With a massive $237.8 million worldwide box office take this weekend (with $85 million of that coming in domestically), it's safe to say that many of you saw Logan this weekend. And while this was the film that had comic book fans salivating at the gritty old man realness that was finally bestowed upon Wolverine, there has to be a section of the audience who never heard of Laura Kinney—codename X-23—who in the film was the pint-sized "murder girl" that emulated Wolverine's aggression, claws and all. She's a new face to the X-Men on the silver screen and has only been in the comics since 2004.
At some point, heroes have to interact with smaller versions of themselves, be it a doting sidekick (think Batman and Robin) or their child (Luke Cage and Jessica Jones have had numerous comic book tales centered around the safety of their daughter), but the dynamic between Wolverine and X-23 is different. There's not only an estranged-ness that makes up a huge chunk of their relationship, but their situations are so unique that truly no one could understand Laura quite like Logan would. It was a brilliant choice to introduce her to the X-Men Extended Universe with Logan, especially given that this is said to be Hugh Jackman's last time donning the claws on screen.
Knowing about X-23's comic book background doesn't make Logan any better (or worse), but for those of you Monday Morning Quaterback'ing what could (or should) happen next to X-23 in the X-Men movie series, getting familiar with X-23's history might open some new realms of possibility for the future of one of the most murderous mutants to hit box offices in some time. Let's get to know yung Laura.
She was a cartoon character first
Similar to Harley Quinn, X-23 made her debut in a cartoon as opposed to the pages of a comic book. X-23 made her first appearance in 2003, via the X-Men: Evolutions series on Kids' WB. Creator Craig Kyle called her "Pinnochio for Marvel Comics; she’s a samurai sword trying to become a real little girl." It was a simple choice for a series that aimed at kids; instead of reinventing Wolverine, they turned a teenage girl into his clone.
Her official comic book debut was in 2004's NYX, where she was seen as a mute prostitute who cut herself to deal with the pain of her life. After leaving that life (which included killing her pimp), X-23 was give two six-issue miniseries (2005's X-23: Innocence Lost and 2007's X-23: Target X, which dealt with X-23's origin and the time leading up to her story in NYX). X-23 even became a part of Wolverine's black ops X-Force group (during Craig Kyle's 2008-2010 run), tasked with putting a permanent end to the individuals who would present a deadly threat to the mutant population.
She's since bounced around, getting her own ongoing comic book series, as well as spending time under the tutelage of the Avengers Academy before returning to the X-Men in a whole new light.
She's a clone of Wolverine
One thing that Logan got right was that X-23 was a clone of Wolverine. In Logan, though, their project was more cloning children to be super weapons based on DNA from a multitude of mutants; in the comics, X-23 was the 23rd attempt in a top-secret program set to replicate the Weapon X process that turned Logan into Wolverine. Apparently, the original DNA sample taken from Wolverine is damaged, and after 22 attempts at failing to regenerate the Y chromosome, one doctor, Sarah Kinney, came up with the idea of just duplicating the X chromosome, which ends up being a success. While the suits decided to go forth with Kinney's project, she is forced to become the surrogate mother for X-23, giving birth to Laura, the cloned genetic twin of the man we all know as Wolverine.
She has insane abilities
At the age of seven, the doctors went to work on Laura. Not only was she forcibly exposed to radiation treatments to activate her mutant gene (something which normally happens naturally around puberty, or when the young mutant is exposed to severe trauma), but Laura's claws were removed from her body, coated with adamantium (the same unbreakable metal alloy that was affixed to Wolverine's skeleton during the original Weapon X project). Interestingly enough, instead of the traditional three-claws-on-each-hand like Wolverine was born with, Laura was given two claws in each hand then one claw on each foot. Laura also escaped the facility before adamantium was fused to her skeleton.
Laura's healing factor has been said to be much more powerful than Wolverine's, meaning that not only is she seemingly immortal like Wolverine, but she bounces back from practically any injury at a quicker rate than he did.
More importantly, doctors made her susceptible to a "trigger scent," which sends her into a murderous rage if she's exposed to it; think of this side of her as Wolverine's "berserker" side, but turnt all the way up. She loses all sense of where she is or who she is, and becomes the living weapon that she was made to be.
Laura's also said to contain a high intellect, is fluent in French and Japanese, and knows her way around hand-to-hand combat as well as with weaponry.
She's the new Wolverine
Some time after Marvel killed off Wolverine, Laura went soul-searching. Her time away from the X-Men and anyone who truly knew her made her realize one thing: the best way to honor Wolverine's legacy was to become Wolverine. So, donning his memorable yellow-and-blue uniform, X-23 became the All-New Wolverine in June 2015, after Marvel's massive "Secret Wars" saga. Not only has she slid into his role of the sadistic hero who cares more about saving the day than saving themselves, but she's spent time mentoring younger girls who she sees a similarity in.
X-23's entry into the X-Men cinematic universe interestingly coincides with her grabbing the Wolverine mantle in the comic books, doesn't it? Within a relatively short period of time, she's established herself as a mainstay in the mutant empire, and now that the young Laura has emerged via Logan, we're wondering if she will (somehow) be included in future X-Men films. Hell, James Mangold (who directed both The Wolverine and Logan) has said that he'd love to explore X-23 in future movies. Let's make it happen, X-23; you have all of the ammunition right here.