Photo Credit: 20th Century Fox
Logan has repeatedly been called more of a Western than a superhero film, especially with Shane figuring into the plot. Yet Hugh Jackman and director James Mangold have often said Clint Eastwood's Unforgiven was their biggest reference point, although Jackman now says he originally wanted Logan to end more like Unforgiven did.
Jackman told this to Yahoo Movies' Ethan Alter, in an interview that obviously went into very heavy spoilers.
WARNING: MASSIVE SPOILERS FOLLOW
Jackman raved that the power of Unforgiven's final battle lay in Eastwood's William Munny surviving it, even after going back to his brutal murderous ways. But since he "embraces all the darkness he’s tried to put outside him" according to Jackman, it makes it "almost more devastating" that he has to live with it instead of being killed off.
Originally, Jackman thought that was how Wolverine had to go out as well, although Mangold was always committed to killing him. But Jackman argued at first "Let’s be open, because it may be more powerful for him not to die," until Mangold swayed him over.
Ultimately, Jackman agreed with Mangold that "Unlike a human character, what’s most poignant for someone who is thought to be indestructible is him dying while saying, ‘This is what it feels like.'” Whereas Munny mowed down his enemies and sacrificed any notions of peace to avenge his best friend's death, Wolverine was allowed to be at peace after one last rampage to save the life of his genetic daughter.
If Logan had survived, few would have figured it was for the reasons Jackman wanted him to live, but rather to leave wiggle room for him to come back anyway. Although Jackman has insisted he is done with Wolverine, giving him any room to live would have made many predict his return at some point, whether Fox lured him back into another X-Men prequel or whether Ryan Reynolds wore him down for a Deadpool/Wolverine team up.
In its final product, Logan likely couldn't have worked at all without closing the door completely on Jackman's Wolverine. While Fox and Marvel surely won't leave well enough alone forever and will have another Wolverine at some point, either through recasting or through giving the mantle to young X-23/Laura, this is one major comic book movie death likely to stick.
Audiences can continue to mourn that death in theaters now, as Logan goes up against fellow so-called monsters in King Kong and Disney's Beast in its third weekend.