WARNING: If you haven’t seen Logan yet, there will be spoilers below.
First appearing in the animated series X-Men Evolution, Laura Kinney (X-23) quickly became a fan favorite. Created by the top secret organization tasked to duplicate the Weapon X program (the same program that gave Logan his Adamantium bones), Laura was the 23rd experiment to clone Wolverine. Although female, she was exactly what they wanted. In fact, she was better. Trained from birth to be a weapon, she was a deadly assassin before hitting puberty. Whether she wants to or not, she is forced to kill (we’ll get to that below). The program developed what they call a “trigger scent” that drives X-23 into a rage, causing her to kill everyone in her sight until it wears off. Throughout her young life, she was forced to kill many people, including her mother. Before her mother died, she told her she’s not just an experiment and that her name was Laura.
From there, Laura spent her time as a runaway. Being used and abused, she sold her body to survive, even hurting herself just to feel something. This led her to find Logan (initially fighting him and blaming him for everything) and then, eventually, land herself in Xavier’s school. Just like Logan, there she learned about friends, love, family and who she really is. At times, she needed to go out on her own and, at times, she was back to where she was, a weapon. Throughout her history, she was exactly what one would expect from the daughter of Wolverine. However, she was much better (something Logan would admit). Just like Logan, she had to live with a broken past and spend her life making amends. Over time, she would encounter setbacks, trials and loss. Now, she has the mantle of the man that taught her the most about herself. She isn’t just playing dress up, but she is The Wolverine.
Why X-23 needs her own film
After 17 years we finally got the real Wolverine on screen…and SHE was amazing! Yes, Hugh Jackman was great in his sendoff as well, finally giving us the Wolverine we’ve been lacking. After 17 years, it’s hard to view anyone outside of Hugh Jackman as Wolverine but this is why Laura is the perfect person to take up the mantle. From the first moment on screen, when we see her walk out of that plant and attack those pursuing her, I knew that James Mangold (director) and Dafne Keen (X-23) got it right. You saw the deadliness in her. Then, you see the video that Logan was watching, how she was made, how the nurse tried to teach her more than just being a weapon. When you see that, and you see the quiet girl that in a split second can go berserk, you know that the spirit of the character it’s there. You see her brokenness in trying to connect with Logan while being helped by Xavier in observing what life should be. In the final scenes, where she goes toe to toe with X-24 in order to help Logan out, you can see again how great she is in that role.
Putting her deadliness aside, the moment where Logan is dying and she tearing away at the tree that he’s impaled on though is where you say she needs her own film. She cries for a dad she just met. His eyes, his last words telling her not to be what they’ve made her. Then, when her and the other kids bury him, when she turns the cross to resemble an X and they head out into the mountains, I’m left wanting more. I want to know what happens next. Moreso, we need to know.
She is going into a new world with new mutants created to be weapons and on the run from facility that made them. Eventually, someone will come looking. In the comics, she was forced to kill because she had a handler. In the movie, she tells Logan she has nightmares because people hurt her. Her handler, Kimura, is one of Laura’s worst enemies in the comics. A solo film bringing her in to go after Laura would be a great first film. Also introducing the trigger scent, causing her to do harm and seeing her come out of it and rise from being used again and emerging a hero. Laura deserves more than just a walk into the mountains with her friends. She’s as complex a character as Logan and, by keeping her in this same gritty type of film, they can properly display all the elements of her character.
Although Jackman is done, Wolverine lives on and, given her youth, she will do well for another 17 years as well!