James Mangold still wants an X-23 movie, but doubts it will happen soon

Last Updated on July 30, 2021

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Even alongside Oscar-caliber performances from Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart, young Dafne Keen was able to use her adamantium claws to carve out some scene-stealing work as Laura/X-23 in 2017’s comic book masterpiece, LOGAN. In the two years since the movie’s release director James Mangold has expressed a lot of interest in doing a solo movie around her character, but now that the landscape for X-Men on the big screen is completely different than it was two years ago, he doesn’t think he will get the chance to do make the movie anytime soon.


Mangold was at the Mill Valley Film Festival to show his new movie FORD V. FERRARI recently when he was asked by The Playlist if he’s still interested in writing and directing a solo X-23 movie. “Yes! Do I have an interest? Yes,” he said. “Will it happen? At least in the near future, I doubt it.”

In Mangold’s film, mutants are all but extinct, with a broken down, aging Logan (Jackman) doing what he can to care for the ailing Charles Xavier (Stewart). Soon he gets the opportunity to smuggle the mysterious Laura to Canada for a large payday, only to learn she’s being hunted by a nefarious biotech company, Alkali-Transigen, who used his own DNA to turn her into the perfect killing machine. The movie ends – spoiler alert – with Logan dying to save Laura and other young subjects of Transigen, thus leaving open a whole new world of opportunity for her.

Buzz around a possible spinoff movie around Keen’s X-23 started soon after LOGAN hit theaters and was met with universal acclaim and opened to big numbers at the box office. Producers Simon Kinberg and Hutch Parker told us back in 2017 that they had started to think about the possibilities of a spinoff with the young star. After making over $600 million at the global box office talks continued, THR reported later that year that Mangold was working on a treatment for the spinoff with the creator of Laura for the X-Men series, Craig Kyle (via IndieWire).


However, a lot has changed when it comes to X-Men movies since then. 20th Century Fox, the studio that owns the movie and TV rights for the mutant heroes and villains, has since been bought out by Disney, who has yet to solidify plans for more movies. As for the movies themselves, LOGAN and the DEADPOOL movies may have been huge hits for 20th Century Fox, but entires like NEW MUTANTS and DARK PHOENIX have not fared as well. The former has gone through hefty reshoots and still has yet to see the light of day, while the latter was released to the worst reviews of the series and stands as one of the biggest bombs of the year, making $65 million at the domestic box office and $250 million worldwide.

Mangold is right to doubt that an X-23 movie is likely to happen at all in the near future. Not only does Disney need to think about rebooting the X-Men and including them into the MCU, but they also need to explore an approach for releasing R-rated fare like DEADPOOL, which is important if Mangold wants to keep his X-23 movie in the same style and tone as LOGAN. However, the bright side is Mangold is passionate about the project and will probably stick with it if given the chance, and Keen herself is still young and is growing her career (next seen in HBO's HIS DARK MATERIALS). You could pick up her story 10 years from now and there would still be plenty of material to work with — so maybe waiting isn't the worst thing. 

FORD V. FERRARI is in theaters on November 15. 

Source: The Playlist

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