Editor’s Note: the following post contains spoilers—but potential and real—surrounding the forthcoming Wolverine movie, Logan. Read at your own risk!
Next March, Hugh Jackman is wrapping up his 17-year stint as Wolverine in Logan, but—of course—the actor won’t be alone on-screen. In addition to Patrick Stewart‘s Professor X, Jackman’s title character will be joined by comedian Stephen Merchant, who will apparently be stepping into the role of Caliban. With the film just a few months away from release, we’ve finally gotten a glimpse of what Caliban will look like in Logan, courtesy of Merchant himself.
You may recall we already saw a version of the character in X-Men: Apocalypse (with Tómas Lemarquis in the role), so who could this Caliban be? No doubt Merchant’s take on the character will go a different route, especially if they’re recasting from Apocalypse—but which way will be go: friend or foe? Well, you’ve got to look at the history of the character in order to find out.
But first, let’s take a look at the visual clues. On his instagram account, Merchant posted the following pic:
That was in addition to another pic posted by Logan director James Mangold, which features an unobstructed view of Merchant in full makeup.
Taken w/ Leica S 007 Summicron 100mm, ISO 1600 1/250 ƒ2 — by JM pic.twitter.com/8P3s5Mdruo
— Mangold (@mang0ld) October 17, 2016
But what does this tell us about the Caliban in that film versus the Caliban in Logan? Well, Merchant is only three years older than Lemarquis, so he could be playing Caliban as the mutant from the film, who has only slightly aged in the roughly 50 years between X-Men: Apocalypse and Logan. (The X-Men movie continuity has been convoluted for years, and this doesn’t really help clear things up.) Our money, however, involves a little bit of both—a real character evolution for Caliban by turning him from foe to ally over the course of the film.
Caliban has actually been around in Marvel’s comic book continuity for the better part of 35 years. For most of that time, Caliban was a member of the Morlocks—a group of deformed mutants who lived underground because they couldn’t pass as normal humans. After the “Mutant Massacre” storyline in 1986, Caliban actually joined the original X-Men on the X-Factor team, and he used his abilities to track and detect mutants to prove his worth.
However, Caliban turned his back on X-Factor to gain enhanced strength and power from Apocalypse as one of his Horsemen. This is the version of Caliban that continued in the ’90s and the early ’00s as a reformed member of X-Force before his apparent demise. With Mr. Sinister rumored to be appearing in Logan, that transformation is not only not out of the question, but perhaps a major plotpoint in (and foil to!) Logan’s story.
Considering that the viral photos from the film have indicated that most of the world’s mutants are missing, Caliban’s tracking powers will no doubt come in handy, either in Logan’s attempt to find X23 or as an aide to the film’s villains, as well. However the film pans out, there are definitely some interesting possibilities ahead. Will he start or end as an ally to Wolverine? Only time will tell: and we’ll find out more about Merchant’s take on Caliban when Logan hits theaters on March 3, 2017.
Could Logan end up being the most unconventional Marvel movie yet?
What do you think about the first photos of Caliban from Logan? Unleash your thoughts in the comment section below!
Images: 20th Century Fox/Marvel