What happened to the X-23 spin-off at Fox?
While promoting his latest release Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny on the Happy Sad Confused Podcast, Mangold confirmed he originally had plans in 2017 to make a solo X-23 film with Logan star Dafne Keen. At the time, Mangold told The Hollywood Reporter that he was “working on a script” for the spin-off. When asked about the status of the project today, Mangold says it never got to the writing phase.
“I never had a script,” Mangold said. “I started working on a story, but I don’t think of that as a universe. I just loved the character. I thought Dafne [Keen] is such an incredibly dazzling actress. I mean, I thought… you talk about gambles on movies, the amount of weight we put on an 11-year-old girl in that movie.”
Mangold’s interest in expanding Laura/X-23’s story came out of the fan response to Logan thanks in part to then-12-year-old Keen’s solid performance. “I mean, it’s happened. ‘Paper Moon’ with Tatum O’Neal or ‘The Exorcist.’ There’s movies where the child performance just shocks everyone in its depth, but she was so miraculous in that movie and fierce. And I think people responded on so many levels to it, even people with just difficult children recognize Logan’s plight trying to kind of deal with her,” Mangold continued. “But I was really curious about how that would work.”
By the time Mangold started early work on the X-23 film, Disney’s acquisition of Fox was completed in February 2019. In addition to X-23, several planned X-Men universe projects were scrapped entirely, including Channing Tatum’s Gambit and the Deadpool spin-off X-Force. While Mangold said that Disney “had no interest in continuing any semblance of what had been the Fox-Marvel Universe,” Marvel Studios has big plans to give one of Fox’s X-Men superstars an encore in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Logan star Hugh Jackman is set to reprise his role as Wolverine to team up with Ryan Reynolds’ Merc with the Mouth in Deadpool 3. The threequel hits theaters on May 3, 2024.