Dafne Keen made her big-screen debut in March 3’s Logan as Laura, the mutant known as X-23 in Marvel’s X-Men comics. While X-23 does very much take up the Wolverine mantle after Logan steps down in the comics, there are a lot of questions about where 20th Century Fox — the company that’s backed all these X-Men films for the past couple decades — is going to take the X-Men franchise from here. Will Keen’s Laura become the new Wolverine since Hugh Jackman is stepping down?
This post contains major spoilers for Logan.
So, for those of you in the world who have managed to already see Logan in theaters, you know that there’s no way Jackman will ever return to the big screen as Wolverine. Jackman’s been saying that Logan is his final X-Men romp, but the end of the movie — when, y’know, Logan dies after being impaled on a tree trunk by his psychopathic doppelgänger, X-24 — really stuck it to any fan theories or whispers that he’d ever return.
Laura and her fellow mini-mutants run off into the wilds of Canada at the end of the film after burying Logan and quoting Shane. The Wolverine is dead, but his memory will live on — one of the kids has a Wolverine action figure in-hand and Laura might just be the perfect new Wolverine to lead the New Mutants.
Logan’s finale manages to set up the perfect beginning to a New Mutants spin-off film series. If Fox decides to — once and for all — stick with this timeline, its upcoming New Mutants movie, which is aiming for a 2018 premiere, could pick up where Logan left off: with a Laura primed to pick up her father’s mantle.
While Rictor — the boy in Logan with the seismic energy powers — seems to be the de facto leader for the time being, any further X-Men films will almost undoubtedly follow Laura’s story. Audiences will connect her emotionally to Logan, who held the Wolverine mantle onscreen for 17 years before he kicked the bucket. What could be better than Wolverine handing his title to his daughter upon his death?
So, in short, there’s no definitive answer. There’s no official synopsis for the upcoming New Mutants movie and no hints at where Keen’s contract with Fox currently stands. That said, it’s hard to imagine anyone other than Jackman playing Logan. So, maybe the X-Men franchise will realize the best way to keep the character alive is to let X-23 succeed Logan as the Wolverine.
Logan is now in theaters.