In just a few short months ‘X-Men’ fans will be lining up at their local theaters to check out the newest film adaptation in the series, ‘The Wolverine’. The film, which is in itself both a spin off and a follow up to the previous films in the series, is set after the events of ‘X-Men: The Last Stand’, and brings Hugh Jackman’s Logan back to the big screen for another round of mutant powered mayhem! This time Wolverine is on his own again, taking Japan’s criminal underworld by storm in an adaptation of the classic 1982 ‘Wolverine’ mini-series by Chris Claremont and Frank Miller.
Recently, Entertainment Weekly sat down with ‘The Wolverine’ director James Mangold to discuss how closely it follows the series its based on, the baggage of the previous ‘X-Men’ films, and the curse of Wolverine’s healing factor.
So just how closely will ‘The Wolverine’ follow the mini-series its based on? It seems as though fans can expect to see a rather faithful adaptation of the beloved 1982 storyline. “A lot of that story and a lot of beats from that saga are in there — and a lot of characters. Without being religious about it, I think it’s a very admiring adaptation.” says Mangold. “Obviously when you’re adapting anything you make some changes. But all the characters are there – Yukio, Viper, Mariko, Shingen, and Logan obviously. The whole cast of characters that exist in that world exists in our film.”
When asked why he chose to set this new film after the events of ‘X-Men: The Last Stand‘, rather than picking up where the previous Wolverine prequel, ‘X:Men Origins: Wolverine’, had left off, Mangold said that “I felt it was really important to find Logan at a moment where he was stripped clean of his duties to the X-Men, his other allegiances, and even stripped clean of his own sense of purpose. I was fascinated with the idea of portraying Logan as a ronin – the definition of which is a samurai without a master, without a purpose.”
Mangold continued “It was only to my advantage to set it after the X-Men films because the X-Men had effectively ended at that point. A lot of the key characters had died. There was a sense if I’m locating this film not five minutes after the other movie, but a period of time after that last X-Men movie, I can find a Logan who is living separate from the world. He is no longer a member of some superhero team.”
As far as what he wanted to avoid doing in this film, Mangold spoke less about what not to do and more on what he felt the other films were lacking. “What I felt like I hadn’t seen as a comic book fan, was I felt I hadn’t seen Logan and his rage. That sense of darkness.” Maybe this time around fans will be getting the dark and gritty Wolverine they’ve been clamoring for over the years?
Finally, Mangold touched on Logan’s intense healing factor, which allow him to essentially be immortal, and how those powers and the emotional journey brought on by them play into the story of the film. “What I wrote on the back of the script when I first read it was “Everyone I love will die.” The story I’ve been telling, he enters it believing that. […] The thing Hugh and I try to explore in this one is the most interesting aspect of the character — the never-ending nature of his life. His immortality. The fact he can heal from anything. That is a kind of dream for us mere mortals. But it’s interesting to explore what a curse that is.”
So will ‘The Wolverine’ be the film that fans are hoping for? Can Mangold do justice to this fan-favorite Clarement/Miller story? And will this film finally be the healing factor viewers need to forget just how awful ‘X-Men: The Last Stand’ was? Only time will tell for sure, and Wolverine has an eternity to wait and find out.
‘The Wolverine’ stars Hugh Jackman, Will Yun Lee, Hiroyuki Sanada, Tao Okamoto and Rila Fukushima. The film is set to hit theaters on July 26th, 2013.