The gut-wrenching, excellent Logan finally hit theaters this weekend—and while there may not be a post-credit stinger to tease the future of the X-Men movie universe, there is still a lot to talk about. And probably be sad about, too. So consider this your moment, if you’ve seen the movie, to let rip about what you think comes next.
Seriously, though, we’re going to be talking about the ending of the movie. Here’s a picture of Laura in funky sunglasses that, as if the above banner wasn’t enough of a spoiler warning, should indicate that you’re entering the point of no return.
Okay, ready? Good.
So Logan bids a fond farewell to not one, but two staples of the X-Men movie-verse: Patrick Stewart’s Professor X, murdered in bed by X-24 (sidenote: holy shit the most important villain of this movie was literally a clone of young Wolverine) after one final moment of family goodness and lucidity with Logan and Laura, along with the titular Logan himself, going into his final rest in Laura’s arms. They’re both definitive and deserved ends to these characters: there are no ifs or buts. They are gone, and any attempt to bring them back in the future would severely cheapen the impact of what Logan did with both characters.
In a way, as brutal as both deaths are—Xavier’s especially—they’re not particularly tragic moments in the film. They’re sad, yes, but neither death feels like these heroes are being cut down in their prime, before they’ve reached their potential. Xavier’s debilitating psychic seizures (and whatever the hell happened at Westchester, which if you’ll remember is where the Xavier Institute was, so it was probably something real grim) make his death somewhat of a blessing, although the idea that Charles died thinking that Logan had murdered him is horrific. However, Logan’s own slow, inevitable decay give his death—where he sacrificed himself to save Laura and the other young mutants, getting a moment to bond with his young genetic offspring before passing—a sense of closure, where the X-Man finally found the peace that had eluded him in life.
And then there’s the funeral scene, with the kids around Logan’s grave ahead of their sojourn to Canada—as Laura recites lines from Shane, the 1953 Western she’d watched with Xavier in the casino earlier in the film:
There’s no living with... with a killing. There’s no going back from one. Right or wrong, it’s a brand. A brand sticks. There’s no going back. Now you run on home to your mother, and tell her... tell her everything’s all right. And there aren’t any more guns in the valley.
Director James Mangold has frequently cited the impact of the Western genre on his development of Logan, and the whole movie definitely evokes a lot of the themes Shane had all those years ago—some ways literally, in the way Logan helps defend that family from thugs in exchange for safe harbor being a direct take on Shane’s own premise, and more metaphorically, the discussion about weight killing someone has on a person. And yet, it’s not even the quote that gets you in that final moment: it’s Laura tweaking the cross the kids made to mark Logan’s grave into an X, a final farewell to the world’s most famous X-Man.
But where could the movie universe go after Logan? The easy way out is the continuation of the First Class era of films, far removed from the 2029 of Logan’s setting—and that’s what we’re seemingly getting. But what awaits Laura and the rest of the kids in Canada? (Also, is 2029 Canadian border meant to be so fierce that’ll protect the kids from shady U.S. government scientists?) Are we really going to get an X-23 follow-up movie anytime soon? Will Laura, as she does in the comics, take on the mantle of Wolverine herself? It doesn’t seem likely, but if you told us a few years ago an Old Man Logan-esque movie would not only happen but be kind of great, that wouldn’t have seemed possible either.
Let us know what you thought about Logan’s two big goodbyes, and what the future of the X-Men movieverse could look like after the movie, in the comments.