Let's face it: Wolverine has seen better days. In the newly released trailer for Logan — the third and supposedly final movie of the franchise— the character appears aging and defeated. It seems like he's living in a Mad Max world of desert and death. "Mutants. They're gone now," he grumbles in the trailer. Ah, but are they really gone? Well, no, because there's no way fans aren't getting a Deadpool sequel. But also because of Laura, a young girl brought to Logan by Professor X. Based on the trailer, many believe that Laura is X-23, who's known in the X-Men comics as a sort of baby-slash-clone made from Wolverine's DNA and raised as a weapon. Based on the trailer for Logan, it's clear that Laura is going to play a key part in Logan's final journey. Another possibility? X-23 could also become the next X-Men star.
While I hate to admit it, the X-Men movies are currently in a state of flux. Yes, Deadpool was a massive hit, but it also was kept almost completely separate from the core X-Men movie series, where recently X-Men: Apocalypse was not well received. Add that to the fact that the main X-Men cast — Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, etc. — have now fulfilled their contracts and that Logan is set to be Hugh Jackman's final Wolverine film, it seems like the non-Deadpool X-Men franchise is on the brink of death. So, could X-23 save the X-Men? It's entirely possible.
X-23, played by newcomer Sienna Novikov, could very well be the part of the next generation of mutant superhero superstars, taking over from Mystique and Magneto. I know that some people thought that honor would go to the new young Jean Grey, Scott Summers, Storm, and Nightcrawler (who are all introduced in Apocalypse), but maybe it wouldn't be such a bad thing for the X-Men franchise to start again with a brand new character. As much as I love the new generation of X-Men, loyal fans know where these stories end up. After all, there have been four movies about it already. Part of the reason for Deadpool's success was the fact that it featured a relatively new, untouched character to explore on-screen. Fans had no idea what to expect. Now Marvel and 20th Century Fox have an opportunity to do the same with X-23.
However, Laura, or X-23, isn't just an appealing character because she's new to the big screen. She's also a young girl in a superhero world, something that hasn't really been seen in this modern wave of superhero movies. Laura could provide a great opportunity for X-Men to launch a female-led superhero franchise. While Wonder Woman and Captain Marvel are taking steps to remedy the gender imbalance, a female-led X-Men franchise definitely would not go unnoticed. And the fact that X-23 is so young only makes it better. Say what you will about the repetitive nature of superhero films, but a kid superhero would be something totally new for the genre.
It's hard to say what the future of Laura or X-23 will be in the X-Men franchise. In fact, it's hard to say what the future of the X-Men franchise will be, period. But whatever it is, I hope it includes more female superheroes like X-23. Fingers crossed.
Images: 20th Century Fox