Liev Schreiber is a great actor given a not-so-great role in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. The Ray Donavon star wasn’t playing a particularly dynamic version of Sabretooth in that comic book movie. It ended up being the first and last time we saw Schreiber as the character, but there was some chatter about him returning for Logan. According to the film’s co-writer, Scott Frank (The Lookout), they considered having him lend Wolverine a hand during his journey.
Below, learn about director James Mangold‘s scrapped idea for a Logan Sabretooth cameo.
While speaking with CinemaBlend, co-writer Scott Frank (The Lookout) said early on they considered Logan crossing paths with Sabretooth during his road trip with Charles Xavier (Sir Patrick Stewart) and X-23 (Dafne Keen). For whatever reason — maybe because they already had enough story to tell — they didn’t include him:
There was a moment when we were thinking about, as I recall, Jim [Mangold] had an idea where when they were on the run, and they go to the gambling town, there may have been at that point they were going to see [Sabertooth] for help. He was going to be there for help. Now that you mention it! I wouldn't swear to it, but we thought that would have been an interesting thing to do. And then for whatever reason we didn't do it.
It’s probably for the best this sequence didn’t come to fruition. While Wolverine and Sabretooth’s relationship could’ve used more substance, Logan isn’t interested in paying off too many past relationships or tying up loose threads. It’s not a movie checking boxes. It’s telling a clear, concise, and rivetingly intimate story about Logan, Charles Xavier, and X-23.
James Mangold said he wanted to keep his drama a cameo-free zone. I’m not saying whether or not there are surprise appearances in the film, but its primary focus is Logan’s arc, not the franchise Logan spawned from. With the character’s isolation at the forefront of the story, Mangold thought forced cameos would’ve caused problems:
There were times early on in the story where I played with the idea of Hugh coming along, and I don't want to give away anything, but I played with there being an underground railroad where there were a couple of other mutants that he met on the journey. It always seemed to detract from the loneliness of the story though and became a kind of cameo.
It’s enjoyable to imagine a more grounded, down-and-out, and grizzled version of Sabretooth, as played by Schreiber, fitting comfortably into Logan‘s often desperate and desolate atmosphere. Once you look at the narrative of Logan, though, there’s no obvious place for the character in the narrative. Another stop along this well-crafted road movie might’ve been one stop too many.
Logan opens in theaters March 3rd.
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