The latest trailer for Twentieth Century Fox’s Logan dropped yesterday, providing a whole bloody stew of new footage and information on the latest in the X-franchise. We got a taste of Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine going full berserker (making full use of the film’s R-rating), while Patrick Stewart’s Professor X is also along for the ride despite having reached the ripe old age of 90.
The biggest star of the footage, however, is Dafne Keen’s Laura Kinney, a.k.a. X-23. It’s long been known that X-23 is a pivotal character in Logan, and that her presence is the catalyst for the movie’s plot, but this is the first time we’ve gotten a proper look at her in action and a more concrete idea of the relationship she has with Wolverine and the greater X-universe.
A quick primer: First introduced in an episode of animated series X-Men: Evolution, Laura is a teenage daughter-clone of Wolverine created by Weapon X with many of the same powers. After suffering a deeply traumatic childhood at the hands of her creators, who used her as an assassin-for-hire, she seeks out and attacks Wolverine in misguided vengeance, blaming him for her suffering. Eventually she breaks free from the mental programming her creators wrought upon her, and was set to join Charles Xavier and co. in X-Men: Evolution before its cancellation, spurring her transfer to the X-Men comics where she remains a mainstay character.
Though little of the above is directly confirmed, much of X-23’s established origin is hinted at in the new Logan footage. The trailer opens on her casually robbing a convenience store, and Laura is shown assaulting a store-clerk before a less-than-amused Logan grabs and scolds her. 11 year-old Laura seems to lack basic social skills, instead reflexively using violence as a primary mode of reaction. At first Logan isn’t keen to help her out, but Xavier seemingly persuades him to take responsibility for the young mutant.
Once Boyd Holbrook’s Pierce, a part-cyborg henchman and one of the main antagonists, shows up it’s revealed that he’s been sent to retrieve her, prompting Logan to become properly involved. After subduing Logan, Pierce sees X-23’s abilities first-hand in one of the trailer’s money-shots as her signature twin-blades protract from her knuckles and she slices her way through at least three of Pierce’s men. Later, we see Richard E. Grant’s Dr. Zander Rice getting off a helicopter in a white coat. In the comics, he was instrumental in the creation of X-23 through the Weapon X program. Any solid info on his role in the film is scant, but it’s safe to assume he’s Pierce’s boss and the overarching bad guy of the story, even if he isn’t directly related to Laura’s existence.
It remains to be seen how Logan and Xavier come across Laura, but the trailer hints that she’s at least a little comfortable with the two from first sight thanks to her being a fan of X-Men comics – a little meta-joke in-which the X-Men’s exploits in this universe are (inaccurately) retold and sold in comic form. She is likely still a clone of Logan, but either it’s not something that inspires the same disdain in her that her original origin story contained, or their connection is something the movie may be using as a big twist. Xavier tells Logan Laura is very like him, which could be Charles’ failing powers detecting they share a common past in her mind.
Twice Xavier is shown staring into an intense, energy-emitting light; first with guns pointed at his head, second with Laura seen trying to crawl towards him, presumably to save him (read our breakdown of the Fox Film Showcase footage for more details on what exactly is happening to Xavier). In another of the footage’s big shots, we first see Logan slicing through a bunch of soldiers before Laura hops over his back to make mince-meat of some more. Given that it involves Laura and Logan working together, this could be part of the final act, with the two unified in final resolve, possibly spurred on by whatever happens to Xavier. As it seems Laura’s initial reason for seeking out Wolverine in her comic/TV origin isn’t at play here, it seems that she finds refuge with Logan and Charles, with Logan helping her to understand her pain and abilities, before Pierce and Dr. Cage try to rip them apart.
In the parting clip, Logan and Laura are shown driving together with blood on their hands and clothes. This trailer more readily solidifies that Logan will have a father-and-daughter, ultra-violent roadtrip vibe to it, with strong focus on the characters and the action. It may not be a direct adaptation of X-23’s story, but it will still maintain the trail of blood that tends to follow Logan and whoever is around him.