Logan Director Reveals Whether X-23 Will Be The New Wolverine

The latest "Logan" trailer has arrived, bringing with it plenty of X-23 action -- way more than we've seen before. Newcomer Dafne Keen plays Laura, a little girl with all of Wolverine's abilities and a whole lot of his attitude as well. This marks the character's live-action debut, following a decade in the comics spent forging her own destiny and amassing a pretty large following. X-23's prominence in the Marvel Universe grew even more in the past year when she took up the Wolverine moniker to star in the comic book "All-New Wolverine."

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With Hugh Jackman sheathing his claws after playing Wolverine for almost 17 years, some have wondered if X-23's inclusion in "Logan" would be treated as a passing of the torch -- similar to what happened recently in the comics. While it's not out of the question, "Logan" director James Mangold told Fandango that it definitely wasn't his intention when he decided to add the similarly clawed Laura Kinney to the cast.

When asked if this movie was written with the intention of passing the Wolverine mantle on to X-23, Mangold said, "I always feel like I’m making a one-off movie every time. 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. I really wasn’t thinking about [passing the torch] -- and I know the studio wasn’t because they didn’t even know who X-23 was when I brought it up."

Additionally, Mangold stated that he and the other filmmakers "weren’t thinking about merchandising or starting a new line of movies -- what we were thinking about was the interesting themes in this film. 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. And in the case of Logan and Laura, a father-daughter relationship, with a father who’s very loathed to have intimacy or an emotional connection with almost anyone. There’s a lot of drama and a lot of interpersonal drama that truly drives the feature."

Up until this point, the official materials released for "Logan" have been cagey about calling Dafne Keen's clawed character X-23. Mangold addressed that while cutting through all the mystery, firmly stating that she is X-23 and she will be called that in the film -- at least once. "We’re avoiding calling her [X-23] right now for reasons I can’t explain other than I think they’re trying to keep that from breaking, but I don’t give a s**t," said Mangold. "The reality is, yes, we call her everything you would call her, although no one is going to refer to a child as a letter and two numbers very often."

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The director also spoke about the relationship between Keen and Jackman onscreen, calling it "dynamic." He added that "young" superheroes always tend to be between the ages of 15 and 18 and attractive. Instead of using what he called the "CW version" of Laura, he went younger. "I wanted, if you will, the 'Paper Moon' version of the father-daughter relationship. I wanted to know what it was like to be 11 years old with adamantium claws. What is it to be raised kind of like a pitbull in a cage, and then to finally find yourself out in the world? Also, for Logan, seeing her and seeing a reflection of his own lack of impulse control and rage, and his own level of violence."

Set beyond the events of “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” 2017’s “Logan” is set in the near future following a cataclysmic event that ravaged the mutant race. It will also be Hugh Jackman’s final outing as Wolverine, and will introduce Dafne Keen as the character’s teenage clone X-23.

Directed by James Mangold, written by Michael Green, Scott Frank, James Mangold and David James Kelly, and starring Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Boyd Holbrook, Richard E. Grant, Dafne Keen and Stephen Merchant, “Logan” arrives in theaters on March 3, 2017.

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