Why An X-23 Film Franchise Is Just What We Need Right Now
Hugh Jackman has been playing the Marvel character Logan for 16 years. Not all of them have been kind to the Wolverine, so it's not much of a surprise that he's looking worse for the wear in the trailer for his third solo film. The trailer for Logan generated a big social media buzz when it hit the internet. Scored by Johnny Cash's introspective "Hurt," it's stylistically a far cry from both the most recent X-Men trilogy and Logan's other star vehicles. Fans had their theories about the little girl who seems to be under Logan's protection in the trailer, and this week, the official Logan Instagram account confirmed the most popular one by posting a photo of actor Dafne Ken with the caption "Laura." In Marvel comics and animation, Laura Kinney is also X-23, a clone born of Logan's DNA and the successor to the Wolverine title. Logan could serve as a link between the current X-Men franchise and a new series. The world needs an X-23 franchise, and I'll tell you why.
X-23 has been around since 2003, first as a character in the animated X-Men: Evolutions series and then as a hero in the comics. Though movie-only fans don't know her yet, she's proven popular in the X-Men mythos and has shown up in various games as well. X-23 is the perfect character to revitalize the X-Men again on screen. Here's what makes an X-23 series a great idea:
1. Because Hugh Jackman Says He's Done
The actor has already announced that Logan will be the last time he plays Wolverine and flashes his adamantium claws. The role made Jackman a star; his gruff characterization helped the first X-Men live-action movies find a big audience. He's earned the right to step down and hand off the reigns.
2. Because She's A Fresh Character
Moviegoers know Mystique, Professor X, Magneto, and so on; they've even seen more than one actor play each of those parts. The backwards time jump of X-Men: First Class was a fun change at the time, but the universe is much wider than just those movies would lead you to believe. A first-run character like X-23 is the new blood these movies need to stay relevant.
3. Because She's Not Really A Mutant
She is, in that she's the clone of one. But X-23 is also something completely different. She was bred to be who she is and do what she does. That sets her apart from other X-Men and prompts a new set of questions about humanity and free will.
4. Because The Cosplay Will Be So, So Good
I want the Comic-Con floor to be teeming with little girl X-23s next year.
5. Because It'll Mean Something To Have A Female Character Take Over This Mantle
Marjorie Liu has written for the character of X-23 and told Buzzfeed why narratives about "young women finding themselves" are her purpose as a comic book writer. Logan is an adult when audiences meet him in the first X-Men. It'll be cool and empowering to see a young girl overcome her circumstances and evolve into the same heroic role.
6. Because She Could Crossover With Other Series
Like a lot of the X-Men, X-23 crosses paths with other Marvel characters, including a few Avengers, in her books. Now, if only 20th Century Fox and Walt Disney Pictures could figure out how to share.
7. Because I'm Getting Eleven Vibes
Pop culture has embraced little girls who don't know their own strength. Now is the time for another one to strike.
8. Because Logan Will Take Care Of Her Origin Story
Like I said above, leveraging the last Hugh Jackman Wolverine flick to build a bridge to a new franchise is super smart and economical. It ensures that lots of eyes will be on Laura's journey and she won't have to fight for an audience alone.
Personally, I'm thrilled that Logan is going down this path and I look forward to being astounded by X-23 when the movie premieres in March of next year.