'Logan' Team Explains Why the Tragic Professor X Flashback Got Cut 

The X-Men film only hints at some of its saddest elements: "I wanted to make a movie less about information and more about character," says director James Mangold.
20th Century Fox/Photofest; Michael Tullberg/Getty Images
'Logan' (inset: screenwriter Michael Green)

[Warning: This story contains spoilers for Logan.]

For the Logan team, less really was more when it came to revealing its backstory.

Early in the film, it becomes apparent that there was a terrible incident involving Professor X (Patrick Stewart) back in Westchester, N.Y. — home of the X-Mansion and his school for gifted mutants. As the villain Donald Pierce (Boyd Holbrook) tells Logan (Hugh Jackman), the government classifies Xavier's brain as a weapon of mass destruction. Later, a news broadcast on the radio says that an incident at an Oklahoma casino was similar to one that happened a year ago in Westchester, which injured 600 people and left members of the X-Men dead.

Screenwriter Michael Green says earlier versions of the script included flashbacks that would have spelled out that incident, but the team decided to cut it.

"It actually hits home a lot harder than the versions that really painted out specifically the flashback," Green tells Heat Vision. "Of course there are versions we wrote that were never filmed with the actual flashback of what happened, but I've found the experience of watching it is far more poignant to just know that it was something really regrettable and it was bad and most likely, friends were lost. Or maybe it was people we didn't know."

Viewers are left to make their own conclusions, but it seems as though Charles Xavier had an incident and ended up accidentally killing some of his own X-Men family.

"Was it Logan? Was it Charles? It was probably Charles, but he doesn't know. He has no memory; he has no recollection," says Stewart. "He has an instinct, an impulse, that something happened and it was bad."

Director James Mangold says the decision to cut the flashback was a simple one: "I wanted to make a movie less about information and more about character."

Green recognizes that the ending will certainly prompt plenty of fan theories. (Here's one to throw out: In 2006's Old Man Logan comics arc, which partially inspired Logan, it was actually Wolverine who ended up killing his X-Men teammates because of a tragic mistake.)

"Nothing will be better than going online and reading fan theories about what happened at the end because I want to hear that version," says Green. "I know what I think happened, I even know what did happen, but it doesn't matter, because what's canonized here is the emotional effect of things."

Green says there are no plans to officially reveal the hidden backstory, but he does have one request for the fans: "I would love one day to read a beautifully drawn comic where someone actually writes out something."

Logan is in theaters now. For much more, check out THR's interviews with Mangold, Stewart and original X-Men screenwriter David Hayter, who looks back on Hugh Jackman's unlikely casting.

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