Logan X-23

Warning: spoilers ahead for Logan. Read ahead at your own risk!

Although Hugh Jackman's Wolverine is, of course, the titular hero of Logan, there's one character who arguably upstages him at every turn. Dafne Keen's X-23 will undoubtedly be remembered as one of the breakout characters of 2017, and much of that stems from her taciturn demeanor for the majority of the film's runtime. Believe it or not, that wasn't always the case, as the original vision for the character initially involved her speaking with Wolverine more frequently in true "buddy movie" fashion. Logan producer Scott Frank opened up about the changes made to X-23 in the final cut of the film, saying:

In previous incarnations of the movie, she was talking all the time from the beginning and it was a little wisecracky relationship. It was sort of more expected, and I thought it would be better to fool the audience, not in terms of whether or not she speaks, but in terms of her level of intelligence. Let's think she's an animal, let's think she was created in a test tube and she is this very feral creature, and then you gradually begin to see how much more aware she is of things. How much smarter she is, what she notices, and she's a lot sharper than anyone, certainly Logan, gives her credit for.

This just goes to show how much a character can change throughout a film's development, and I think it's safe to say that the folks behind Logan made the right call. Much of the strength of X-23 comes from Dafne Keen's non-verbal portrayal of the character. It's an incredibly physical performance, and the lack of dialogue for the first two-thirds of the movie allows her to slowly hint at a deeper intelligence hiding underneath her vicious exterior. By taking the restrained approach, the film allowed itself to take its time and reveal her intelligence and humanity more slowly, and in a way that felt far more natural.

Keeping X-23 silent for the bulk of Logan's runtime also helped the story because it offered one of the most cathartic moments of levity in the entire story. Following the deaths of Charles Xavier and Caliban, Logan finds himself at his lowest point. He's convinced that he's going to be stuck without anyone to talk to -- and then Laura starts speaking a mile a minute in rapid-fire Spanish. It's one of the most unexpected moments in the entire film, and it undercuts the tension beautifully. It's an example of how defying expectations can almost always lead to the best possible outcome.

Let that be a lesson to other X-Men films that may materialize in the next few years (particularly any R-rated films); leave the wise-cracking to Deadpool's Wade Wilson, and let quiet characters be quiet characters. X-23 is framed as the new Wolverine, and Logan's story highlights her similarities to her "father." Logan and his clone share so many physical similarities to one another that it simply makes perfect sense for her to have also inherited his reticent personality.

Logan is currently available on Digital HD and Blu-ray. However, there are still plenty of other awesome superhero movies left to debut on the big screen this year; check out our 2017 movie premiere guide for more information on them.

What do you think of the way X-23 is depicted in Logan?
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