A Laura/X-23 spinoff is in the script phase.
Hugh Jackman, director James Mangold, and producer Hutch Parker recently spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about their hit movie Logan and the discussion revealed plenty of juicy tidbits of info for the film’s fans. As they reflected on Logan’s success, the trio talked about why their film stood out, potential award season consideration, and developing a spinoff movie featuring the movie’s breakout star, Laura a.k.a. X-23.
Logan’s main appeal is that it is one of the few comic book movies these days to tell a close-ended story with a decisive end to its hero’s journey. Not having to weave characters and plot threads into other X-films gave Mangold the chance to craft a one-off tale that is light on world-ending spectacle but packs a heavy emotional punch. On the topic of what sets Logan apart, Mangold really hits the nail on the head when he mentions his approach to the comic book movie “formula.”
I think I have a kind of healthy contempt for this kind of film. Even the genre. I tried to bring with it a kind of jaundiced eye about formula that we’ve gotten really in the habit of delivering on, and was trying to deliver a picture that offers some of the same sense of wonder and imagination that these films tend to offer but doing so in a way where it’s less about fetishizing costumes and equipment and CG effects and more about character.
It’s amazing how many people fell in love with Logan considering it’s a bloody and dystopic comic book movie with a bittersweet ending. Logan is currently the seventh highest grossing film in 2017 ($226,277,068) and has an incredible 93% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Logan is also one of few comic book movies to generate legit award season buzz, particularly for Patrick Stewart’s turn as an off-his-rocker Professor X. While the critical praise is nice, producer Hutch Parker won’t be holding his breath waiting for an Oscar nod.
I’m realistic about the kind of movie this is, and I’m hopeful that various people in those positions will see it and recognize it — even though it is an R-rated movie, and even though it has a legacy as part of a comic book franchise. I’d love for people to be able to assess the craft on the performances and the work on their own merits.
The most interesting part of the interview are the details about an upcoming Laura/X-23 spinoff. Hugh Jackman has been dazzling fan’s as Logan, the gruff Canuck with a heart of gold, for nearly two decades and he is far and away the X-Men franchise’s standout character. Somehow, 11-year old Dafne Keen strolled onto Logan’s set as Laura and stole every scene out from under Jackman. There is now a demand for more stories about Laura and rest assured, Fox intends to deliver them to audiences. It also helps that Logan’s ending perfectly sets up the foundation for a film about a new generation of X-Men as well as a Laura solo story.
The notion of a Laura spinoff film has been floating around since production wrapped on Logan this past winter and in the THR interview Mangold states, “We’re just working on a script.” In the months after Logan’s release, Wonder Woman’s massive success has made pitching female-driven superhero stories to studios an easier sell, which bodes well for the upcoming Laura project. Logan found success as an R-rated film and it’s a safe bet the studio would rather their Laura spinoff tone down the violence so it can launch in theaters with a PG-13 rating. When you consider how many new roads Laura’s spinoff movie could take, odds are that her film won’t mirror Logan’s gritty neo-western vibe. Parker stated,
It may not be in the same exact tonality or with the same genre orientations as Logan, but I think part of what has been opened up in this universe to all of us now is, drawing on different genre traditions, there are new pathways to be opened for new characters that populate this universe.
This is an exciting time for comic book movie fans. After nearly 20-years of mainstream exposure, even casual audiences are aware of popular comic book heroes, the genre’s tropes, and its cinematic language. We’ve finally reached the point where studios are okay with filmmakers pushing the genre’s narrative boundaries; Logan, told an X-Men story without most of the X-men, Deadpool is an action comedy, and The New Mutants is planned as a horror trilogy. It’s been a blast watching Mangold, Tim Miller, and Josh Boone breath new life into the genre just at the point when it’s starting to show signs of aging.