Even before the release of the first trailer of Logan, fans have been eagerly anticipating the onscreen debut of Laura Kinney, also known in the X-Men universe as X-23. Introduced in the comics in 2004 as the clone daughter of James "Logan" Howlett/Wolverine, Laura has been a welcomed addition to the Wolverine mythos, even taking on her father's mantle in the 2015 series All-New Wolverine.
The question remains as to whether or not that passing of the baton from Logan to Laura will occur with the live-action X-Men universe. With Logan being established as Hugh Jackman's final portrayal as the titular character, many have wondered if Laura - and the actress who plays her, eleven-year-old Dafne Keen - will inherit the Wolverine franchise moving forward.
In an interview with Fandango, Logan director James Mangold addressed this idea of "passing the Wolverine torch" to Laura/X-23, saying that while it wasn't his initial intention, he certainly hopes the fans welcome it. "I always feel like I’m making a one-off movie every time," he explains. "My feeling is that if you can make a good film, it’s naturally going to lend itself to people wanting to see sequels because it’s good and the characters are rich."
Mangold believes that that desire from fans to see a sequel to Logan will come from the film's relationships, particularly between Laura, Logan, and Charles Xavier/Professor X (Patrick Stewart). "There’s a lot of drama and a lot of interpersonal drama that truly drives the feature."
"What we have going for us are great cross-generational relationships between Charles and Logan; this great father-son relationship there, with a son caring for his ailing father, in this case someone with degenerate brain diseases in the world’s most powerful brain." Mangold elaborates by saying that "in the case of Logan and Laura, [it is] a father-daughter relationship, with a father who’s very loathed to have intimacy or an emotional connection with almost anyone."
While Mangold isn't ruling out the possibility that Laura/X-23 will become the new Wolverine, he reiterated that it was not an idea initially on Marvel/20th Century Fox's radar. "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."
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Logan hits theaters on March 3, 2017.