SPOILER WARNING: Major spoilers ahead for the "Logan" movie and various comics starring X-23.
The "Logan" train keeps building momentum, with fans raving about the entire cast, as well as the plot. Hugh Jackman, in his Wolverine swansong, is garnering major acclaim, along with Patrick Stewart in an unconventional Charles Xavier depiction. However, it's Dafne Keen that's stealing headlines with her breathtaking performance as X-23, a clone made from Logan's DNA.
Created for the "X-Men: Evolution" cartoon in 2003, X-23 debuted in Marvel Comics' "NYX" a year later. In "Logan," James Mangold did her origins immense justice, directing Logan to take her to safe haven after being hunted by Zander Rice and Donald Pierce. Along the way, she viciously sliced and diced to play up the film's R-rating, but eventually saw both Logan and Xavier die. With no mentor left, she escaped with a new breed of engineered mutants, thus encouraging CBR to look at 15 movies Fox can have the character appear in next!
15 ALL-NEW WOLVERINE
After her riveting performance, X-23 showed why you can bring claws to a gunfight. In Marvel Comics, after a storied career traveling the world to find her place, and after stints with various mutant teams, X-23 eventually matured and settled into her civilian identity as Laura Kinney. Using Logan's advice as he became more of a father figure, she subsequently took over his Wolverine mantle when he died in Charles Soule's "Death of Wolverine."
Some might say she's too young to don this new role cinematically, but it would be interesting to see Fox's take on a Wolverine that's developing from a teen. With Logan, we saw his journey, but it was as an adult. X-23 brings a different developmental dynamic and overall perspective, because she went through the same things he did, only she did while still a youngster. There's a lot more that can be fleshed out if they franchise her like this, from solo coming-of-age stories to a career as a budding superhero and potential X-Man. "Logan" saw her off to Eden with fellow mutants, so this story of continuing Wolverine's legacy could begin anew right there.
Fox have repeatedly stated that the Channing Tatum-led "Gambit" solo film will still take off, despite losing multiple directors and production being pushed to 2018. With so many other X-films in the pipeline this year, from "Deadpool 2" to "New Mutants," the studio has stated their 2017 is already booked and thus, "Gambit" isn't a priority. That could benefit X-23, if fans are patient enough. Gambit's film would surely focus on him being a mutant and a thief, but what if this led him to trying to acquire Weapon X information? And what if he encountered her?
Fox could look at a pre-"Logan" timeline, and have him raiding the facility where X-23 was being experimented on. In the comics, he acquired this type of data for Mister Sinister but ended up burning it as he rightfully didn't trust the villain. Now, this offers Fox a big angle to potentially explore, as Gambit could piggyback on her popularity. Imagine getting one epic showdown between him and a younger X-23. It'd be a testy affair and an awesome throwback to when he fought Logan in "X-Men Origins: Wolverine."
13 NEW X-MEN
With X-23's group escaping and crossing the Canadian border, it'd be interesting to see what Eden looks like, if this haven does indeed exist. They were being led by Rictor, an "X-Force" stalwart, and as we saw with the kids, they have what it takes to survive as a pack. This was evident when they combined to dominate and take down Pierce. With no other mutants left in "Logan," as Xavier and Rice wiped them off the map, this group here could form the "New X-Men."
In 2001, Grant Morrison wrote the team as an experienced one with the likes of Jean Grey, Cyclops, Wolverine and Beast involved, but Fox has an opportunity to flip that script on its head. Angel was a member, so maybe they could use him after he escaped in "X-Men: Apocalypse." Fox has no problem altering continuity or timelines, so they could redeem him here as a senior, under the auspices that he didn't age after being a Horseman. Emma Frost wasn't seen since "First Class" and was only killed off-screen in "Days of Future Past" (meaning she might secretly still be alive) so she could return as well, giving these faces relevancy again.
Hulu's upcoming Marvel television drama, "Runaways," is one of the publisher's cult classics. It's a teen angst story and an overall coming-of-age masterpiece, created by Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona. In "Avengers Arena," X-23 encountered the team who had a member (Chase) there in Arcade's gladiator arena, which pitted young fighters to the death. It would take a lot of negotiations and property sharing, but imagine how big of a pickup it would be for the teen drama if they got access to X-23 or some of her fellow escapees.
"Runaways" focused on a group of kids who learn their parents are members of a supervillain group called "The Pride." The kids, some of whom inherited their parents' abilities, stole their weapons and resources to take their elders down. They ended up leaving town on a nomadic journey to discover what it means to be a hero, so it would be pretty cool to have them encounter X-23 and some of the Eden refugees in their trip. It's highly optimistic but would go a long way to giving the show extra traction, and sate audiences clamoring for more Laura.
11 XAVIER'S SECURITY ENFORCERS (THE X.S.E.)
"Xavier's Security Enforcers," aka the X.S.E., are a military unit from the future, who still follows Xavier's ideals, in an era run by Sentinels. Their job was to protect humans and mutants from the oppression of these robots, with Forge creating the team and the likes of Bishop and Trevor Fitzroy on board. Fitzroy turned out to be evil and fled to the 616 mainstream comic universe, so Bishop and a couple X.S.E. members tracked him there to preserve the timeline, with Bishop eventually joining Storm's Gold X-Men team.
He's a fan favorite character and was severely underused in "Apocalypse," but with Cable entering the filmverse, he's a great pick to bring back into the fold. He could push the X.S.E. team to recruit X-23 to bolster their ranks, and offer major offense when they run into conflict with anyone in any timeline. It's not just a cop-out to bring X-23 to the present timeline, but it's actually a smart team to place her on as she'll be trained for the greater good, which may well lead to Xavier trying to free her from being weaponized by Bishop.
10 YOUNG X-MEN
Outside of Spider-Man, both Marvel Studios and Warner Bros. don't really have young superheroes in their current film stable. Given how "Logan" ended, there's a separate direction that Fox can go, outside of the older "X-Men," and it's towards a younger team with less familiar faces. Going obscure isn't such a bad thing, given how Fox has gambled successfully on not-so-mainstream properties like "Deadpool" and the "Kingsman" franchise.
In "Logan," we saw Rictor linked genetically to the villain, Avalanche, so he and X-23 are in prime position to usher in the next generation as the second generations of popular mutants. "Young X-Men" was written by Marc Guggenheim in 2008 and lasted just 12 issues, but this could be a strong foundation to move forward with. It focused on youngsters (trained by Cyclops, Dani Moonstar and Cannonball) in a similar fashion to "New Mutants." Fox could use the likes of Ink (who got his powers through tattoos), Dust (a young Muslim girl with the ability to manipulate particles), the reptilian Anole, and Rockslide (who's very similar to The Thing) as part of a new, diverse team not bogged down by continuity.
9 NYX MINISERIES
"NYX" was a miniseries from Marvel Comics, started in 2003, which was written by Joe Quesada. It revolved around homeless teenage mutants in New York City, with X-23 being a major character. She was part of a cast that included the time-freezing Kiden, shape-shifting Tatiana, body-shifting Bobby, his mysterious brother, and Cameron, a woman with no powers. X-23's arc was arguably most powerful as it focused on her being a prostitute, with other issues such as murder, suicide and human trafficking coming into play.
This could easily be the direction she goes in with some of her other refugee friends if Eden doesn't exist. It would be a very dark story, but it'd fit right in with the tone of "Logan," continuing the tale of a broken world with no repair in sight. "NYX" is geared towards mature audiences, so imagine how bold it would be if Fox took this the movie route, or did a gritty and comprehensive television series close to what Netflix or HBO puts out.
8 A CABLE SPINOFF
With Cable set to feature in "Deadpool 2," fans are waiting to see if time-travel plays a role. He's one of Marvel's most popular characters, so surely fans will be asking about a solo flick later on for the son of Cyclops and Madelyne Pryor (a Jean Grey clone). If time travel does become a major part of Fox's new slate of movies, then maybe there's the possibility he picks up X-23 and brings her to the past.
Again, Fox could also rework their continuity to facilitate this, as it would provide her access to the other mutant teams out there. What makes Cable such an intriguing possibility is that in the comics, he had Hope Summers (an avatar for the Phoenix Force) as his time-hopping companion, so maybe X-23 could take over this role. It would make for great interaction as he'd be the ideal person to temper her into being a proper battle-hardened soldier. Cable and Wolverine had a powerful relationship in the books, so having them share a common daughter figure would be a damn fine tribute.
7 A DEADPOOL SEQUEL
Ryan Reynolds has campaigned long and hard to have Logan cross over into the "Deadpool" franchise, but Jackman has said he's done. If Deadpool can't have Wolverine, then he should have the next best thing in Logan's daughter! Imagine how menacing they'd be in skewering the opposition. He met Laura in the "X-Force" comics by Rick Remender so they do share comic history and a rapport.
Given the humorous interactions with her and Logan, we can only wonder what it'll be like with Wade Wilson, especially when he breaks the fourth wall. The template's already been laid in how he interacted with Negasonic Teenage Warhead the first time around. Deadpool clearly has no problem with child soldiers so Fox could take another risk and link X-23 to this franchise. Maybe Deadpool survived the Xavier seizure in "Logan," allowing Fox to do "Old Man Deadpool" later on? Maybe he could rely on Cable and time-travel to bring her back? Either way, it's a team-up that's sure to strike fear into Fox's universe, especially as Deadpool isn't fatherhood material.
If Fox mold their continuity and somehow get X-23 into "X-Force," expect some of their most ballistic action sequences, which will probably surpass what "Logan" had. This team, especially in Remender's run, was a black-ops unit commissioned by Cyclops to use lethal force to protect mutants. It boasted Logan, X-23, Domino, Wolfsbane, and Warpath. The lineup shifted a bit, with Logan eventually booting X-23 out as he didn't want her to become a full-fledged killer.
Given that Cable originally formed this team, and that Deadpool also factored in later on in Remender's writing, Fox could have another big hit on their hands if they rework the team with these two, and throw Laura in the mix. They've already got all the major players they need, except a Wolverine. A young Elixir (a mutant with healing powers) could also be added in to raise the youth dynamic of the roster, but definitely, the experience of these bloodthirsty adults would be the key ingredient in how X-23 develops in this squad, as there won't be that many voices of reason.
Now that Fox has introduced Rictor into the mix, "X-Factor" is a distinct possibility. The modern team was led by Jamie Madrox (Multiple Man) as an investigative agency that dealt with incidents adversely affecting mutants. With the new breed of genetically engineered mutants out and heading to Eden, maybe Rictor can now chart the path of this agency forward. Fox could easily swap out Wolfsbane and use Laura as his muscle.
It would be an essential unit as mutants would be few and far between, so they would need protecting. Fox could once more alter continuity and get a version of Madrox in (maybe one of his duplicates) as a survivor. After all, Rictor descended from Avalanche, so there's no issue in altering things to suit the new narrative. It would also give fans the chance to see a new era of mutants, and possibly a less grand one, with the grimy world now fit for the likes of Strong Man, Monet, Siryn (Banshee's daughter), and even Layla Miller, who was inexplicably tied to the "House of M" event.
4 AVENGERS ACADEMY
Fox got Negasonic Teenage Warhead from Marvel Studios as part of a swap for Ego The Living Planet, who'll be Star-Lord's dad in the upcoming "Guardians of the Galaxy" sequel. While fans have been ticked that such sharing never happened for more prominent X-Men stories to be told, especially in Wolverine's case, Phase Four of the MCU could be the best place to make this right. "Avengers Academy" dealt with aspiring superheroes in training, and X-23 was one of them.
Imagine seeing her curbing her ways there as part of the next wave of MCU heroes. She played a key role when the Avengers and X-Men tussled in "AvX" as well, torn as to where she should stand in the Academy, which wanted young mutants to stay out of the battle. This could shape her inclusion into the MCU as part of a grander scheme by Fox to see mutants battle Avengers, satisfying fans who maintain their calls for a more comic-loyal universe.
3 NEW MUTANTS
"New Mutants" is likely to feature Professor Xavier, who may well be looking at molding a new team similar to his X-Men. Director Josh Boone is rumored to be using Dani Moonstar, Wolfsbane, Sunspot, Cannonball, Magik and Warlock, all as part of "The Demon Bear Saga" by Chris Claremont and Bill Sienkiewicz. It focused on the team staving off an enormous demonic bear that had a vendetta against Dani's family.
This could be a great place for a time-displaced X-23 to appear, as any X-Men-like unit should have their own Wolverine. The film's set to be in the current timeline of Fox continuity, so again, getting X-23 there would require some adjusting. That aside, having her develop and grow with this squad would free her up to carve her own destiny without any preconceived notions. It'd also give Dani's team a second enforcer alongside Wolfsbane, and allow Xavier a chance to properly mentor and groom X-23, hopefully fixing any shortcomings he had with Logan.
2 A SABRETOOTH SOLO
Sabretooth has been a big victim of Fox's continuity mishandling. He was depicted as Logan's brother in the "Origins" story, yet treated peripherally in Bryan Singer's "X-Men" in 2000. Fox hinted that their soft reboot under Mangold would allow the character to return, and he nearly did in "Logan," only to be scrapped. If he still exists, and he should as he too had a healing factor, then he could end up going to look for X-23, hopefully as part of the redemptive, heroic path he's on now at Marvel.
He became an Avenger after being inverted in the "AXIS" storyline, and Fox may well have another father figure for X-23 here, as well as a new pseudo-Wolverine. Sabretooth has a similar vibe to him, tortured and angsty, so the dynamic between both would mimic what we saw with Logan. Time could have changed his ways, and with so much more to explore, such as Cyber, Omega Red, or even Daken, the Wolverine mantle may not need one, but two to carry this legacy forward. And who better than family?
1 THE MAIN X-MEN ROSTER
We saw an old Xavier treating X-23 like a granddaughter in "Logan," so imagine how awesome it would be with him as a younger man take her fully under his wing. Again, Fox would need something like time-travel to bring her to the present timeline, but having X-23 in the main roster would be a great way of making up for having no Logan. We admit it would be slightly jarring seeing her go from an R-rated badass to PG-13, but it would serve to make her disciplined, instead of a hothead.
With "X-Men: Supernova" in the works, and Simon Kinberg engineering another rumored Phoenix Force storyline, Fox may well need all the help they can get to make this movie resonate. X-23's popularity could be a key asset, upping the ante that the fanfare the franchise got when the likes of Quicksilver and Magneto cut loose. The modern team would need some brute strength, and a rabid watch dog, so if Fox wants to make sure the Wolverine factor remains a crucial part of their X-Men lore, then they better capitalize and reel X-23 in.
Thoughts on our choices? Let us know in the comments how you'd like to see X-23 used in future films and where she should show up!