Logan may feature two of the most popular X-Men characters of all time in Wolverine and Professor X, but it’s largely devoid of the kind of character cameos that typify other X-Men movies. While this can be attributed to the film being a more personal story than other entries in Fox’s franchise, Logan director James Mangold has revealed that it all has to do with time.
In an interview with CinemaBlend, Mangold addressed the dearth of big-name characters in the film, claiming that it a deliberate choice not to have a bunch of cameos because it would have diluted the experience:
“A movie is only so many minutes, right? Like, 120 minutes, minus credits, let’s say — or without credits. And let’s just say [that] of those minutes, if you spend 30 of them describing what someone’s doing and why they’re doing it and where the technology came from and why the… that stuff is all interesting. But at a certain point, it’s not what we remember about films. What we remember about films is how they move us.”
“And that 120 minutes, when you’re making a movie with six, seven mutants or six, seven superheroes, these kind of gangbang movies that are kind of the rage right now, the reality of them is that — very much like the comic books each character gets — if you make a seven-person movie, you take those 120 minutes” said Mangold. “You divide it by seven. Now, each character has, like, an eight-minute arc. They effectively each have the character development of a Warner Brothers’ cartoon.”
“So the reality is that it’s not really about whether the filmmakers are better or worse, or the writing is better or worse. It’s once you make these decisions, the real estate has gotten subdivided so heavily that there really is only so much left to go deeper. I really wanted scenes where there wasn’t a visual effect in sight, where it was just the power of the acting and the power of these characters that carried them.”
Mangold makes a really good point about modern superhero movies and their insistence on featuring bigger and bigger ensemble casts. Although it’s fun seeing Captain America, Iron Man, and the rest of the Avengers all occupy the screen together, there is only so much time for a movie to tell the story and each character that gets added means there is less time to focus on other characters. Besides, Logan isn’t trying to be one of those movies anyway, so it wouldn’t make much sense for the entire X-Men team to show up in a movie that is basically centered around a road trip.