Logan is indeed a bloody, brutal Western of a superhero movie, unlike any Marvel movie we've seen before. But perhaps it's most surprising twist is that Laura, Wolverine's 'daughter', isn't really X-23 — she's an X-23, one of many unfortunate test subjects created by Dr. Zander Rice's experiments. The Weapon X project has branched out into cloning, taking genetic samples from mutants across the world and using them to create new, powerful living weapons.
Logan leaves us with a lot of questions about these mysterious new characters. Who are they, and whose genetic material was used to create them? According to Pierce, the tracker Caliban was used to help Weapon X round up mutants, so they undoubtedly obtained a lot of genetic samples. So let's take a run-through of the powers we saw, and try to work out who these X-23s could be...
First, a Caution
First, we've got to remember that director James Mangold had an intense focus on the quality of the film, and he wasn't entirely convinced that cameos would work. As he explained:
"You find these moments where you’re trying to please people and write these scenes where they’ll bump into somebody but it always just seems like an awkward cameo unless you can make it fit organically and the character is integral to the story."
Given that's the case, I wouldn't be at all surprised if most of Mangold's characters and powers are original — if he just went, "Ah, you can be a telekinetic; oh, some vines moving over the body would be cool!" That said, it's not going to stop any #XMen fans wondering. Plus, Mangold's cameo agnosticism makes one surprising cameo stand out all the more...
Easily the most surprising of the X-23s, Jayson Genao's Rictor is a mutant who can generate powerful vibrations. He can trigger them inside objects, tearing them apart; he can project vibrational waves of energy; or he can trigger earthquakes (hence the code-name). The character has a rich history in #Marvel comics, most notably as a member of #XForce. Including Rictor in this dystopian timeline seems like more setup for an X-Force movie, particularly since Dafne Keen's Laura is very likely to be on-board with the film as well.
It's worth noting that Rictor has traditionally been associated with both X-Force and the #NewMutants, but this approach is a very smart one. Even if Josh Boone chooses to introduce a version of Rictor in his New Mutants trilogy, that won't cause a problem for Logan; after all, this version of Rictor has to be a clone of somebody!
The Mystery of the Telekinetic
Another named character is Joey, who appears to be a telekinetic. It's possible he's loosely based on Joseph 'Joey' Bailey, Jean Grey's nephew. Over in the comics, he sadly never lived long enough to demonstrate his powers; he was hunted by Prime Sentinels, who called him an 'Epsilon-Beta Class' mutant (a term that's never been reliably defined). He was tragically murdered by the Shi'ar.
Of course, given these are clones, Joey's background is likely a little more intriguing. The X-23 experiments seem to have been relatively unimaginative when it comes to names; after all, 'Laura' begins with the same first letter as 'Logan'. That offers a broad hint that Joey is indeed a clone of Jean Grey.
It's actually rather amusing that a clone of Jean Grey likely appeared in the background of Logan. As we saw in X-Men: Apocalypse, Wolverine's own DNA was originally acquired by representatives of Essex Corp — a deliberate nod to Mr. Sinister, a classic X-Men villain. Sinister is notably obsessed with Cyclops and Jean Grey, and even created an insane clone of Jean.
Another of the children seems able to manipulate and generate fire, an ability known as pyrokinesis — one that will be very familiar to any X-Men fans. It's a pretty common ability, and major pyrokinetics include Firestar, Magma, and Oya. The only major pyrokinetics we've previously seen in the X-Men films are Pyro and Sunspot; the former can only control fire, not generate it, so can safely be ruled out.
One of the most notable clones seems to have freeze-breath, and let's face it - the most notable ice-manipulator in the X-Men comics is undoubtedly Iceman! Given that we know one of the clones was known as Bobby (Iceman's real name), it's not hard to guess who this guy's a clone of.
Still another generates electricity blasts - and, in the mobile phone video, one of the case files reveals just where that powerset comes from. We're given the name 'Christopher Bradley' - a.k.a. Bolt, a mutant who can absorb electrostatic charge from the atmosphere and release it in devastating electricity blasts. He trained under Wolverine's fellow Weapon X subject, Maverick, and ultimately took his codename.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine has already established Christopher Bradley as a figure in the X-Men universe, where he was redesigned as a member of Team X. Although Days of Future Past rebooted the timeline, we can assume Bradley still found his way to William Stryker, and it's natural that the Weapon X project would have a sample of his DNA.
One final energy manipulator appears to generate powerful force-fields — even using them as weapons. That ability has never been developed in the X-Men franchise (the closest being one Doctor Cecilia Reyes, who generates a protective field around her own body). In fact, it's traditionally associated with the Invisible Woman, over in the #FantasticFour. Given Fox use the word 'mutant' to describe anyone who has powers (including Deadpool), this could conceivably be a subtle nod to the Fantastic Four — another Fox property!
Circling back to the pyrokinetic, of course, this raises an intriguing possibility; that we saw a clone of the Human Torch alongside one of the Invisible Woman!
One of the children has a visible mutation, one that seems reminiscent of either Darwin (seen in X-Men: First Class) or possibly Toad. Granted, the X-Men films have shown a dramatically-mutated Toad, but that mutation may have developed over time, meaning the child's mutation may not yet have completed. I do think we can rule Darwin out, though; I doubt Zander Rice could get his hands on any of Darwin's genetic material.
The Most Surprising Possibility of All
Perhaps the most intriguing powerset, though, was seen in the final battle with Pierce; one mutant controlled vines, wrapping Pierce's body in them. That powerset, the ability to manipulate living things, is actually a pretty rare one. The best example is a little-known character called Nature Girl, about to get her moment to shine in Christina Strain's Generation X comic.
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These are only my educated guesses, and I'll be hanging on Fox's every word to see if they give us any more information. If you have theories about any of the other mysterious characters, feel free to share them in the comments - it's going to be interesting to see whether any of these kids return, perhaps in the (surely inevitable?) X-23 sequel!
What did you think of 'Logan'?
(Poll Image Credit: 20th Century Fox)