At first, there are some obvious parallels between Logan and Children of Men. They both feature reluctant heroes on a personal odyssey— not to mention that they’re both powerful films. But Lessons from a Screenplay reveals much more as they compare these two films and these two heroes on the path to redemption. He opens with this important nugget of screenwriting knowledge from Notes on Directing:
“Realize that the end is in the beginning. In all the best material, the outcome is inevitable and inherent in the opening moment and in every moment in between.”
And when you look at these two films, you can how the hero’s eventually transformation was inherent in the beginning. In Children of Men the central struggle is Theo deciding to risk everything to fight for the future of humanity. In Logan, the titular character eventually learns to embrace the love of family. But how do the writers and directors make this journey an interesting one, a compelling one? Well, it all starts with what K.M. Weiland calls ‘the lie the character believes’. Watch Lessons from a Screenplay break down how these two stories introduce and build on the lie that their heroes believe:
Theo believes that the whole world is so awful that it’s not worth saving, Logan believes that everyone who loves him gets hurt. But through transforming the character’s worlds, these characters learn lessons that are the exact opposite of the initial lies that they tell themselves. They may start in worlds that seem to have no future, worlds where their lies are allowed to feel believable enough to flourish. But through clever uses of inciting incidents, reversals, and conflict, the storytellers are able to show a believable, compelling character arc. At their core, these films follow the same structure. Ultimately, their internal changes manifest in their external journeys. This video shows that the strongest stories are the most thought out— and that all of the seeds are sowed at the beginning.