[*This article contains MAJOR spoilers for Logan*]
It's been no secret in the run-up to its release that Wolverine and Professor X are the only X-Men present in 20th Century Fox's latest superhero outing, Logan. Anyone who's seen the movie already, will have figured out why that is and basically, the results are heart-breakingly sad; Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) accidentally killed them all.
But rather than spelling out what happened to the rest of the gang to the audience, screenwriters Michael Green, Scott Frank and James Mangold opted to merely tease the character's tragic backstory so that it would have maximum emotional impact. So much so, that a flashback scene was eventually cut out of early drafts...
"It actually hits home a lot harder than the versions that really painted [it] out, specifically the flashback," Green previously explained to Heat Vision. "Of course there are versions we wrote that were never filmed, with the actual flashback of what happened. But I've found the experience of watching it is far more poignant to just know that it was something really regrettable and it was bad and most likely, friends were lost. Or maybe it was people we didn't know."
Talking about the decision, director Mangold added: "I wanted to make a movie less about information and more about character."
So, what exactly would the flashback sequence have shown?
In the movie, Xavier – who was once considered to have the most powerful brain on Earth – is living in isolation with Logan and Caliban (Stephen Merchant) on the Mexican border in 2029. It soon becomes evident that the telepath is succumbing to the effects of a neurodegenerative disease and causes everyone around to paralyse every time he suffers from a seizure, which, if allowed to go on too long can prove fatal for those affected.
In one tense scene, when Logan and Xavier are on the run with young mutant Laura (Dafne Keen), we see an entire Oklahoman casino paralysed due to one of his episodes. The sequence that follows then sees the trio take to the road, as a radio report parallels what happened at the hotel to an earlier, almost identical incident which took place in Westchester, New York (aka the site of Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters) a few years ago.
According to the broadcast, several hundred were injured due to the event while seven mutants were killed. It's likely that many of those were students and the existing members of the X-Men. And what's painful is Xavier doesn't remember that he was responsible for the tragedy until a much later scene which sees him confess: "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."