Logan launched earlier this month to critical acclaim and box office success and, if certain rumors are true, could serve as a fitting end to Hugh Jackman’s time as Wolverine. However, in addition to bringing Logan’s story to a close, the movie also helped elevate a somewhat obscure character to a household name in the form of Logan’s genetic twin, X-23.
Those who have seen the movie already know the basics of who Laura Kinney is, but with only one movie to her name, there’s probably a lot that fans don’t know about this decade-old character. Luckily, we’re here to give you all the facts on X-23 with Screen Rant’s 15 Things You Didn’t Know About X-23.
15. X-23 is NOT a clone
This one might surprise a lot of people since X-23 is often referred to as Wolverine’s clone, but that’s a common misconception. According to her origin story, described in the “Innocence Lost” arc, she is actually a genetic double. Prior to X-23’s birth, there had been 22 failed cloning projects.
The scientist who was brought on to correct this error, Sarah Kinney, discovered that there was a problem with the DNA sample. In short, there was an issue with the Y chromosome that resulted in the clones dying. In order to correct this error, she proposed the use of two X chromosomes resulting in the creation of a female clone. She pointed out that this would not be a true clone, but a genetic duplicate. However, the duplicate would still have Wolverine’s abilities. Her superiors rejected this idea insisting on a male clone, but she began the project in secret. Once it was discovered, her bosses allowed her work to continue, but forced her to serve as the surrogate for the child’s birth.
14. Her origin may be very different in the movie
The backstory given above is her comic book origin which expands on the scant information we received in X-Men: Evolution, but it’s possible that her origins may be very different in the universe that the X-Men film franchise is set.
In the comics, she appears to be a creation of an offshoot of the Weapon X program which created Wolverine, but, based on the post-credits scene in Age of Apocalypse, it appears that her origins are tied to Mr. Sinister. While this is not her canonical origin story it does make sense given that, in the comics, Mr. Sinister often does cloning and genetics work so it fits with the villain’s personality and modus operandi. However, given that he did not appear until the post-credits scene of AoA, it is unlikely that this incarnation of Sinister serves Apocalypse.
13. Her existence retroactively improves Age of Apocalypse
X-Men: Age of Apocalypse was not a very good movie. Sure it had its moments and seeing the Phoenix was pretty cool, but overall it fell flat with audiences and critics alike. One of the movie’s many flaws was the inclusion of a rather pointless Wolverine scene. When Jean Grey, Cyclops and Quicksilver are captured, they encounter an enraged Wolverine whose slaughtering of his captors provides an opportunity for their escape.
The problem is that there was really no reason for Wolverine to be in this movie. They could have found a way for our heroes to escape without relying on Wolverine. He is currently the only member of the X-Men to have his own solo movies. We simply did not need him there. His appearance distracted his from the actual plot of the movie and seemingly served no purpose.
However, the post-credits scene revealed that agents of Mr. Sinister found a sample of Wolverine’s DNA and it implied that they began work on a creating a clone. This would eventually result in the creation of X-23. The fact that X-23 now exists lends a sense of narrative cohesion to that random Wolverine scene. It certainly doesn’t make Age of Apocalypse a good movie, but it does improve one bad scene.
12. She briefly became Captain Universe
By now, most fans are aware of the fact that X-23 eventually takes up the mantel of Wolverine, but that isn’t the only famous hero whose title she has assumed. She briefly took upon the mantel of Captain Universe when she bonded with the Uni Force, one of Marvel’s lesser-known cosmic entities. The Uni Force sought out Laura hoping to make use of her unique healing factor. At first, Laura was wary of bonding with such a powerful entity, but she eventually agreed to aid it through their union was short-lived.
Given the fact that X-23 was raised to be a weapon, it makes sense that she would be wary of such power. For years, she struggled with issues of her own humanity and doubted whether or not she even had a soul. It’s understandable that she would not wish to allow herself that much power since she barely trusts herself with the power she naturally possesses.
11. She shares a voice actress with Harley Quinn
Most of our readers are probably aware of the fact that X-23 made her first appearance on TV before eventually making the transition to comics. She shares that in common with another popular female character, Harley Quinn. However, that’s not the only trait she shares in common with Gotham worst psychiatrist, she also shares a voice actress in the always amazing Tara Strong.
At this point, we think it’s safe to say that Tara Strong has voiced at least 80 percent of our childhood. The fact that she’s able to voice such different characters is testament to her talent. Strong’s Harley Quinn voice is almost as iconic as Mark Hamill’s Joker. After an actor does such an iconic role there is always the danger that their future work will contain traces of their more famous characters, but Strong’s X-23 is distinct from her work as Harley Quinn which is an impressive feat.
10. She stole Ant-Man’s suit
Legacy characters are a bit of a controversial issue in comic fandom. In some cases, such as with Dick Grayson taking on the role of Batman, they are.fairly well received. X-23 taking up the mantle of Wolverine was also a pretty safe choice, but what might surprise some people is that she also, very briefly, took on the role of Ant-(wo)man. Okay, so she didn’t officially take up the title, but she did briefly steal the Ant-Man suit in order to fight a swarm of nanites.
It was a short arc, but an interesting one none the less and X-23’s skillset actually makes her a rather terrifying incarnation of Ant-Man since her healing factor remains intact regardless of her size. Besides, large or small, those claws are sharp as ever. That being said, she quickly returned the suit, which makes sense given the fact that she likely feels that she doesn’t need any additional power.
9. Despite her doubts, she does have a soul
This one is a bit metaphysical, but for several years Laura struggled over the issue of whether or not she had a soul. Part of this was in due in part to the fact that she was created in a laboratory and part of it was because of her violent and bloody past. It’s a prime example of Laura being haunted by the circumstances of her birth and highlights part of what makes her such an interesting character. Her past as an assassin surely left its emotional scars, but the circumstances surrounding her birth were also rather traumatic.
She was so desperate to find an answer to this question that she even asked to be subject to Ghost Rider’s Penance Stare. The Rider refused, but, thanks to the villain Blackheart, Laura was eventually able to discover the answer to this question and it was revealed that she did, in fact, have a soul. Logan would later scold her for ever doubting this.
8. She’s one of the few mutants who did not lose her powers after M-Day
In the aftermath of the events of House of M, the Scarlet Witch cast a spell that left the majority of mutantkind powerless. It was an event with wide-ranging ramifications for the Marvel universe with some members of the mutant community going so far as to accuse the Scarlet Witch of genocide.
As stated above, the majority of mutants were left powerless by this event, but a handful retained their power including X-23. The exact reason as to why she retained her powers have not been revealed, but it might have something to do with her being the result of lab experiment or her ties to Wolverine since he too did not lose his mutant abilities. In either case, it’s a good thing since without her healing factor, the use of her claws could cause her to injure herself or even bleed to death since, obviously, the claws cut her as they come out.
7. She has a pet wolverine
Superhero pets are hardly a new concept. Perhaps the most famous is Superman’s dog Krypto, but there have been numerous other superpets that have graced the pages of comics over the years. The current Robin, Damian Wayne, is particularly fond of animals collecting a wide-range of pets from cats and dogs to a cow. However, it turns out that X-23 also has a bit of a soft spot for animals as shown by her pet wolverine, Jonathan.
It was only a matter of time before some writer decided to give Wolverine a pet, but Logan clearly was not the best fit for an animal companion. Laura, despite her past, is, thanks in part to Logan’s help, is not as distant as Logan himself so she’s a better fit for this idea. Sadly, despite what Squirrel Girl originally assumed, the fact that her code name is “Wolverine” does not give her the ability to speak with Wolverines despite how amusing that concept might be.
6. Despite being raised in a lab, she does have a mother
As mentioned above, X-23 was created as a science experiment and raised to be a weapon. At first the project’s lead scientist, Sarah Kinney, tried to keep herself detached from the project and viewed it as a purely scientific endeavor. However, a few factors contributed to her changing state of mind.
For starters, as punishment for defying her boss’s orders and creating a female, she was forced to serve as the surrogate mother and carry the child to term. Her sadistic coworker indented this to serve as a punishment for her disobedience.
Once the child was born, she, in addition to her scientific work, began to raise Laura as her own reading to her and teaching her general life skills in addition to the training she was receiving as an assassin. She endeavored, in vain, to protect Laura from the cruel experiments that were forced upon her such as grafting adamantium to her skin, but she was ultimately unable to do so.
5. She could be the link to the X-Force movie
In light of the deal between Disney and Sony to bring Spider-Man into the MCU, many fans are likely holding out hope that Fox will work out a similar deal for the X-Men and Fantastic Four franchises. That is unlikely to happen, but Fox is starting work on fleshing out the wider X-Men universe with films such as New Mutants and X-Force in the works.
Interestingly enough, it is X-23 who could serve as the link between the current X-Men films and the upcoming X-Force movie. In the comics, X-23 serves as a member of X-Force after she escapes from her creators and meets up with Logan. Her training as a covert assassin made her a perfect match for Xavier’s clandestine team of mutants.
Assuming they handle the time travel issues in an elegant manner, X-23 would actually make a perfect character to serve as a liaison between the X-Men and X-Force since she has the training of an assassin, but has already worked with both Logan and Professor X.
4. One of her arcs is a homage to the 1990s New Fantastic Four
In terms of comic books, the 1990s are a bit of a mixed bag. On one hand, you had some truly great story arcs such as Knightfall and the creation of famous characters like Spawn. On the other hand, it’s also known as the “dark age” of comics because the industry moved towards “gritty” darker storylines.
One notable example of this was the New Fantastic Four, a run that saw the famous team replaced by Venom, Ghost Rider, Wolverine, and Hulk. The series was short-lived, but it did receive a bit of homage in the pages of 2012’s Venom run which saw Flash Thompson team up with Red Hulk, X-23, and Ghost Rider.
However, this story is more than a mere homage to a mostly forgotten 1990s revamp, it also contained some significant developments for X-23. Perhaps most prominently, it is where the villain Blackheart reveals that she has a soul.
3. She has her own clones.
As stated above, X-23 is not technically a clone, but she does, in fact, have her own clones. The first of her clones was named Alice and appeared in the “Songs of the Orphan Child” arc. Alice was discovered by Mr. Sinister. In fact, three versions of Alice appear in this story arc, but “Alice 2” implies that there are several others and she states that she has died twice. The so-called “Last Alice” eventually became the vessel for the villainous Mr. Sinister.
Beyond, Alice, there were also the Sisters who appeared in the “All New Wolverine” series. The Sisters were a set of 10 clones of X-23 created from an unknown source. SIx of the Sisters died during missions or were killed as part of an experiment, but four managed to survive. In order to create more effective soldiers, their creators implanted them with nanonites which rendered them incapable of feeling pain. However, these nanonites were also killing the clones forcing Laura to steal the Ant-Man suit in order to destroy the machines.
2. She’s played by newcomer Dafne Keen
Some might think the choice of a choosing newcomer Dafne Keen to take on such an important role is a poor choice, but we think the casting decision was one of the films better moves. For starters, Keen does a great job in the role which is good considering that a poor performance on her part could have ruined the film.
Beyond that, it’s nice to see Hollywood actually cast an age-appropriate actor for once. The film and TV industry has an annoying habit of casting people in their 20s and 30s to play teenagers and, while we understand it can be difficult to find good child actors, the obvious age discrepancy can be really immersion breaking.
Keen was only 11-years-old when Logan began filming and it was her first movie so it’s interesting that her first feature film was an R-rated movie. Due to this, she has complained that none of her friends are allowed to see her first movie.
1. She’s more likely to return to the franchise than Hugh Jackman
After Logan’s death in the comics, Laura takes up his mantle as the new Wolverine. Replacing a popular character is always a risky move, but Laura benefited from having years of prior exposure and character building. Her taking up Logan’s mantle felt like a natural evolution of both characters story arcs.
While the film version of the character doesn’t have quite as much buildup or backstory, her appearance in Logan does do a good job of establishing her history and motivation so her replacing Jackson’s Wolverine isn’t simply coming out of nowhere.
From a meta-perspective, it’s possible that part of the reason X-23 was introduced at all was simply because Jackson has hinted that he is ready to retire from this particular role and rather than try to recast such a popular character, they simply choose to replace him with X-23. It’s still possible that Jackman will reprise his role, but, if not, we wouldn’t be disappointed to see Keen become the new Wolverine.