Superhero movies generally don’t receive nominations in the most prestigious categories at the Academy Awards, usually getting the obligatory nods for makeup, costume, or special effects. But the thrilling and mature X-Men film, Logan has been nominated for a very big Oscar this year; Best Adapted Screenplay. Here’s why Logan is an adapted story, and how it stacks up against its source material.
On Tuesday, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences released the nominations for the 2018 Oscars. Logan being nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay was eye-opening because it was the only nominee not to be adapted from a memoir or a prose novel. But, which X-Men graphic novels and comics is it really adapted from? It might seem like there’s one, but it’s probably several.
The easy answer is that Logan is adapted from the 2009 Mark Millar-penned story Old Man Logan, mostly because it features Logan as an old man in a desolate, depressing future. But, the film is only a loose adaptation of that concept, because outside of Logan being old and no longer going by the name “Wolverine,” almost nothing else is the same.
For example, this comic series doesn’t feature Logan’s cloned daughter Laura, also known as X-23. Larua first appeared in X-Men: Evolution TV series, and then showed up in 2004 comic, NYX. So, suddenly, Logan becomes a screenplay which adapts one animated TV series and all the separate comic storylines featuring Larua. In 2017, Logan director James Mangold confirmed as much saying “In terms of narratives, we were actually taking more from the Craig Kyle [written] X-23 series of comics than we were from Old Man Logan.”
And then there’s the fact that Logan also relies on the X-Men mythology in general, including references to all the other films and the canon of the comics as a whole. In the final scene of the film, during Logan’s funeral, one of Laura’s friends is holding a plastic action figure which depicts Wolverine/Logan wearing his signature blue and yellow X-Men costume. Technically, Wolverine first wore that suit in the single comic Incredible Hulk #180, meaning the screenplay for Logan is sort of adapted from The Hulk, too.
In the film, Logan tells Laura that most of the X-Men’s comic book adventures she read were inflated and half-true. “Maybe a quarter of it happened, and not like this,” he said. But, without a myriad of comic book stories, this single screenplay wouldn’t have been so praiseworthy.
The 90th Academy Awards will take place on March 4.