Last year’s Logan was a bittersweet success for writer/director James Mangold. While it was by far the biggest commercial and critical success for the Wolverine franchise, it also marked the final appearance of Hugh Jackman as the adamantium-laced mutant. But on a recent publicity junket to drum up Oscar buzz for the critically acclaimed movie, Mangold revealed he was already working on a spinoff movie featuring Logan’s young protege Laura Kinney, a.k.a “X-23.”
Mangold had been toying with ideas for an X-23 film since the end of filming on Logan, but he said studio resistance to the idea of a Laura-led sequel evaporated this summer for one simple reason:Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman.
“Patty’s success with that film only solidifies more for studios that there’s less to fear with a female protagonist,” Mangold told The Hollywood Reporter. “The more that keeps getting hit home, that ends up giving me more space turning around and going, ‘Well, here we are with a female protagonist. That’s incredible. And what are we going to do with her?’ And that’s where we are with that [the Laura script] right now, dreaming.”
Mangold is working on the script with Thor: Ragnarok screenwriter Craig Kyle, the man who created Laura for the X-Men: Evolution cartoon way back in 2003.
X-Men franchise producer Hutch Parker agreed that there is more story to tell with Laura. “Yes, there are other facets of that character and some others potentially to explore in their own way,” says Parker. “It may not be in the same exact tonality or with the same genre orientations as Logan, but I think part of what has been opened up in this universe to all of us now is, drawing on different genre traditions, there are new pathways to be opened for new characters that populate this universe.”
While it is unknown if the sequel would pick up where Logan left off, or move forward in time to feature an adult Laura, Daphne Keen, the breakout star who played Laura in the film, is on record as wanting to explore the character more. “She is an emotional bomb. She’s complicated — she tries to be so strong but she feels so kind of vulnerable at the same time. I really love her. I’d love to keep playing her,” she said.
It is also unclear whether Laura would remain “X-23” or become the new “Wolverine” in the proposed sequel, but Logan star Hugh Jackman is ready to pass the torch. The veteran actor recalled that he was not even supposed to play the part of Wolverine. It was awarded to Scottish actor Dougray Scott initially — but fate intervened when shooting on Scott’s film Mission Impossible 2 went long, forcing X-Men producers to give Jackman a shot at the role.
“I met him early on and I said to him, ‘Man, I am sorry.’ And he said, ‘It’s just business, but you have just gotten one of the greatest roles out there, so go crush it,’ ” Jackman said. “I just remember being so impressed by that and his class, and hopefully I am a big enough guy that when someone else takes over, I will do exactly what was done to me…and I feel glad to just be a part of the legacy of that character. I feel great parts — great characters out live the actors that play them. Bond, Superman, Batman…so, there you go.”
So he’s made peace with leaving the role of Wolverine behind. Would he be interested in producing the way he did for Wolverine: Origins?
“No, I won’t be a producer on a Laura sequel,” he says. “But I will be lining up on the Thursday night at 10 p.m. to watch it though.
She is just phenomenal.”