When Fox launched the #XMen franchise back in 2000, #Marvel's merry mutants were essentially the only gang in town. Nowadays, though, the X-Men have some serious competition; whether you're talking about the juggernaut of the MCU or the nascent DCEU, the reality is that superhero movies are now a Hollywood mainstay. That means trouble for Fox, a company that's traditionally focused their films in on a handful of superstars — and none more so than #HughJackman's Wolverine.
2017's Logan will mark Hugh Jackman's last appearance as the Ol' Canucklehead, and — after X-Men: Apocalypse's relatively lukewarm reception — Fox has to be starting to plan for a post-Jackman franchise. Logan introduces us to none other than X-23, the female clone of Wolverine who's actually taken over his mantle in the comics. The good news for Fox is that she may well be the mutant they're looking for...
Good News for X-Men fans!
A bunch of top critics just got the chance to watch the first 40 minutes of Logan, and they were blown away. Praising the film for its tone and violence, excitingly, many of the critics also found time to chat about X-23. Played by Dafne Keen, X-23 is described as an absolute scene-stealer. Take a look at some of the comments:
Remember that X-23 is appearing in scenes alongside actors of the calibre of Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart. That's impressive!
Deadpool blazed a new trail for Fox, introducing us to the wacky and irreverent Wade Wilson. The fact that X-23 is being compared to this unexpected blockbuster of a superhero is pretty exciting!
If X-23 is to work as a character, she has to prove herself Wolverine's equal in every way — including in savagery. It sounds as though she does!
A Character Rich in Potential
I've long been convinced that the character of X-23 has the power to revitalize the X-Men franchise. The character was originally created in an animated series, but swiftly made her way over into the comics. Perhaps a measure of her success is that Laura's pretty much been permanently in print ever since!
A female clone of Wolverine, Laura was created to be nothing more than a weapon. This origin is at the center of her appeal; essentially, X-23's story is of her quest to regain her soul, to transcend her design. Fundamentally, the greatest X-23 stories are tales of identity, as they chart a young woman's desperate attempt to understand just what it means to be human. This gives X-23's strongest comics a level of depth and psychological power that's fairly remarkable.
X-23 was essentially one of Marvel's firs 'Legacy Heroes', and true to form, she's currently one of the few to have taken over the mantle of the original. She's now the All-New Wolverine, and her book is frankly tremendous. Personally, I couldn't be more excited at the idea of having Laura to step up and become the franchise lead.
How Could Fox Pull This Off?
As I've written in an earlier post, the sad truth is that Fox's timelines are something of a mess; Logan looks set just to make matters worse. After all, X-23 is being created in a future timeline, meaning she has minimal chance to interact with other characters.
Not so. Remember that Deadpool 2 is set to introduce Cable, a time-traveler who promises just to make Fox's timeline even more convoluted. Cable could also potentially act as a bridge to take Laura back in time, introducing her to the X-Men and giving her a chance to become pivotal to the franchise. If Laura truly is the success these first reactions hint at, Fox has a ready-made timey-wimey button to press and integrate her into their wider universe.
The good news, by the way, is that Laura isn't the only thing about Logan that's being praised. The critics are unanimous in their first reactions:
- Why 'Logan' May Cause Yet More Continuity Problems For Fox's X-Men Universe Timeline
- Fox's Latest 'Logan' Teaser Adds Humor To The R-Rated Sequel
- After 'X-Men: Apocalypse' - What's NeXt for the X-Men Franchise?
Logan will be the first live-action superhero movie to air in 2017, and it looks as though the film will set the bar high. It's entirely possible that we'll be watching the future of the X-Men franchise — and her name will be Laura.
Do you think X-23 will wind up at the center of the X-Men franchise?
Poll Image: Marvel Comics