Posted by James Valentine @JValentine
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James Valentine

The time has come for Hugh Jackman's final performance as everybody's favorite mutant Canadian in the upcoming Wolverine movie (which is inspired by the infamous Old Man Logan comic series). The third solo adventure in the franchise, which will see an older Wolverine in the future, will serve as Jackman's last time donning those infamous mutton chops.

Regardless, it's highly unlikely that the Wolverine character will be missing from our screens for long, with talks already brewing of potential new actors playing the role in the future. It looks like the ceremonial three-pronged and pointy clawed mantle is set to be passed on, but who said anything about it being passed on to a man? If that mysterious casting call breakdown for a 15-year-old character, code-named "Zoe" in The Wolverine 3 is anything to go by, we might be meeting Wolverine's true successor very soon.

Who Is X-23?

Laura Kinney a.k.a. X-23 only appeared in Marvel comics after she first debuted on the X-Men Evolution animated TV series, where she quickly grew popular with fans. In short, X-23 was the 23rd and most successful attempt at creating a clone of the original Weapon X, Logan a.k.a. The Wolverine. Raised in a secret facility, she was trained to become a hyper-lethal assassin before her surrogate mother, Sarah Kinney, sacrificed her life to aid in her daughter's escape and eventually lead her to the Xavier mansion.

Logan, seeing his clone as his responsibility, takes X-23 under his wing and despite some bumps along the road, the two eventually achieve a father-daughter type of relationship.

Or whatever you call this kind of relationship
Or whatever you call this kind of relationship

As a clone, she has more or less the same arsenal as Wolverine, including claws that are coated in adamantium. One striking difference, however, is that X-23 has only two claws in her hands but one in each foot as well.

Her Inclusion Would Match The On-Going Comic Series

Left to right: X-23, Gabby and Old Man Logan
Left to right: X-23, Gabby and Old Man Logan

Currently the Wolverine mantle has already been passed on to X-23. Thanks to comic book shenanigans, the original Wolverine has been dead since 2014, in Death of Wolverine and X-23 took on the mantle not long after.

Logan was then subsequently replaced by an older, crankier, alternate version of himself (who simply goes by his real name, Logan). So, placing more of a spotlight on X-23 does not necessarily mean that Logan has to die, nor that no one else can ever act in the role on-screen.

It Opens The Door For A Potential X-Force Movie

X-Force is a name that has been making appearances throughout X-Men since 1991. Originally an off-shoot task force of the X-Men led by Cable, who had no qualms about getting his and his teammates' hands a little dirty. X-Force's popularity was cemented in the 2008–2010 version of the series. This new X-force team (consisting of the likes of Wolverine, Domino and X-23) used much darker and more violent means to protect mutant kind. The 2008 series became the de-facto look and roster for the team due to its popularity, even after the actual team itself was reshuffled in 2010.

The 2008 X-Force roster
The 2008 X-Force roster

Now, If you've been paying attention to this article, you're probably asking: "Wait, Wolverine 3 is set in the future, isn't X-force in the past or something? How can X-23 be in the movie?" Well, you're totally right and now you should prepare for my totally not a cop-out answer: time travel. The X-Men are no strangers to meddling with time and space and it is doubtful that the Days of Futures Past movie will be the last time that we see that plot element used on-screen. It would allow for X-23 to be a part of Wolverine 3 and a have a prominent role in a potential X-Force movie, so who's complaining?

She Can Easily Be Adapted Into The Old Man Logan Story

In the original Old Man Logan, the villains launch a devastating attack that kills the majority of Marvel heroes. In the midst of the battle, Wolverine is tricked into murdering the entire X-men team. The trauma and guilt leads Logan to abandon his Wolverine mantle and persona, vowing never to pop his claws again. He then starts a quiet life with a new family while under the rule of a twisted Bruce Banner a.k.a. The Hulk, along with Banner's inbred, gamma-powered and violent offspring. Unsurprisingly, it did not take long for Logan to break his vow under those circumstances.

All in all, Old Man Logan is a pretty depressing story, but it's also an elaborate story that uses a large roster of Marvel names and characters. This is something that the adaptation does not have the luxury of doing, so characters such as Hawkeye (who plays a key role) will need to be substituted.

It would make perfect sense to have X-23 drafted into a story about Logan's redemption. After all, X-23 is a character that always presented an opportunity for Logan to better himself, time and time again, by setting her onto a better path than his own.

Logan imparting some words of wisdom onto Laura
Logan imparting some words of wisdom onto Laura

Wolverine 3 needs to have a sense of finality to it, as we see Hugh Jackman's relationship with the character come full circle. As the X-Men universe continues without him, it must also start something new, because there will always be a Wolverine in the X-Men movies. He's simply too big a character to let go. Evolving the character by changing the dynamic is the best thing to do after Jackman bows out, and if there was ever an appropriate time to introduce the fan favorite X-23, it's now.

Give it up for one of Wolverine's best moments in the entire X-Men movie franchise below:

What do you want to see happen in Wolverine 3?