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The ‘Logan’ Filmmakers Explain Why They Kept the Effects of Xavier’s Illness a Mystery

Logan Xavier
20th Century Fox

While much has been made of Hugh Jackman’s last turn as Wolverine, as those who have seen the film can attest, many of Logan’s most haunting moments belong to Patrick Stewart’s elderly Charles Xavier. For nearly two decades, Stewart’s character has been synonymous with both control and wisdom, making his weakened state hard to watch. We’re used to watching our superheroes fight off every enemy, but seeing them eaten away from within? That’s a powerful reflection of our own mortality.

And when you’re the world’s most powerful telepath, a progressive brain disorder has some pretty scary consequences. Throughout the film, Logan hints at some terrible secret  —  an accident in Westchester, where Xavier’s academy was located  —  that might have caused the death of many X-Men. Over the weekend, the creative team behind Logan sat down with The Hollywood Reporter and discussed their decision not to actually show the accident in flashbacks. Here’s screenwriter Michael Green:

It actually hits home a lot harder than the versions that really painted out specifically the flashback. Of course there are versions we wrote that were never filmed with the actual flashback of what happened, but I’ve found the experience of watching it is far more poignant to just know that it was something really regrettable and it was bad and most likely, friends were lost.

In the article, Patrick Stewart also weighed in on the possibility that Xavier’s seizures had led to the death of several of his X-Men. “It was probably Charles but he doesn’t know,” Stewart said. “He has no memory; he has no recollection. He has an instinct, an impulse, that something happened and it was bad.” As Green points out later, the specifics of what happened in Westchester are secondary to their impact on both Logan and Xavier. We don’t need to see the death of familiar faces to know those are open wounds that neither man will ever entirely heal.

Logan is now playing in theaters everywhere.

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