is protecting those he loves from the kind of doom that seems to surround him. That’s a lot of what I’m really interested in."

As for that JOSEY WALES analogy, Mangold explains that what brings Logan to Japan is "an old friendship. What brings him there is an old ally in Japan. We find Logan in a moment of tremendous disillusionment. We find him estranged. One of the models I used working on the film was The Outlaw Josey Wales. You find Logan and his love is gone, his mentors are gone, many of his friends are gone, his own sense of purpose – what am I doing, why do I bother – and his exhaustion is high. He has lived a long time, and he’s tired. He’s tired of the pain.

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Jessica Biel was almost in THE WOLVERINE, but at the end of the day she's not.  That's okay though - she's here now.

Extra Tidbit: Who do you think most nailed their character in the first three X-Men movies (Hugh Jackman/Wolverine excluded, if you think he'd take the honor)?
Source: EW

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