Logan's Return Opens The Door For A Different Wolverine To Enter The MCU

He's not the only one who's the best there is at what he does. Wolverine will soon be joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe with "Deadpool 3." This actually opens up some other exciting possibilities besides the return of Hugh Jackman's much-loved mutant. The actor had supposedly hung up his claws for good with "Logan," which served as a swan song for the character Jackman had portrayed in Fox's "X-Men" universe for nearly two decades. However, we now know this is no longer the case, as Jackman is set to reprise the role.

As with everything, Marvel has been quite tight-lipped on what the nature of Wolverine's return will be other than "Deadpool" star Ryan Reynolds promising the mutant's appearance won't alter the events of "Logan," namely the central character's death. The 2017 film takes place in 2029, so keeping that timeline intact should be relatively easy — not that Fox ever did a stellar job keeping track of its own continuity. Plus, the multiverse is now a known concept within the MCU, so who's to say this is even the Logan viewers are familiar with? In fact, there are many interesting ways Wolverine could enter the MCU.

While Wolverine's return is both thrilling and anxiety-inducing for fans, his presence opens the door for another beloved character as well. Portrayed exceptionally by Dafne Keen in "Logan," Laura Kinney, aka X-23, is known by another name in Marvel Comics as well: Wolverine. Logan may be the clawed mutant everyone is talking about, but his return could signal the entrance of another one altogether.

Who is X-23?

Like Harley Quinn, Laura Kinney debuted in a TV show. Initially created by Craig Kyle and Christopher Yost for "X-Men: Evolution," her first comic appearance was in "NYX" #3 in 2004. Laura was made from Wolverine's DNA — though it was eventually revealed she is genetically his daughter rather than a clone. The two develop a close relationship, with Laura definitely looking to Logan as a father figure. Similarly to him, Laura has had to learn how to fight against her nature to become something other than the weapon she was forged to be. 

Her healing factor, adamantium claws — which she also has in her feet — and troubled past may make her sound like a female version of Logan, but she is so much more than that! They do share a lot in common, which is why he can understand her in a way no one else can. That said, Laura has an even darker past than Logan, and in many ways, she has learned to control the monster within more than he ever did. 

The "X-23" series from Marjorie Liu is a great place to start. It was drawn by several incredible artists, one of them being Sana Takeda, who Liu would later team up with on "Monstress." If you haven't read that, you really should!

Laura has evolved quite a bit over the years, going from a traumatized teen to a true hero. She has been a part of several different X-teams, sometimes going by the name Talon, though it never really stuck. Laura even took up Logan's mantle after his death — with a stamp of approval from Doctor Strange no less — in the excellent "All-New Wolverine" by Tom Taylor and David López. Be sure to read that, too!

Why even attempt to replace Hugh Jackman?

It's no secret that replacing Hugh Jackman as Wolverine will be an impossible task, despite Marvel Studios' undeniable gift for pitch-perfect casting. Jackman has become so synonymous with the character that it's wild to think back to a time when fans were upset by the casting choice due to his height. I would love to be proven wrong on this and have the ultimate successor be found, but what I think I would love even more is if there was no effort made to replace Logan at all. Just bring in Laura instead! 

Considering how meta the Deadpool films are, Wolverine could show up clad in his trademark yellow spandex without much explanation. So, Laura wouldn't need much backstory either. If Patrick Stewart's Professor X joined the MCU only to be killed off in "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" and Jackman can reprise the role he was ostensibly done playing, why not have Dafne Keen's Laura appear in this universe as well?

Look, if the comics, mainly the many "X-Men" titles Wolverine's been thrown into at the same time in a given year are any indication, Logan is the most popular of Marvel's Marvelous Mutants. With that in mind, I can't really imagine a decision being made not to recast the role Jackman made so famous. That doesn't mean it wouldn't be smart to go in an entirely different direction.

Dafne Keen is a star

Hugh Jackman may have been at the center of "Logan," but Dafne Keen was its breakout star. Her Laura managed to be both feral and vulnerable, and the actor expressed so much emotion with merely a glance. Keen is no doubt in high demand, but with "His Dark Materials" — which she is also great in — wrapping up, perhaps her dance card is free.

The multiverse does offer us near-limitless possibilities, so of course, there's always the option to have a new Logan exist alongside Laura and have her take up the mantle eventually or just be a part of this universe as Talon or X-23. It's tough to discern what is or isn't canon with the Fox movies, or even the Netflix shows, but Marvel seems to be picking and choosing the best bits to carry over thus far. 

Keen gave such a strong performance and Laura has a rich comics history to explore. With a surprising amount of issues focusing on her, considering she is a relatively new character, there is a whole lot of cool stuff to adapt. Again, I doubt Marvel will pass up the opportunity to recast Logan, but I'd love to see the triumphant return of Keen's Laura instead.