ByTom Bacon, writer at
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Tom Bacon

Dafne Keen wowed X-Men fans the world over when she made her superhero debut earlier this year in Logan, and fans have wondered whether the young actress will have a future in the X-Men multiverse. Over in the comics, the character of X-23 took on the mantle of Wolverine himself. Will Fox choose to take a similar direction?

Until now, we've only had hopes that Keen would return to Fox's X-Men films. In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, director James Mangold — the man behind Logan — has confirmed that he's working on a script for her. Inspired by Patty Jenkins's Wonder Woman, Mangold told The Hollywood Reporter:

"Patty's success with that film only solidifies more for studios that there's less to fear with a female protagonist. The more that keeps getting hit home, that ends up giving me more space turning around and going, 'Well, here we are with a female protagonist. That's incredible. And what are we going to do with her?' And that's where we are with that [the Laura script] right now, dreaming."

Producer Hutch Parker, clearly blown away by the success of Logan, has stressed that the spinoff will be very different:

"It may not be in the same exact tonality or with the same genre orientations as Logan, but I think part of what has been opened up in this universe to all of us now is, drawing on different genre traditions, there are new pathways to be opened for new characters that populate this universe."

Fox's recent experimental approach to the X-Men movies is paying dividends. Deadpool was an R-rated raunchy comedy, Logan a brutal, bloody Western, and next year's New Mutants promises to launch a new horror franchise. Fox has learned that superhero films can vary wildly in tone and style, and the studio is clearly working on finding the right genre and tone for a solo X-23 film.

One figure who won't be returning is Hugh Jackman, who confirmed he won't be a producer on the spinoff, but will definitely be queuing up to watch it. "She is just phenomenal," he told THR.

What Can We Expect From A Spinoff?

It's usually the case that comic book fans have a strong sense of what to expect from a film. That's not the case with X-23, who is very different to the comic book version of the character. Ironically, she's a lot closer to creator Craig Kyle's original design.

Kyle created X-23 when he was working on the animated series X-Men: Evolution, and he imagined her as a 12-year-old who entered 's life like a whirlwind. Marvel was fascinated by the character, and she swiftly transitioned into the comics. Unfortunately, as Kyle fumed, they took real liberties with the design. "She was 22 and had a boob job," he complained.

James Mangold evidently took Kyle's comments to heart when he adapted X-23 for the big screen. Concept art has shown that Fox originally considered an older actress, but Mangold had a very different vision in mind:

"I wanted to avoid the standard trap, which has been done successfully elsewhere, of that very attractive 19-year-old actress in a hot uniform. We’ve seen that. I wanted something more interesting."

She was tremendous! [Credit: 20th Century Fox]
She was tremendous! [Credit: 20th Century Fox]

Mangold succeeded admirably. Only 11 years old at the time of filming, Keen was a revelation. She exuded a tremendous blend of savagery and childlike need, winning over the hearts of viewers worldwide, and somehow managing to upstage even Hugh Jackman in countless scenes. This was definitely a superhero like nothing we've ever seen before.

Fans have speculated that will return for the X-Force film, tying Fox's R-rated franchises together. Whether or not that's the case, the future looks bright for Keen's already-beloved character. Mangold himself is working on a script, and we're sure to see more of the young mutant in the years to come.

Do you think X-23 should appear in the X-Force film? Let me know in the comments!

[Source: The Hollywood Reporter]


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