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For Logan, a moment director James Mangold decided to cut proved to be crucial to the film’s whole tone.
On the Logan Blu-ray, due out Tuesday, there are a number of deleted scenes, all of which have commentary by director James Mangold. They are all excellent — and for the most part were cut for time, Mangold explains; all except one — a Jean Grey reference that wouldn’t have ruined the movie, but would have made for an utterly depressing film.
It all begins after the family is done eating. While doing dishes, Kathryn Munson (Elise Neal) asks Logan (Hugh Jackman) if he’s married. A despondent Xavier (Patrick Stewart) responds.
“He was. She passed,” he begins. “She was a pupil at my school. I knew her many, many years. She was lovely. Her name was Jean Grey.”
Then, after several beats, Xavier adds, “He killed her.”
A stunned, clearly irritated Logan tries to laugh Xavier’s comments off as a senior moment. Logan of course did kill his love interest Jean in an effort to save her after she became the Phoenix in 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand.
That Logan moment brings the hope and warmth of the scene to a screeching halt.
Mangold agreed it didn’t work, at least not with everything else going on at that time.
“I felt it really brought the emotion down and dark in a moment when things were feeling very hopeful at this house,” Mangold explains on the Blu-ray commentary. “This was something we had written only a part of and then improvised. I like the moment in isolation a lot, but when cut into the movie it had a powerful effect of damping that moment and kind of making the Munson family seem a little strange for keeping them there.”
Mangold previously spoke about this scene — which is really more of a moment in a scene — in interviews, but to actually see it play out is nothing short of a kick to the gut. It is not so much that the instance is super-emotional, but it robs viewers of that single time in the film were everyone is happy and guards (for the characters and the audience) can be let down.
The Munson dinner scene is perfect, reminding the Logan audience that even though they have gone on an emotional, ultra-violent roller coaster with characters they have known for nearly 20 years, there were happier times.
The Jean Grey interjection would have torn that apart faster than Logan going after a gang trying to swipe his wheels.
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