Logan: Patrick Stewart on the Movie’s Unintentional Donald Trump Subtext

Logan may contain unintentional echoes of the problems with Donald Trump's rhetoric about immigrants and refugees.

Without spoiling anything, I can say that Logan (which opens on Friday) takes on the “mutant issue” in a way that no other X-Men movie has in the past. Throughout their 50-plus years of history, X-Men comics, cartoons, and movies have used the mutant struggle as a metaphor for the fight against anti-semitism, civil rights, and homophobia, as well as illness and disability. But Logan adds a wrinkle I don’t think we’ve seen before, and uses mutants to help illustrate the troubles of refugees and immigrants.

“These films have always been about something,” Patrick Stewart told Den of Geek UK. “Mutants are different, of course they are. They’re the Other. They’re apart. And as such, they attract prejudice, resentment, phobia, violence towards them. And so all the films contain that as a strong element.”

Mr. Stewart admits, however, that any similarities to our current situation are, at least in some cases, “just happenstance,” since “they began writing this screenplay three or four years ago,” back when “Donald Trump was a guy running a chain of hotels, making himself obnoxious on a reality TV show. Not anymore!” 

Nevertheless, those similarities are pretty clear (and Donald Trump’s intolerant rhetoric often reminds me of the cartoonish politicians from plenty of X-Men comics and movies)  And just as X-Men stories can be used to speak for any number of marginalized groups over the last 50 years or more, empathy for refugees or immigrants trying to make a better life for themselves isn’t tied to any one moment in political history.  

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“The primary objective of the principle characters in Logan – and that includes our three heroes, and the young people they encounter – is to get to a border, cross it, and be free,” Stewart says. “And safe. As we speak, there are hundreds of thousands of people who are longing to do that – and probably, most of them won’t even make it. That means they’re likely to die or be tortured or suffer in some way. It’s an irony that I think could not have been seen when the film was being made, that the country that is dangerous to them is the United States, and the country that is safe is Canada – over the border.”

You can read the full interview, which is refreshingly candid, with Patrick Stewart over at Den of Geek UK.