ByEleanor Tremeer, writer at Creators.co
MP staff. I talk about superheroes a lot. Sometimes I'm paid for it.
Eleanor Tremeer

Hugh Jackman's last stand as Wolverine now has a name — Logan — and a trailer, which dropped last week to the delight of many. Promising a darker, more down to Earth and character driven story than we've come to expect from the superhero genre, the trailer for Logan is compelling, atmospheric, and disconcerting. We're presented with a bleak future, in which Wolverine suffers from constant chronic pain, as Charles Xavier is clearly starting to fade away.

Their mission: To protect a young, mysterious girl, the victim of some kind of government program similar to Weapon X. Many people immediately assumed this girl is X-23 a.k.a. Laura Kinney, the female clone of Logan who was raised as an assassin. And now, thanks to the offical Logan Instagram, we have confirmation that this is indeed X-23.

Identifying Dafne Keen's character as "Laura", it seems clear that Logan will tell give X-23 an origin story of sorts, setting her up to have a much bigger role in the X-Men franchise, just as Hugh Jackman departs.

Who Is X-23?

First appearing in the animated show X-Men: Evolution, X-23's history was later expanded on in the comic X-23: Innocence Lost. Laura was introduced to the comic continuity soon after her debut in the animated series, but the exact details of her past remained mysterious for years. Proving to be a popular character, thanks to her taciturn and occasionally brutal nature, X-23 appeared in many different comic arcs, and became a founding member of the vigilante team X-Force.

The product of an offshoot of the Weapon X program, X-23 was created from a damaged sample of Logan's DNA. After many attempts to clone Logan failed, scientist Sarah Kinney suggested abandoning the Y chromosome altogether, replacing it with another X chromosome. As a result, X-23 was female. Raised in a sterile and unfriendly environment, X-23 was trained mercilessly, and subjected to countless traumatizing experiments. (Think Eleven from Stranger Things, but with slightly more murder.)

X-23 was eventually freed by Sarah Kinney, but before they could successfully escape, Zander Rice — one of the lead scientists on the project, who has been cast for Logan — triggered X-23 into murdering Kinney. This was difficult for X-23 to get over, as Kinney was her birth mother, and as she died Sarah gave X-23 the name Laura.

Laura trains in the X-23 program. [Marvel]
Laura trains in the X-23 program. [Marvel]

Naturally, Laura Kinney's story was far from over. After a run-in with S.H.I.E.L.D, Laura hunted down Wolverine, desperate for some sort of vengeance. But instead of killing him, this was the start of a beautiful — if tense — relationship, as Logan brought Laura to the X-Men and started her off on her path to heroism.

The New Wolverine

After many years of serving with the X-Men and X-Force, as well as having her own solo adventures, Logan's death in Death of Wolverine prompted Laura to take up his mantle, becoming Wolverine in Marvel's All-New Wolverine. Logan's death has so far remained permanent, making Laura the current reigning Wolverine in the Marvel Comics universe.

With Hugh Jackman making no secret of his desire to quit the role of Wolverine in the movie universe, we have to wonder whether Logan is introducing us to the new Wolverine in the form of Laura Kinney.

Laura leaps into action as Wolverine. [Marvel]
Laura leaps into action as Wolverine. [Marvel]

This would provide Fox with the perfect way to keep Wolverine — a cornerstone of the X-Men movie franchise since the beginning — even though Jackman has stepped down. And it seems as though Logan might very well end with the death of the eponymous character: We already know that Wolverine's healing factor is declining, which is what made him vulnerable to fatal wounds in the comic Death of Wolverine.

Jackman's own comments also hint towards Logan's death, as he speaks of finality not just for his X-Men career, but his character's too.

"This will be my last one. It just felt like it was the right time to do it... I kind of have in my head what we’re going to do in this last one. It just feels like this is the perfect way to go out."

Laura and Logan start a beautiful friendship. [Fox/Marvel]
Laura and Logan start a beautiful friendship. [Fox/Marvel]

This could be a perfect way for Jackman to depart the franchise, not to mention the fact that dying in the fight to save Laura would be a poignant final act of redemption.

A Bright Future

Of course, with Logan set in 2024, Laura taking up the role of Wolverine wouldn't be straightforward. She also seems to be around her early teens in the movie, meaning she'd have to age up a bit before becoming Wolverine. However, neither of these factors are the hurdles we'd expect them to be.

As part of her creation, Laura's healing factor was manipulated to stimulate accelerated growth. In the comics, this meant she grew up a lot faster than normal (and whether this justifies her revealing costume and sexualized portrayal in her early comics, or just makes it more icky, is up for debate).

Within the films, this means that after Logan it would not be a surprise to see an older version of Laura pop up in another movie — but maybe not the one you'd expect.

X-23, Cable, Wolverine, and other members of the X-Force. [Marvel]
X-23, Cable, Wolverine, and other members of the X-Force. [Marvel]

With Cable confirmed for Deadpool 2, it could be that we've already been presented with the perfect way for Laura to take up Wolverine's mantle. Cable is, after all, a time traveler — and he was also a member of the X-Force.

This is when we get into the realm of pure speculation, but it's entirely possible that Cable and Laura team up sometime after 2024, with Cable later recruiting her for some mission that involves them traveling back in time — either or after Cable meets Wade Wilson in Deadpool 2. And if this adventure just happens to be in a movie entitled X-Force well, then that's all to the good.

Laura Kinney in 'All-New Wolverine'. [Marvel]
Laura Kinney in 'All-New Wolverine'. [Marvel]

With Logan and Deadpool 2 still far from their respective release dates, it's difficult to deduce exactly what the future holds for X-23's movie incarnation. Suffice it to say that there's ample potential for her to become the new Wolverine, carrying the torch of a much-loved character — and the few clues we have hint that this is precisely the fate of little Laura Kinney.

Tell us in the comments: Do you want to see Laura become Wolverine in an X-Force movie?

[Source: The Dr Oz Show via Screenrant]