This will be part news article, part message to Disney and Fox.
A few years ago, Hugh Jackman announced that he will star in a third Wolverine solo film, and that it would be his last outing as the character. James Mangold, who directed The Wolverine, quickly signed on to direct and co-write the feature, and the stage was set for one of the most anticipated comic book movies ever.
In 2017, LOGAN, debuted to critical and commercial acclaim. The R-rated superhero epic saw the film draw on the Old Man Logan comic, and introduced fan-favourite character X-23, played wonderfully by Dafne Keen.
After LOGAN premiered, talks began to swirl about an X-23 spinoff film. Soon after, Mangold confirmed that he, and comic writer Craig Kyle were working on a script for the film. Then, the Disney/Fox deal happened, and all talks of future X-Men film ceased, as Kevin Feige assumed control of the characters.
While nothing has been planned or developed, James Mangold is now speaking about his desire to still direct an X-23 film. Speaking to The Playlist, Mangold says that, while he still wants to write and direct a solo X-23 film, he doubts that it’ll happen.
“Do I have any interest? Yes. Will it happen? At least in the near future, I doubt it.”
Dafne Keen was a scene stealer in Logan, so it made sense that FOX would’ve wanted to explore options with the character, given that their franchise lead retired in the same film. But with Disney taking over the X-Men catalogue, news about the future of the mutants has been kept to a minimum.
Here’s where the news part of the article ends, and the message to Disney begins:
At this point, it’s just wishful thinking that James Mangold returns to the world of X-Men to direct a character he helped bring to the big screen. That being said, X-23 would be a terrific addition to the MCU’s X-verse.
For starters, if would allow for the MCU to not rely so heavily on Wolverine, like the Fox films did. In each X-Men film, Jackman was essentially the centre of attention. If Marvel Studios wanted to go a different route, why not introduce X-23 right out the gate? That’s not to say that Wolverine does not appear (he obviously will), but showcasing X-23 as well can provide some much needed depth to Logan’s corner of the MCU.
This is pure speculation and theorizing here, but I believe that X-23 should be positioned as one of the focal points for the MCU’s X-Men. With themes of female empowerment and diversity ringing throughout the MCU, and with James Mangold at the helm, X-23 could be a showcase for grittier female-led films. At the same time, you could have X-23 leading a band of younger mutants. A small, more contained film that puts the light on her, as well as other young mutants would be a terrific pic for Marvel to produce.
Finally, and this is a no brainer, but BRING BACK DAFNE KEEN. It doesn’t matter if the X-23 film is a sequel to Logan, or if it stands on its own in the MCU, she deserves to come back and carry on the role. With Spider-Man: Far From Home showing us that actors from separate Marvel universes can appear in MCU films, there is no argument against bringing her back.