Speculation is rife right now that the appearance of a mysterious girl in the trailer for Logan, the last Wolverine outing to feature Hugh Jackman, could mean that X-23 is making her big-screen debut.
Fans of the X-Men movie franchise are no doubt disappointed that Jackman has insisted that Logan will be his last outing as Wolverine, but if the enigmatic young woman featured in the Logan trailer is actually X-23, it raises the question: will we see her again after Logan?
It's Time To Pass On The Mantle
Jackman has, of course, been playing the iconic rebel of the X-Men since 1999. At 31, Jackman was young enough to portray the physicality and easy athleticism of the character without much incident. Now 48, it will become increasingly difficult for the Australian hunk to portray an ageless mutant. That, unfortunately, is one of the problems with our very human selves; we age, and sometimes, it just isn't easy to hide.
To be clear, it's not as though Jackman seems to struggle with maintaining Wolverine's muscular stature. Audiences everywhere have seen Jackman in varying degrees of shirtlessness over the years, and the verdict appears to be that he's as buff as he ever was. But Jackman's portrayal of Wolverine is not what's at issue.
Anyone doing anything for 17 years is going to struggle at times to breathe new life into something. Jackman himself has said that he's not sure how many more egg white omelettes he can eat, and while that statement might be somewhat in jest, there's only so long you can do any one thing before you somehow know it's time to move on. If the man who's played the character for 17 years is saying it's time to move on, it is definitely time to move on.
Why Not A Woman?
X-23 has been a part of the X-Men comic book lore for some time. Effectively, her "birth" came about because she was the 23rd attempt at making a clone from Wolverine's DNA, and was successful. She became the new Wolverine in 2015 after finally making her way to the X-Men and ultimately joining X-Force.
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She is certainly one of the more dangerous members of the mutant squad of crime fighters, having been deliberately trained as an assassin and having ingrained in her biology an inherent tracking ability. Where Wolverine began by learning to fight for his own survival and finally arriving at a place where he was able to trust and work with others, X-23 does not initially have those traits. She has the same genetic skills and abilities that Wolverine does, but with a more cutthroat approach to the world, she could definitely be seen as a very badass version of one of our favorite X-Men.
There are also so few female superheroes who are prominently featured in some sort of a lead film role. There has been, for instance, a long held desire to see Black Widow to have her own movie. Storm has not really ever had some sort of leadership role and has clearly been an engaged part of the team as a whole. Audiences have not yet seen women in a prominent role, leading the team.
If the female lead in Logan is, indeed, X-23, this could mean promising things for the future of the Wolverine character, and female fans of the character can then look forward to further live action adventures featuring a new incarnation of the hero.
We Need A Revamped Hero
Much as so many of us love Wolverine, sometimes it's refreshing to both a story and a character as a whole to see what happens when one hero passes the baton to someone else.
Certainly, it's fun to see Wolverine interacting with another character, particularly when he's forced into a mentorship role, and especially when he's working one-on-one with Professor X, with whom he's developed a very unique relationship over the years. The X-Men producers should really give some consideration to seeing this character switch things up by handing the role to a woman in future films.
Do you think X-23 will appear in Logan? And if so, should she claim the mantle of Wolverine in the X-films?