Caution: the following article contains major spoilers for Logan, so if you haven’t seen the movie, go watch it, then come back and read this.
Ready? Okay, here we go.
Logan is a pretty perfect cowboy movie.
From its tone, to its setting, this is a harsh, dry film about a lonely old warrior who’s nearing the end of his adventuring days, but who has a heroic mission to fulfil.
There’s only two ways this kind of story can end – either Logan rides off triumphantly into the sunset, or he ends up riddled with bullets, going out in a blaze of glory.
Of course, director James Mangold went for the latter of these two, with the powerful image of a cross turned sideways to mark Wolverine’s final resting place with an X. Because this is an X-Men movie, and that means as many gratuitous X references as possible.
According to Hugh Jackman, though, while Mangold was uncompromising on the ending of the movie, the star of the film originally opposed killing off Logan, instead wanting an open ending that left more to the imagination and teased the character’s continuing adventures.
In an interview with Yahoo Movies, Jackman stated that he wanted to end Logan with his character surviving on, as in Clint Eastwood’s Unforgiven, forced to carry the weight of his sins with him.
Ultimately, though, Jackman was persuaded to take another approach:
“It was always floated that Logan would possibly die. I said, ‘Let’s be open, because it may be more powerful for him not to die… James was always certain of that ending, and he was right. Unlike a human character, what’s most poignant for someone who is thought to be indestructible is him dying while saying, ‘This is what it feels like.’”
It's a good thing that Jackman finally relented on this ending, because it certainly does provide the most emotional end possible for such an iconic character.
This conclusion ties up Wolverine’s story wonderfully, and makes for an incredibly moving piece of cinema.
While seeing Logan ride off into the sunset would have been cool, Mangold’s far more final conclusion was definitely the best way to go.