The third solo Wolverine movie will be called simply Logan, as revealed Wednesday morning by star Hugh Jackman and director James Mangold. The title has been shown on both a poster, featuring Logan's clawed hand being held by a much smaller one, and on a revealing page of the script. So what does Logan reference?
Well, the first and most obvious thing is the name that Wolverine has been known by for most of his existence. There was a decades-long mystery surrounding the name: is it a first or last name? Is it his real name? That mystery was finally solved in the 2001 mini-series Wolverine: Origin by Paul Jenkins and Andy Kubert, when we discovered Wolverine's real name was James Howlett, with Logan being a name he took from his well-off family's estate caretaker (and his son) who bared a striking resemblance to an older James.
There was later a mini-series titled Logan by Brian K. Vaughan and Eduardo Risso that took Wolverine back to Japan to explore more of his past. The film probably won't take much from that, as its story was much more closely tied to the story that the previous movie, The Wolverine, was based on. Of course, a little shout to that would be possible as follow-up.
Most relevant, however, is Logan being short for "Old Man Logan," a comic book mini-series (now an ongoing series as well) that told the story of an aged Wolverine, who retired to live a simple life after the vast majority of other heroes were killed and the villains won, taking over the world. When his family is killed, he goes on a mission of revenge, perhaps finding one last bit of heroism within. The script page released by Mangold supports that link, with a description of the tone of the film.
Mangold says that the film will be more realistic - if something would kill a person in real life, it will in the movie, too. That extends slightly even to the hero of the film, thanks to his confirmed older age.
"As for our hero, well, he’s older now and it’s clear his abilities aren’t what they once were," Mangold said, confirming the aged nature of Wolverine in the film for the first time. "He’s fading on the inside and his diminished healing factor keeps him in a constant state of chronic pain – hence booze as a painkiller."
Page two of our screenplay. pic.twitter.com/5X93NtWuVS— Mangold (@mang0ld) October 5, 2016
"So by all means, go ahead and worry about him." Ominous, Mr. Mangold.
The script page also reveals Logan's apparent first line in the movie: an F-bomb.
Now, will Logan take on the story of "Old Man Logan" note-for-note? Not at all; that movie had pivotal roles for Hulk, Hawkeye, and Red Skull, all characters that are over at Marvel Studios in the movie world. But the idea of an older, retired Logan who has given up on being a hero is a great starting point for a story, no matter the direction you take it in from there.
There's precedent for this naming structure in the X-Men Movies universe, of course, with the more recognizable story name "Age of Apocalypse" referenced/shortened to simply Apocalypse in this year's installment of the franchise. While the influence will likely be more tonal and thematic than story, it's clear Logan is looking to invoke the modern comic book classic for fans of Marvel's mutants.