For 20th Century Fox's R-rated comic book movie Logan, director James Mangold and screenwriters Scott Frank and Michael Green have painted a very dark future in which mutantkind is on the verge of extinction. This immediately begs the question: What happened to all of them?
***WARNING: MAJOR SPOILERS AHEAD***
Well, the film explains several reasons as to why there is a lack of mutants. Let's begin with simplest reason and work are way up to the real meat and potatoes of it.
Click on "Start Slideshow" to check 'em out!
In 2029 the mutant population has shrunk significantly and the X-Men have disbanded. Logan, whose power to self-heal is dwindling, has surrendered himself to alcohol and now earns a living as a chauffeur. He takes care of the ailing old Professor X whom he keeps hidden away. One day, a female stranger asks Logan to drive a girl named Laura to the Canadian border. At first he refuses, but the Professor has been waiting for a long time for her to appear. Laura possesses an extraordinary fighting prowess and is in many ways like Wolverine. She is pursued by sinister figures working for a powerful corporation; this is because her DNA contains the secret that connects her to Logan. A relentless pursuit begins … In this third cinematic outing featuring the Marvel comic book character Wolverine we see the superheroes beset by everyday problems. They are ageing, ailing and struggling to survive financially. A decrepit Logan is forced to ask himself if he can or even wants to put his remaining powers to good use. It would appear that in the near-future, the times in which they were able put the world to rights with razor sharp claws and telepathic powers are now over.
Logan stars Hugh Jackman (Logan), Boyd Holbrook (Donald Pierce), Patrick Stewart (Charles Xavier), Dafne Keen (Laura Kinney/X-23), Doris Morgado (Maria), Stephen Merchant (Caliban), Elizabeth Rodriguez (Gabriela), and Richard E. Grant (Dr. Zander Rice). James Mangold (The Wolverine) directed and helped on the screenplay along with Scott Frank and Michael Green.
Logan hits theaters on March 3, 2017.
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Tracked Down & Killed
While much of the film focuses on Wolverine, Charles Xavier, and X-23, there is a small, redemptive story arc for another mutant: Caliban. When we first meet the albino mutant — played by Stephen Merchant — he's helping Wolverine look after the frail and wheelchair-bound Charles, who is suffering from Alzheimer's and is prone to seizures.
Later on in the film, we learn that Caliban used to work for Alkali Transigen, using his mutant abilities to assist the sinister and powerful corporation with tracking down any mutant stragglers that had managed to survive in this dystopian near-future. Once caught, they were experimented on and killed. At some point along the way, Caliban had a change of heart, left Transigen, and ended up as one of Charles's caretakers.
So, yes, Caliban is responsible for the death of a good number of mutants, but what he did pales in comparison to the other reasons that will be provided in the following slides.
The Westchester Incident
Logan is loosely-based on the "Old Man Logan" storyline from artist Steve McNiven and writer Mark Millar that ran from 2008-2009. Like the film, "Old Man Logan" was also set in a violent, dystopian future, but instead of all mutants being nearly extinct, supervillains banded together to destroy superheroes and rule the world. One of their crowning and most evil achievements, which is shown via a flashback sequence, came when Mysterio tricked Wolverine into killing his X-Men teammates — who he thought were a gang of supervillains invading the X-Mansion. After that heart wrenching and stomach churning incident, Logan renounced his Wolverine persona and lived a quiet life on a farm with his wife and two children in the western United States.
In the film, we learn that Charles's mental and physical health has been rapidly degrading over the years due to old age and Alzheimer's, and because of that, he is prone to seizures. When those occur, he can't control his telepathic mutant abilities, so he unknowingly unleashes powerful psychic blasts that put nearly everyone around him in a extremely painful and potentially lethal paralyzed state.
Though it is never shown, we find out in bits and pieces via a conversation Donald Pierce (Holbrook) has with Logan, a radio news report, and in Charles's last moment of clarity that the professor suffered a seizure that led him to accidentally paralyzing 600 people and killing the remaining X-Men (except for Wolverine) during "The Westchester Incident."
“I don't deserve it, do I?” Charles says after enjoying a restful night of sleep at an Oklahoma farm (via VF). “I did something. . . something unspeakable. I remembered what happened in Westchester. This is not the first time that I’ve hurt people. Until today, I didn’t know. You didn’t tell me, so we kept on running away from it. I think . . . I finally understand you.”
Genetically Modified Food
Now we get to the main reason why the mutant population has mightily decreased and there haven't been any new mutants born in the past 25 years.
Near the end of the film, Dr. Zander Rice (Richard E. Grant) reveals to a bruised and battered Logan that he created a formula that suppresses the mutant gene, and Transigen has been manufacturing said formula and adding it to corn syrup. So, over the decades, mutants have lost their powers and people around the world are unable to produce new mutants because they've been consuming the genetically-altered corn syrup that is used in a wide variety of food and beverages.