There was a sizable shockwave when the trailer for Logan debuted on Thursday, and not just because Wolverine was looking worse for wear. The second a little girl popped up, one described to Logan as "She's you, she's very much like you," it was clear that Laura Kinney aka X-23 was going to be in Logan . The film was already looking grittier and potently sad, and not just because it's soundtracked by Johnny Cash's cover of "Hurt" (because oh my God, that'll get me every time). Adding X-23 into the X-Men movie canon could be an emotionally impactful move, especially considering Laura Kinney's origin story.
For the uninformed, Laura is a late-term addition to the X-Men mythos, and actually first showed up in the aptly titled X-Men Evolution episode "X-23." In the episode, a SHIELD break-in occurs with a masked, clawed person who happens to have Wolverine's DNA. Weird. Wolverine and Nick Fury meet Dr. Deborah Risman, who reveals herself as a former scientist for HYDRA. She explains that the baddie spy organization was trying to build "the perfect weapon" using DNA taken from Weapon X... your boy Wolverine. The essential ingredient (aside from the whole retractable metal claw thing, that came later) was Wolverine's regenerative healing abilities.
But there's a twist, as, instead of straight-up cloning Wolverine, they made a few genetic alterations (i.e., among other things, she's totally a girl). And so, X-23 was born.
Said alterations made X-23 deeply unstable, but it was nurture that fueled her chaotic streak more than nature. From the second X-23 was born, HYDRA made sure she was free from distraction. Eventually, she realized that children out in the real world were allowed to play and learn. They were surrounded by the love of families, and she was trapped in a cell, forced to do nothing but train, and this fueled by an uncontrollable rage. Sick of being contained, she escaped the facility, leaving a trail of destruction in her path."I succeeded in creating the ultimate weapon," the doctor laments. "But then you couldn't control it," Wolverine finishes.
So, if you've ever watched the first Pokemon movie, it's literally just Mewtwo's origin story. That's it. It's the easiest way to explain it.
In laymen's terms, Laura is Wolverine's tweenage clone daughter, and, at the end of the episode, she even has a slightly hilarious "I hate you dad, I wish you were never born" altercation with him. "This is your fault! Everything I am is because of you!" she scream in between punches. And then, once Wolverine says he's the only thing she has to a family, she bursts into tears and hugs him, before being told to get out of there before SHIELD captures her.
If you're now caught up to speed, you'll understand why Laura entering the larger mythos is sort of a huge deal. Superficially, it's impressive that a female character that came from tangential source material prior to migrating to the comics is making it into a blockbuster film. If you need a point of reference for that, keep in mind that DC fan favorite Harley Quinn — you know, that clown chick that everyone and their mom is going to be on for Halloween — debuted in Batman the Animated Series way back in 1992, and she only showed up as a fraction of the Suicide Squad 24 years later. Laura's film debut only comes 13 years after she appeared in X-Men: Evolution. Still a wait, but it could be worse.
More than that, though, having a battered Wolverine interact with some semblance of a family, especially since it looks like the other X-Men are "gone" and Professor X has seen better days, will add a new layer of poignancy to Logan's loss. Laura's story is tragic in itself, so those interactions are definitely going to destroy us emotionally. And they'll possibly even add something deeper to the done-and-done again superhero genre. Who knows?
I welcome X-23 to the X-Men franchise, though, and hope that, wherever Logan's journey goes, she'll be able to continue onto bigger and better things... maybe with her own movie.
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