Berlin: Hugh Jackman Calls 'Logan' a "Love Letter to Wolverine Fans"

Hugh Jackman is finally hanging up his adamantium claws.

For millions of fans worldwide, the Australian actor has embodied the angry, self-healing mutant Wolverine since his first turn as the character in Bryan Singer's X-Men in 2000. Jackman has played Wolverine in X-Men sequels and prequels, as well as in the Wolverine spinoff films: X-Men Origins: Wolverine and The Wolverine. Now with Logan, which had its world premiere at the Berlin Film Festival on Friday, Jackman is saying goodbye to the role that made him an global star.

“I love that character,” Jackman said of his last outing as the clawed superhero. “I can't say I'll miss him because he's not going anywhere. He'll always be with me.”

The press screening of Logan was greeted by whoops and cheers, and the reporters at the press conference that followed were effusive in their praise for Jackman, co-star Patrick Stewart (who reprises his X-Men role as Professor Charles Xavier) and director James Mangold.

Stewart got the biggest laugh of the event when he misspoke when announcing his “embarrassment and shame” that his fellow Brits had voted to leave the European Union. He told the crowd of international journalists that “more than half [the U.K.] didn't vote for breakfast. Um, for Brexit,” the actor said. Stewart quickly corrected himself, joking, “I said that because Brexit is harder to digest.”

It's rare for a U.S. studio film to be so warmly welcomed in Berlin as Logan was Friday. Festival reporters laid into Zack Snyder's 300 when it had its world premiere here back in 2006. But the crowd seemed to see Logan as a step above your ordinary superhero movie.

The plot of the film, which is set in 2029 in a era where mutants have all but gone extinct, touches on issues of immigration, xenophobia and, above all, the legacy of violence. Logan also stars Boyd Holbrook, Stephen Merchant, Richard E. Grant and The Refugees actress Dafne Keen.

“When there is violence in a movie we should see the consequence of violence, which is that lives end,” said Mangold. “That is the consequence of violence, which is often ignored.”

Mangold praised Marvel and 20th Century Fox for having the “guts” to change the “stale” formula of the superhero genre and make a darker movie “that is clearly for an adult audience.”

Jackman, confirming that this will be his last onscreen outing as Wolverine, said he felt he that Logan was the best, and truest, depiction of the character to date.

“This character has been within me for 17 years, but not until this film do I think I have got to the heart of him,” he said. “If I am going to tell my grandkids which of the films to watch, I'll say this is the movie that defines that character.”

Mangold said the main jumping-off point for the plot of the film were two Marvel comic book storylines: Old Man Logan from Mark Millar and Innocence Lost from Kyle and Christopher Yost. But he said he was also inspired by Westerns — he named Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven as an inspiration — and George Stevens' 1953 classic Shane, which is quoted directly in the movie.

“This is really a love letter to the Wolverine fans,” said Jackman, “but beyond that, I wanted to make a movie that people who have never watched a comic book movie in their lives would see and get something out of.”