Laura Kinney was the product of Weapon X’s 22 failed genetic experiments that attempted to recreate a being with Logan “Wolverine” Howlett’s death-defying genetic mutation. She was effectively a manufactured result of the government operation’s intention of introducing mutated genes into non-mutant humans. Kinney was born to her surrogate mother Sarah, who contributed her own DNA in order for Laura to exist. Upon succession of the experiment, Laura was viewed more as a weapon than a human being as she was sent on a globe-trotting mission as an assassin, following Dr. Zander Rice’s orders. He was the one responsible for exposing a “trigger scent” to Laura out of fear that humanity would “soften” her. The scent causes a neurological reaction, coercing Laura to brutally attack any that stands in her way. She was then auctioned off as an assassin for hire and would carry out the assignments designated by those who were willing to bid the highest for her deeds. After she escaped the facility, Kinney was determined to hunt down her biological father with the intention of ultimately killing him. However, she was greeted by Logan with the offer of rehabilitation and agreed to join the Xavier Institute. She later adopted the moniker of the Wolverine as her own as a symbolic means of honoring her father’s legacy.
Laura was introduced to the live-action X-Men universe film Logan, which was the saga’s tenth entry into the ongoing series and the conclusive chapter in Hugh Jackman’s three-picture solo saga as the Wolverine. Following loose groundwork laid out by Mark Millar in his graphic novel, Old Man Logan, a world-weary and grizzled Wolverine guards over an ailing Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) while protecting Laura from the dangers of the world around her. Logan earned the praise of being one of the best comic book movies made. Dafne Keen was first featured as the ruthless X-23, and though she was nearly-speechless, her presence was unforgettably haunting. Keen’s grounded, emotionally devastated, and intense breakout performance brought the young mutant to life through a strikingly brutal first impression that was too short-lived to be abandoned completely. The Walt Disney Company acquired the licensing rights to the X-Men after absorbing 20th Century Fox into its endless and infinite hoard of properties. This grand merge would grant Marvel Studios the ability to incorporate the X-Men into the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe properly. The comic book movie giant announced that they would approach new projects pertaining to the X-Men, which sparked fan-casting conversations throughout the internet. Many were eager to cast their votes for actors to play Wolverine. That being said, instead of introducing another Logan as Wolverine, we believe it should be Laura Kinney. Here’s why.
The significant absence of women-led superhero films can be supplemented by Laura Kinney as she assumes the role of Wolverine in the MCU. There is an adjustment to a new era. If the Marvel Cinematic Universe decides to honor the inclusion of women-led films in the foreground of their upcoming series of projects, then it will rightfully allow Laura to helm a movie instead of simply dissipating into the background. Jackman’s Wolverine was a necessary force that bound the X-Men together throughout the 20th Century FOXMen Universe. Laura could do the same as the Wolverine and much like her father’s stronghold over the franchise, she could become just as prominent a figure in the MCU. The studio, after all, has been chastised for its lack of women-led features before and have just recently started to prioritize women in their storytelling. Much of Laura’s story has yet to be told beyond the final moments of Logan, which can be viewed as a suitable jumping-off point that will launch her into her destiny.
By positioning Laura as the Wolverine of the MCU, Marvel Studios makes room for new forms of women-led storytelling that are original. Women have been present in Marvel films, but there is still an ongoing battle between the page-to-screen representation of these characters. With Laura stepping into the MCU, she could continue to mend the issue around the low volume of women-led projects by inserting herself into new media. This would supplement the obvious shortcoming of women-led X-Men films and thoughtfully elaborate on the importance of women in comic book media. Laura’s history in the comics is vast and rich with unique exposition that keeps her story from falling flat. Marvel Studios is now beginning to feature women dealing with identity crises and moral conflict, and writing Laura into the MCU assists in them diversifying their thematic tones. Jackman’s iconic run as Wolverine granted him a full story following his character; a version starring Laura Kinney deserves its turn in the spotlight.
The current phase of the MCU is making its departure from its original core characters and unearthing stories pertaining to new heroes, villains, and those who lie in the in-between. Laura would uphold the mantle of Wolverine while adhering to Marvel Studios’ plans to usher in a new generation of central characters. This would honor the X-Men’s cinematic past while making a rejuvenated leap into the mutant team for the new age. Marvel Studios has yet to fully explore the concepts of a “coming-of-age” film as it turns a transitionary corner in its themes. This wouldn’t be the decision that ignites the ripple of new characters assuming age-old roles in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Examples have already been sampled throughout Marvel-branded series on Disney+; Hawkeye and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier have featured two young up-and-coming Avengers who are yet to discover their full potential. The unexplored mass of Phase 5 will continue to tread into the new life that is breathed into the MCU through its contemporary lineup. If Laura is elected as the Wolverine, this will fall in line with Marvel’s latest mission as they tailor their upcoming work to revolve around the universe’s youth, instead of relying on outdated stories to carry the weight of the decades-old cinematic franchise. A new generation of heroes would provide the necessary foundation for Laura to insert herself into the MCU as Wolverine. This would satisfy the objective of finding a new Wolverine for the franchise’s future, all the while subscribing to placing the focus on its newcomers.
The frustrations over the FOXMen franchise were rooted in its disorganization and lack of distinct voice that drove the ten-picture saga forward. The ambitious feat of creating a cinematic universe for such a complicated and unique team was more often confused through studio executives’ creative decisions that carefully danced around explicitly teasing Marvel territory. The harsh boundaries between properties and the unforgiving punishment of legal ramifications severed a deep divide between the two, making it more difficult for them to experience an overlap once the inevitable merger was commenced. Laura joining the MCU as Wolverine could set the tone for a different interpretation of the X-Men’s re-emergence. Her story being carried on and explicitly shared further through live-action assists in welcoming the X-Men into the MCU without fear of redundancy. Laura’s official introduction would stand as a perfect plot point for Marvel Studios to reclaim the X-Men as a whole. The choice to opt for an all-new Wolverine instead of directly competing with the FOXMen era would grant Marvel Studios full advantage of redesigning their X-Men and finding their beginnings through Laura.