It’s the end of the road for Logan, but maybe not for Wolverine. Hugh Jackman will bow out as Wolverine in the cinematic X-Men franchise, ending his run in James Mangold’s Logan. The film will also mark the debut of X-23, named “Laura” in the comics and played in Logan by Dafne Keen. The most significant aspect to Laura Kinney — that she’s Wolverine’s clone — remains unconfirmed in the film’s universe, yet the answer will indicate the future of the X-Men.
On Sunday, the film’s official Instagram page posted an image of Dafne Keen with the simple caption “Laura,” confirming both the character and its actress (previously reported to be Sienna Novikov). Like other reveals from the film, it’s a simple black-and-white portrait that echoes the dreary world of Mangold’s Logan, which will occur after the events of 2014’s X-Men: Days of Future Past.
In the Marvel Universe, X-23 (named “Laura” by her surrogate mother, Dr. Sarah Kinney) is a clone of Wolverine who inherits her “father’s” powers like regenerative healing, agility, and adamantium claws.
Also like “dad,” Laura was created to become a killing machine, but she eventually found her way to the X-Men, attending Xavier’s School and joining the X-Force. Created for the cartoon series X-Men: Evolution, X-23 made her comic book debut in 2004 before getting her own solo comic from Marjorie Liu in 2010, which ended after 21 issues.
After Secret Wars in 2015, Laura took on the Wolverine identity in Tom Taylor’s All-New Wolverine. The series is ongoing; issue #14 arrives on November 2. In some recent issues of All-New Wolverine, Laura has gone toe-to-toe with her grizzled dad, straight from the Old Man Logan continuity that’s inspired the film.
Logan has not confirmed the true identity of its version of Laura. Described by Patrick Stewart’s Xavier as “Just like you … Very much like you” in the trailer, Laura could still be Logan’s clone or an experiment without genetic ties to Logan. Either way, it’s still plausible she will inherit the Wolverine mantle now that actor Hugh Jackman is done with the series, allowing Laura to be part of a new generation of mutants. Josh Boone is attached to New Mutants, which in its title alone suggests the next era in the X-Men saga. That film is slated to begin shooting in early 2017.
Judging by the way Laura moves in the Logan trailer, the legacy of Wolverine is in good, sharp hands.
Logan will be released on March 3, 2017.