There had been some suggestion from Bryan Singer and franchise producer Simon Kinberg while speaking with DigitalSpy that they were pushing towards the idea of retiring the Wolverine character with Hugh Jackman instead of recasting the role.
For all the recasting that’s already gone on in the X-Men series, Singer and Kinberg were unanimous on one point: recasting Wolverine would be impossible. “I do think you would want to figure out how to tell more Wolverine stories,” Kinberg allowed. “So either we would try to entice Hugh to come back and eat more chicken and work out for a few months, or we would have to figure out a creative way to move forward. Honestly, I can’t imagine anybody else playing the part, and there’s not too many characters I can say that for.”
This sparked our idea of X-23 aka Laura Kinney taking Logan’s mantle in future films considering her membership on teams like the X-Force and taking over the mantle officially in the All-New Wolverine comics.
However, it doesn’t sound like the studio shares this idea.
Logan co-writer and director James Mangold has revealed to Fandango in a new interview that 20th Century Fox had zero clue who X-23 was when he asked to use her. This would refute any suggestion that there was any passing of the torch happening in Logan from Mangold’s perspective.
“The studio didn’t even know who X-23 was” when Mangold first suggested her inclusion in Logan. “We weren’t thinking about merchandising or starting a new line of movies – what we were thinking about was the interesting themes in this film.”
Fox having no clue who X-23 was shouldn’t have happened if they were planning on making a big push with the character in the future or had plans on having her replace Wolverine in the franchise.
Then again, Singer admitted to Fandango last year that he had pitched X-23 as a replacement for Jackman’s Wolverine to the studio. I’m not entirely sure how convinced they were about that.
Things could always change all we have to do is look at how quickly Fox put Deadpool 2 into development and they’re already considering Deadpool 3 based on the success of the first film.
Deadpool director Tim Miller mentioned to Empire Magazine in 2015 that he’d love to see X-23 in a fight scene with Wade in the future, so it’s possible with Deadpool 2, Deadpool 3, and X-Force on the horizon. Not to mention they’ll be introducing time-travel technology into the mix with those wave of films.
“But if I was to stay inside the Fox family, I would like to see him fight X-23, the female Wolverine. The female clone of Wolverine. It would be totally messy, but just to have it be a girl against – you know, she’s young, in the comics she’s about 16 or so – but to see a young girl kicking the shit out of him would be pretty fucking awesome.”
We’re a little hesitant to believe that Fox would give young newcomer Dafne Keen her own solo film off the bat, but showing up in a film like X-Force is extremely likely. The common studio move would be to recast Laura with an older actress but that seems like a bad move if Logan is a big hit with audiences and fans.
Fans will likely have to speak up on the behalf of Keen if they like her in the role.
Although, who was Hugh Jackman before his breakout in 2000’s X-Men?
Fox holds the film rights to the majority of Marvel’s female superhero lineup but has yet to develop a female led X-Men project. It seems odd that with Keen being so young allowing for a lengthy future playing the mutant heroine and this gives her the chance to grow into the role not unlike what happened with Jackman.
The Latina actress could be the first Marvel heroine of color to land her own solo film. Something we’d hope the studio would champion this after their massive success with Fox 2000’s Hidden Figures being number one at the domestic box office two weekends in a row without being a comic book film.
At the end of the day, Keen’s future in the role of X-23 will be directly connected to the success of Logan and 20th Century Fox ultimately makes the decision to recast the Wolverine role or pass the torch to another character.