Say what you want about 20th Century Fox’s X-Men franchise, but they’ve owned up to their biggest mistakes: namely, how bad X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine were. Remember how much mileage the Deadpool movie got out of making fun of Ryan Reynolds’ original appearance as the Merc-Who-Inexplicably-Had-No-Mouth? Or how Days Of Future Past was deliberately constructed to make it so that neither of those two movies ever happened?
And yet. And yet. They still can’t help but twist the knife just a liiiiiittle bit more than is necessary once in awhile — for example, by, say, nodding to their worst movie ever in what’s arguably their best movie yet.
Yup, that’s right: there’s an X-Men Origins reference in Logan, one so small that you probably won’t even notice. Except, you know, now you will, because I’m going to tell you all about it.
Big ol’ honkin’ spoilers beyond the tiny silent murder child! You have been warned.
So, let’s talk mutants.
About a third of the way through the movie, Logan learns the shocking truth about Laura: that she is not the only lab-grown mutant in the world. Turns out that Transigen has all sorts of mutant DNA samples that they’ve been using to replicate certain similar abilities in children, and when Gabriella rescued Laura from the facility, she brought all the physical evidence with her.
And while Logan is flipping through those files to confirm that yes, genetically speaking, Laura is his daughter, he comes across the documentation for a small overweight black boy whose mutated DNA comes from someone named “Christopher Bradley.” Huh, now where have I heard that name before, lemme just go and google thaOH MY GOD IT’S DOMINIC MONAGHAN.
Yup, Christopher Bradley, AKA Bolt, is the mutant that Dominic Monaghan played in X-Men Origins: Wolverine; he worked with Wolverine on Team X, and was killed by Sabretooth so Colonel Stryker could give the shitty version of Deadpool his technopathic powers via DNA manipulation. Later in Logan, we even see this new little kid exhibiting similar electric powers, although his are less “Look at what I can do with lightbulbs!” and more actual honest-to-god electricity wielding.
Also, fun fact that has nothing to do with anything: Monaghan was originally rumored to be playing Beak, who looks like this:
You know what? I see it.
Anyway, when you think about it, this is the first double-use of an X-Men character that actually makes sense chronologically. Usually they just drop those characters into a completely new time period for no reason — like Warren Worthington is a vaguely twenty-something man in 2006 but is also a vaguely twenty-something man in the ’80s when Apocalypse takes place — and don’t even bother to explain it. (Heck, even Caliban appears in Logan and in Apocalypse, although I guess you could argue he’s older than he looks and his slick French accent was fake the whole time).
But because this movie is set in 2029, we don’t actually have to care when the last time we saw Chris Bradley was, because it’s all the past. In fact, we don’t actually have to care about any X-Men continuity at all if we don’t want to, because the movie is so good and so far removed from all the nonsense of the tentpole X-Films that it can essentially stand on its own. Not that this will stop us dorky-ass comic fans from getting all hype about recognizing names, of course.
Speaking of which, while we’re on the subject of obscure X-Men characters and we’re still in spoiler territory, how great was it that Rictor showed up? I’m so bummed he and Caliban never got to have a tiny X-Factor team-up. But I suppose that’s another discussion for another time. Like, maybe right now, in the comments section. Have at it, fellow nerds!