Which X-Man Almost Made It Into ‘The Wolverine’?
Arguably one of the most successful differences between James Mangold's 'The Wolverine' and Gavin Hood's flop of an 'X-Men Origins' tale was preventing the floodgate of various mutant appearances from diluting the story of Logan. The new character additions worked well, and aside from the post-credits scene, which saw the return of a couple familiar faces, Famke Janssen's Jean Grey was the only mutant from movies past. However, screenwriter Mark Bomback originally tried to squeeze in another well-known character into the film but ultimately scrapped the idea.
Bomback, who rewrote the script from Christopher McQuarrie and former 'The Wolverine' director Darren Aronofsky, recently revealed to Creative Screenwriting magazine that he was fascinated with Wolverine's relationship with Rogue (played by Anna Paquin in the films).
I love Rogue and I just think that there’s something about this idea that Rogue is tremendously empathetic but incapable of safe human contact. That always moved me and I thought that’s what really got to the heart of what makes the X-Men franchise so unique. So I was trying to do something with Rogue in the script. I even had a set of ideas that the old man possessed a version of Rogue’s power and that was going to be indicated by a white stripe in his hair. Eventually it became very goofy, and I threw it out because I started realizing throughout the script that it became more problematic than cool. It’s no accident to me that in the first X-Men film the first two mutants that you really see who have a connection are Wolverine and Rogue. There’s something special between them, so I was trying to bring Rogue into it, but it just didn’t get there. I regretted there wasn’t a way to figure it out, but when I look at the film now, it would have stuck out if we tried to shoehorn her in there just because it was another character from the universe.
Bomback shares a writing credit on 'The Wolverine' with Scott Frank, who later on made yet another rewrite.
Based on Bomback's recollection, it seems that an appearance or reference from Rogue would have been more of a distraction as opposed to serving the story, which we're all for. Jean's presence sought to illustrate and further progress the hero's inner torment, so any more pop ups could've perhaps pulled too much focus and kept 'The Wolverine' from being another 'X-Men' success story.