With Hugh Jackman retiring from the claws and sideburns of Wolverine after 17 years and nine films (yes, I'm counting the cameos), fans everywhere are already chomping at the bit to learn who will play the character next. After all, there is almost no way that Fox is letting this be the end of the character and name of Wolverine for good, no matter how associated Jackman is with the title role. But maybe Fox has their next Wolverine already, and she's staring them right in the kisser. Yes, I'm referring of course to young Dafne Keen, who stole the show in Logan as Wolverine's genetic offspring, X-23/Laura.
Now, as fans of the current Marvel Comics know, the Wolverine they know and love has been dead for just over two years. He's been replaced by the older, grizzled Logan from the alternate future from the original Old Man Logan series, who refuses to call himself Wolverine or wear the classic costume. Who does wear the costume now is Laura Kinney, who has ditched her X-23 name and become the official Wolverine among the X-Men. So should the movies just wise up and follow suit?
Eventually, the entire X-Men universe as begun by Bryan Singer way back with that first movie 17 years ago will be rebooted, with a new Professor X, new Cyclops, and yes, a new Wolverine/Logan. But right now, Fox seems content to keep this version of the X-verse chugging along for a few more years, with a New Mutants movie, a potential Dark Phoenix Saga X-Men movie, plus Deadpool 2 and, eventually, X-Force. Not to mention the upcoming Fox TV series which is tied to the movie-verse as well. But Hugh Jackman won't be a part of any of it, and recasting his iconic role within the confines of the same continuity would be too jarring.
I'll say it: we need a Wolverine of some kind, so why not Laura?
Of course, there are obstacles to bringing the X-23 we know from the comics, who is usually portrayed as an older teenager, to the big screen anytime soon, starting with the fact that actress Dafne Keen is only 12 years old. The young actress was absolutely spectacular in the role, so do you recast with an older actress, in a film set even further in the future, leading her group of young mutant friends in the safety of Canada? (Alpha Flight anyone?) Or, do you wait a few years for Dafne to get older and become more like her comic book counterpart?
There is one solution that presents itself, and it allows Fox to have their mutant cake and eat it too -- you have a follow up movie starring Dafne Keen as X-23, set immediately after the events of Logan. Then you have an older, recast version of Laura, now fully embracing the name and legacy of her "father" Wolverine, who time travels to the present (thanks to resident time-traveler Cable) and joins up with X-Force. In the comics, Laura has as much of a history with X-Force as she does with the regular X-Men, despite recently being a part of the All-New X-Men title. Besides, you need a Wolverine of some kind to play off against Ryan Reynolds' Deadpool, so why not her? I can't think of anyone better.
Another option, one straight from the comics, is to have Laura team up with Gambit, a character she spent a lot of time with in the pages of her own ongoing title. Together, they took on Mr. Sinister, a major X-Men villain that has been teased since the end tag of X-Men: Apocalypse, but who has yet to show up in the movie universe. The X-movies are having the hardest time it seems finding a proper way to introduce Channing Tatum's Gambit into his own movie, so why not have him play a part in a Wolverine movie starring Laura first? And have Sinister be the antagonist in said movie, and kill two birds with one stone?
There's no shortage of different ways to use the character of Laura Kinney as the new Wolverine in the Fox mutant movie-verse, and clearly it's the studios best option until the eventual full-on reboot we all know is coming one day. Audiences the world over have clearly embraced the character of Laura, and just about everyone wants to see more of her. All that's left is for Fox to get smart and pull the trigger on the female Wolverine movie we all deserve.
What do you think? Is X-23 ready to fill the role of Wolverine in the movies just as she has in the comics? Let us know in the comments below.
Images: Marvel Comics/ Twentieth Century Fox
X-23 might actually be more deadly than Wolverine...