Logan is a piece of the X-Men movie universe but it stands completely on its own. That was made possible because director James Mangold selected a distant enough future where the events of recent films such as X-Men: Days of Future Past can have much of an effect on Logan.
"It's year 2029 when the movie takes place," Logan director James Mangold told ComicBook.com in an exclusive interview.
Mangold went on to explain his reasoning in more detail -- specifically citing the post-credits scene from X-Men: Days of Future Past as the basis for his decision.
"There's an epilogue scene in Days of Future Past which is 2024, or 2023, something like that," Mangold said. "I just wanted to get far enough past. My goal was real simple: it was to pick a time where I had enough elbow room that I was clear of existing entanglements. Part of the way I think this films stop being fresh (these films being franchise comic book movies) is when you find yourself making essentially a television series with $200 million episodes where you're literally just picking up where the last one left off and you're making a mini-series. Then, it's impossible to do something fresh, meaning essentially you're just a director on the 14th episode of a television show picking up where the last one left off and people are going to be really startled by any discontinuity or changes."
This time around, Mangold hopes Logan will be self-contained and tell an entire story in its run time. It will explore uncharted emotional territories of the X-Men universe by pairing Logan with the little X-23 for a relationship which looks a lot like a father-daughter duo.
"That wasn't the goal here," Mangold said. "The goal here was to somehow make a film that's different: to be a filmmaker myself and go, 'How would I bring myself to this? What would I do if I was starting from scratch? What would I explore? What have I seen not explored?' Not only in the X-Men universe but in comic book movies in general."
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Logan hits theaters March 3, 2017.