WARNING: This post contains full SPOILERS for Logan.
Unlike the majority of comic book movies being produced these days, Logan tries to downplay its origins by resisting anything that could be remotely construed as “comic-booky.” The film largely succeeds in that endeavor, as director James Mangold has crafted a poignant character piece about regret and heroism that at times feels more like a gritty Western than a film about a guy who can stab people with metal claws.
Still, for as much as Logan tries to distance itself from the genre, it’s very much still a comic book movie, as evidenced by elements such as the doppelganger villain X-24, whose presence very easily could have derailed the whole thing if the rest of the movie wasn’t firing on all cylinders. And like every comic book movie, there is an assortment of Easter eggs and references to comic books and other pop culture influences both obvious and obscure. Here are a few that you may not have noticed upon initial viewing.
18. Logan’s License Plate
Logan’s license plate on his chrome-plated limo reads WER 112, which may not be a reference to anything, but could also potentially be a nod to either Uncanny X-Men #112 or Wolverine #112. In the former comic, Magneto finds a way to change all the X-Men into children, albeit with their adult intellect still intact. Unfortunately, the same can’t be said for their motor skills, which in a way mirrors the introduction of mutant children in Logan and Wolverine’s overall slip in power from previous films.
On the other hand, the plot of Wolverine #112 more closely resembles the film, as it depicts a lonely and guilt-ridden Wolverine living separately from the X-Men for the part he played in Professor X becoming America’s most wanted after transitioning into Onslaught, an evil mutant mental form created by the combined consciousness of Xavier and Magneto.
17. Samurai Sword
Logan director James Mangold also helmed the film’s predecessor, The Wolverine, so it makes sense that he would throw in an Easter egg referencing the 2013 film. In Logan’s Mexican desert hideout, you can spot a samurai sword hanging on a wall at one point, a pretty clear callback to The Wolverine and its subject matter.
You could also make the case that Logan fits the samurai archetype in this film, which could be another reason for the sword’s inclusion (shame he doesn’t get to slice anyone up with it).
16. Alkali Out In Public
When the villanous Donald Pierce first introduces himself to Logan, he presents him with a business cars that reveals he works for a company called Alkali. Ostensibly, the company is named after Alkali Lake, the site of Colonel Stryker’s Weapon X facility, a place of great significance to Logan. While Pierce doesn’t explicitly state it, it appears that Alkali is the public face of the same program, decades removed from its Alkali Lake origins. No wonder Logan gets so upset when he reads the card!
It should also be noted that Pierce also leads the Reavers, a professional mercanary outfit that figured prominently in the Old Man Logan comics, of which Logan is loosely based. In the comics, Pierce is almost all cyborg, but the character in the movie appears to be mostly human outside of his robotic hand.
It’s hard not to feel bad for Caliban, the albino mutant played by Stephen Merchant, who gets forced back into the job he hates himself for when he’s tortured into finding Logan, X-23, and Professor X for the Reavers (and all because Logan puts him on body-dumping duty). What’s interesting about Caliban is that he sort of showed up in X-Men: Apocalypse in the form of the “Finder” but it’s a little unclear if they’re the same character or not. The film knowingly winks at this by having Caliban tell Pierce that he thinks he has him confused with someone else.
Another interesting thing about Caliban is that his arc is an inversion of what happens in the Apocalypse comics. In Logan, Caliban turns from working for the bad guys to helping Logan and Professor X, but in the comics, he becomes Death, one of Apocalypse’s Horsemen.
14. The Statue of Liberty
This one doesn’t require much explanation but it’s such a poignant reference that it’s worth a discussion. Early in the film, Professor X tells Logan about a vision he sees of Laura, who needs Logan to meet her and her companion at the Statue of Liberty. While the location turns out to be the Liberty Motel, Logan and the audience immediately assume that Charles is thinking back to the battle with Magneto at the Statue of Liberty that took place in the first X-Men movie.
Logan’s response that “the Statue of Liberty was a long time ago …” is a direct callback to that event and evidence that Logan is part of the same universe in which that event took place (the timelines are pretty messed up, which makes every reference to past events in Logan feel like important information).
13. Logan A Drug Addict?
During one of their arguments, Charles tells Logan that he remembers when they found him training to be cage fighter, an obvious callback to when Rogue first encounters Wolverine in the first X-Men. He also mentions that Logan was a drug addict at the time, which at first glance seems like a mistake.
Not only did we not see Logan abusing any illicit substances at that time (unless you count his alcohol consumption and cigar-chomping), but his healing factor would seem to make drug abuse impossible. However, there is actually a point in the comics when something like this did happen, as Logan begins taking drugs after the Weapon X program in order to push his healing factor to its limits.
12. Peters Grave
The trailers for Logan made it seem as if the cemetery scene would be a pivotal moment in the film, but it turns out this was all a red herring, as Logan is merely acting as a chauffeur and doesn’t know the deceased. Still, that didn’t stop the filmmakers from inserting an apparent Easter egg into this scene, as one of the graves in the background has the name “Peters” on it. We can only assume that this is a reference to Evan Peters, the actor who plays Quicksilver in Days of Future Past and Apocalypse, which suggests that the character is deceased at the time Logan is set.
To be honest, we’re not really sure what the significance of having Peters’ name in this scene is, as it isn’t exactly a revelation that Quicksilver is dead when all the other X-Men are too, and it’s a little disappointing that this scene didn’t involve any sort of quiet reflection on Logan’s part (although it was still a clever bit of misdirection all the same).
11. Dog Tags
At one point in the film, Logan can be seen examining his old dogs, which have turned up in multiple X-Men films to date. What’s interesting about the tags is that it’s not clear how Logan would even be in possession of them, as he left them behind at Alkali Lake around Colonel Stryker’s neck back in X-2, and as we all know, the whole facility was flooded a short time later.
It’s certainly possible that Logan went back to find them but considering he deliberately left them behind, it’s unclear why he would go to the trouble for something he wanted to be rid of. It could also just be a plot hole, which are in ample supply at this point in the X-Men movie franchise as it is.
10. ‘Shane’ Nods
While Logan, Professor X, and X-23 are hiding out in a hotel, they watch Shane, an Oscar-winning Western from the 50s about a gunslinger who decides to protect a farm from outlaws. Most of the allusions to Shane are pretty clearly spelled out, with Logan standing in for the Shane character and Laura/X-23 reciting the same final speech for Logan’s eulogy at the end.
What you may not have realized is that the narrative thread runs deeper, as the whole conflict between the Munson family and the Canewood corn syrup company feels reminiscent of events in Shane. In that film, farmers are antagonized by some landowners trying to kick them off their property, much like the backwoods assailants in Logan try to do to the Munsons. Of course, Shane didn’t have to deal with X-24 coming in and slaughtering everyone, but the similarities are there.
9. Essoldo Cinema
Keeping on the Shane thread, Charles informs Laura while the pair are watching the film that he recalls watching it back in his home town at the Essoldo Cinema. What you may not have realized is that this is actually a reference to Sir Patrick Stewart’s formative years. Having grown up in Jarrow and West Yorkshire in the 50s, it’s quite likely that Stewart really did see Shane in an Essoldo cinema, as the chain was based in Newcastle and Northern England in the 1950s and 60s.
8. Those Comic Books
One of the neatest bits of world-building in Logan is the revelation that the X-Men were at one point so popular that comic books were written about their adventures. It turns out that the comics that Laura is reading are based on real issues, but have been changed a bit from their original forms.
Uncanny X-Men #117 revolves around Professor X and his decision to devote his life to trying to work on human/mutant relations, while Uncanny X-Men #132 features a big brawl between Logan and Donald Pierce, so it’s safe to say that both comics have some ties into the film’s plot.
7. All of Nate’s Posters
When Logan, Laura, and Charles stay the night at the Munson family farm, Laura wanders into the son Nate’s room and is fascinated by his different possessions, particularly his phone/mp3 player (did anyone else think it was odd that he was still using wired headphones in the year 2029?) What you may not have noticed are the many Easter eggs, both significant and not, adorning Nate’s walls and shelves.
There are some references to the civil rights movement, such as Nate’s Abe Lincoln poster, pointing to the movement’s influence on the original conception of the X-Men. There are also photos of horses and Western movies, pointing to the genre’s influence on Logan.
Nate also has a couple deathcore band posters on his wall — one for Dr Acula and one for All Shall Perish. Evidently, Nate has a varied taste in music as he is definitely not listening to either of those groups when Laura walks in.
6. ‘Old Man Logan’ Nod
It’s no secret that Logan is a loose adaptation of the Old Man Logan storyline and when we say loose, we really mean it, as the movie’s plot is quite different from its comic book counterpart. In the comics, there is a much different cataclysmic event that wipes out most of the X-Men and Hawkeye is a main character, but in the movie he’s replaced (sort of) by Professor X.
However, there is a pretty clever nod to Mark Millar and Steve McNiven’s story that occurs during an exchange between Caliban and Logan. Caliban notes that something is happening to Logan, as he’s not healing anymore and seems to be suffering from sort of sickness, to which Logan responds, “That’s right, I’m an old man.” Not exactly subtle, but it works.
5. Dr. Zander Rice’s Father
When the film’s villain Dr. Zander Rice finally meets Logan face-to-face during the climax, he mentions that his father was part of the Weapon X program, to which Logan responds that he not only remembers him, he’s reasonably sure that he killed him. This is actually a nod to the comics, as Wolverine ends up killing Rice’s father, Dale, during his escape from the Alkali Lake facility. This in turn inspired his son Zander’s hatred of mutants.
4. The Westchester Incident
There are several references made in Logan to a cataclysmic event involving Professor X that took place in Westchester, a.k.a. the location of the X-Mansion, a year prior, but it’s never quite clear what exactly happened (there was originally going to be a flashback scene, but it was scrapped). It’s implied that this incident is the first time that the professor’s destructive seizures manifested, which would explain Pierce’s line about his brain being declared a weapon of mass destruction.
In the comics, it’s actually Wolverine who destroys most of the X-Men, with Mysterio of all people being responsible. Logan is tricked by the Spider-Man villain into believing that the X-Mansion is being attacked by intruders and it’s only later that he realizes he’s killed 40 of his friends and allies.
3. The Last of Us Nod?
It’s unclear whether or not James Mangold drew inspiration from Naughty Dog’s 2013 post-apocalyptic masterpiece The Last of Us, but Logan certainly seems to share some similarities to that particular video game.
There’s the obvious similarity in their plots, as both stories feature an aging, hardened survivor reluctantly transporting a young girl across the country, only to find themselves caring about them deeply by the end. But there are other touches that feel like homages to Joel and Ellie, such the similarity in clothing in the final act of the movie and the below shot, which resembles one of the game’s most iconic shots quite closely.
2. The Mutant Kids
We may not learn the names of the various mutant kids that Laura was in the Transigen program with, but seeing as how they’re all clones like her, we can piece together a few of their origins based on their mutant abilities. One appears to be the “son” of Pyro and there’s also one of Ice Man as well.
There are also a couple that do in fact have names, as shown in the credits. One of kids is revealed to be a clone of Christopher Bradley, a mutant with electrical powers who was played by Dominic Monaghan in X-Men: Origins. There’s also Rictor, the team leader who is based off a member of the X-Force in the comics whose power was to create earthquakes.
Oh and there’s also Lizard Boy and Pine Cone Girl, whose names are just so unfortunate.
1. Wolverine Doll
During Logan’s funeral scene, one of the mutant kids can be seen holding a Wolverine doll. Much like in the X-Men comics seen in the film, this is another in-universe nod to how popular the X-Men became with the public, to the point where they even had merchandise. It’s also yet another nod to the character’s classic costume and the fact that Hugh Jackman managed to make it through 9 different movies without once having to don it.