The first teaser trailer for Logan was released on October 20, 2016, announcing the film as a very different kind of comic book movie than what we expect from a major studio. The second and final trailer highlighted Dafne Keen in action as X-23. Now, the film is set to hit theaters on March 3.
Although Hugh Jackman once again plays Wolverine and Patrick Stewart is back as Professor Charles Xavier, James Mangold’s second Wolverine film promises to be unlike anything we’ve seen before. Logan also introduced X-23, a female clone of Wolverine who first appeared in the comics in 2004. She was played by the young Keen and this was her first big movie role.
A new Instagram photo proved that Keen is playing Laura, or X-23, in Logan.
Here’s a look at Keen, the character and the film she’s starring in.
1. Keen Was Just 11 Years Old When She Filmed ‘Logan’
Keen was only 11 years old during the production of Logan, but director James Mangold told Digital Spy that he knew she was remarkable.
“Dafne Keen was 11 years old when we were shooting. She’s a remarkable kid. Her parents are actors, and she’s kind of a very modern kid. Very physically capable. Incredibly gifted as an actress. I mean, it was a huge risk for Fox to allow me to make a movie where the third point of the triangle was built upon someone so young,” Mangold explained.
“She’s an 11-year-old girl equipped with all the volatility, instability, mood swings, shadows and potential violence of our hero,” he told Digital Spy.
He added that he wanted thee generations represented in Logan and wanted the child star to be a real child between the ages of 10 and 12. He also wanted a Latina to play the role.
Sienna Novikov, who is a gymnast when she’s not acting and trains at Planet Gymnastics in Mobile, Alabama, was originally reported to have had the role of X-23. However, it was later confirmed by the Wall Street Journal that the young girl is really another new actress, Dafne Keen.
In 2013, Nobikov won silver in a regional beam championship and won gold in a 2014 regional bar championship. She’s been attending meets since 2009.
It was believed that she had the role until a leaked copy of the trailer confirmed that Keen won the part. On-set photos also revealed that it was not Nobikov as X-23.
2. Keen Starred in the BBC Worldwide Series ‘The Refugees’
Keen‘s only other credited role is as Ana in The Refugees. The series only ran eight episodes and was produced in Spain and the U.K. It ran in 2015 and is about a community dealing with a growing number of refugees who come from the future and seek a safe place to live in the present.
According to her representation, she is also fluent in Spanish.
3. X-23 Was Created by Craig Kyle & First Appeared in the Animated Series ‘X-Men: Evolution’
X-23, also known as Laura Kinney, was introduced in the comics in 2004 in the series NYX. However, the character was seen before that on television in X-Men: Evolution and created by Craig Kyle.
In an interview with If Magazine in 2007, Kyle explained that X-23 was introduced on Evolution to get more younger kids interested in the show. He explained:
When we were doing Evolution, again, that’s an example to make sure we didn’t lose the young audience. And at the time, they were trying to find a way to push Wolverine and get him to connect more to the younger kids.
“She’s Pinocchio for Marvel Comics, she’s a samurai sword trying to become a real little girl and can she?” Kyle added. “And it’s that journey that will hopefully take decades to tell. I’m real proud of her.”
4. X-23 Is a Clone of Wolverine, but a Woman Because the Y Chromosome Wasn’t Salvageable From a Weapon X Sample
X-23’s story began when a top-secret program tried to recreate Weapon X (Wolverine), but couldn’t find anyone who could survive the bonding of Adamantium to the skeleton. So, it was decided to create a clone of Weapon X.
However, the only genetic sample was damaged and they couldn’t salvage the Y chromosome, which is why X-23 is a woman. Dr. Zander Rice, who will be played by Richard E. Grant in Logan, didn’t want a female Weapon X clone created, but Dr. Sarah Kinney did it anyway. Rice made Kinney act as a mother for X-23.
X-23 was trained to be a weapon, but Kinney tried to preserve some childlike qualities in the clone. Eventually, she escaped her handlers and has worked with countless other Marvel characters. Since November 2016, the character has been Wolverine and the star of the series All-New Wolverine.
5. Keen’s First Big Movie Will be Rated R, Fulfilling Hugh Jacman’s Dream of an R-Rated Wolverine Movie
Not too many of her friends will get to see Logan without parental supervision. That’s because Keen’s first big role will be in an R-rated film.
For years, Hugh Jackman has wanted a solo Wolverine movie to get an R-rating. He said it in 2011 about The Wolverine, which came out in 2013 as a PG-13 movie. (An unrated version was included on the home video release.) As The Hollywood Reporter noted, Jackman even teased Logan (before that was the title) as a more extreme film at Comic-Con by showing an image of Wolverine flipping the middle-claw.
Insiders told THR in February 2016 that Logan was written as an R-rated film, even before Deadpool became a smash hit. Producer Simon Kinberg alos confirmed to Collider that Logan will be rated R.
“I’m not sure what I’m allowed to say about that. I will agree with you that Patrick Stewart was rumored to be a part of that film,” Kinberg said in May 2016. “It takes place in the future, and as you and others have reported, it is an R-rated movie. It’s violent, it’s kind of like a western in its tone. It’s just a very cool, different film.”