Say what you want about his claws and his tragic backstory, but the best thing about Wolverine has always been his role as a begrudging father figure. So it’s only fitting that 17 years after Hugh Jackman first took Anna Paquin under his wing in the first X-Men movie, he’s ending his superhero career almost the exact same way in Logan— except this time, the girl he’s saving might actually be Wolverine’s daughter. Kind of. Maybe. In the comics she’s a female clone of him, and that totally counts, right?
According to director James Mangold, Logan is first and foremost a movie about family (but not a “family film” — please do not take your kids to this movie, Wolverine definitely says a bunch of swear words in it). In fact, it was partially inspired by the road trip in Little Miss Sunshine. “The relationship between Laura and Logan is going someplace deeply emotional,” he told us at a recent New York press event. “It’s a movie about fathers and sons, it’s a movie about fathers and daughters.”
Unlike Anna Paquin’s Rogue, however, Laura is a much younger sidekick than we usually see alongside Wolverine — Dafne Keen, the actress who plays her, is only 11 years old. It’s an interesting departure from how most comic book fans think of the character; Laura’s first comic appearance was as a 14 year old in the 2004 series NYX, and although we see her as a child in the Innocent Lost storyline, generally she’s depicted as an older teenager. Also, her signature costume from the ’00s is… not very family-friendly either, lets say.
So why go with a pre-teen Laura instead? Mangold told Nerdist that he simply wasn’t interested in rehashing the sexy teenage sidekick trope. “Paper Moon was another movie that was really important to me in figuring out how this film works, and even Walter Mathow in the original Bad News Bears — [these movies] hit a very reluctant stressful relationship between a true child and a guy who doesn’t want to deal with having a kid around,” he said. “And I wanted to avoid the standard trap, which has been done successfully elsewhere, of that very attractive 19 year old actress in a hot uniform. We’ve seen that. I wanted something more interesting.”
Oh yeah, and he also definitely didn’t want anybody getting the wrong idea about Logan and Laura. “I really didn’t want to cast a cute young woman in this role, and have this kind of strange energy going on between her and Hugh Jackman,” he admitted. You hear that, Internet? No shipping Wolverine with his own clone-daughter. That’s not allowed.
Check out the video above to hear more about what kind of movie Mangold wanted Logan to be, and why he thinks the term “comic book movie” is kind of terrible. Then you should probably start stocking up on tissues, because if what Mangold says is true, that tear jerking Johnny Cash-infused trailer we all saw back in October is just the tip of the emotional iceberg.
Are you excited to see Logan? Who’s your favorite of Wolverine’s young female sidekicks? (Mine’s definitely Jubilee, no question) Let us know in the comments!
Image: 20th Century Fox, Marvel Comics