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Anyone who saw the post credit scene in X-Men: Apocalypse would have seen shadowy men taking samples of Wolverine’s blood from the Alkali Lake facility – hinting that this could be a way to introduce the fan-favorite X-23 into the movie series.
Laura Kinney, AKA X-23 is a female clone of Wolverine, created from a corrupted sample of his DNA. As her name suggests she is the 23rd attempt at making a Wolverine clone. She was trained from a young age to be the ultimate assassin – being trained in martial arts – tortured to force the onset of her powers and had to go through the same painful adamantium bonding process as Wolverine. She had been killing since she was 10.
X-23 is like Harley Quinn in the Batman franchise – they are both characters created for a TV series and became so popular that she made it to the comic book pages. X-23 originated for the television show X-Men: Evolution – in the episode “X-23”; the best episode in that series. In the comics she became a teenage runaway who is unsurprisingly a little bit warped. When she escapes she ends up becoming a teenage prostitute in New York and self-harms because of her damaged psyche. She could become a cross between Wolverine, Deadpool and The Crow.
Ideally the actress who plays her should be in her late teens/early 20s who could pass as a character in her mid-teens and like Hugh Jackman grow into the role. So let’s look at some candidates.
Model turned actress Cara Delevingne is already attached to the DCEU, playing Enchantress in the upcoming Suicide Squad movie but she would be a good fit to play X-23. Delevingne does match X-23’s look in the comic-books, particularly her eyebrows.
Delevingne has only had one major acting role so far, playing the ultimate manic pixie dream girl in Paper Towns. Her character was a vile, selfish girl but Delevingne did look stunning in that red dress.
Delevingne is set to appear in more movies this year – she will appear with Alicia Vikander and Dane DeHaan in the period drama Tulip Fever, in the British coming-of-age movie Kids in Love with Will Poulter and the thriller London Fields that features an ensemble cast. Delevingne has described Enchantress as “a feral being” – a character trait that could be transferred to X-23.
Delevingne has also been very frank about her battles with depression – recently on Twitter. Dealing with depression is extremely difficult and her openness is commendable. Considering X-23 struggles to adjust to normal society Delevingne could use her own experience to flesh out X-23’s personal torment.
India Eisley is often seen as a popular choice to play X-23. She is best known for appearing in the ABC Family show The Secret Life of the American Teenager but it is her role in the live-action adaptation of Kite that has made Eisley a candidate. Kite was a sci-fi anime OVA about a teenage girl who sets out to take down a prostitution ring. The movie itself was panned by critics but Eisley was praised for her performance and she clearly can handle the action scenes. Eisley also played Eve in Underworld: Awakening, Selene’s hybrid daughter. As Eve, Eisley was a test subject who only lived in a lab for the first 12 years of her life and was both vulnerable because of her sheltered upbringing, yet had the potential to be the most powerful being in the Underworld universe.
Eisley is 22 but looks a lot younger. She was 18 when playing Eve but the character was a pre-teen. She could play X-23 for a long time if required.
As a child actress Jodelle Ferland gained praise for her roles in Terry Gilliam Tideland, the miniseries Kingdom Hospital and horror movies Silent Hill and Case 39 – although she had the misfortunate to be cast twice in Uwe Boll movies. She also played one of the more interesting characters in the Twilight series, playing Bree Tanner, a young runaway who is forced to become a vampire, a little bit like X-23 who was forced to become an assassin.
At 22 Ferland has the look to play the famous comic book character and considering her roles in horror movies she could play X-23 as a cold and ruthless killing machine who secretly wishes to be more than a tortured assassin.
Despite her sweet and innocent exterior Isabelle Fuhrman is better known for playing dark and twisted characters. She is most famous for playing Esther in the horror-thriller Orphan, playing a seemingly sweet girl looking to be adopted but in actuality she is a twisted serial killer who convinced others to do her bidding. Although Orphan was met with mixed reviews Fuhrman earned a lot of praise as the creepy child.
Fuhrman also played Clove in the first Hunger Games movie, a tribute from District 2 and one of the most deadly contestants in the 74th Hunger Games. Her specialism was throwing knives and she was the closest tribute to killing Katniss before getting a nasty death herself.
X-23 could be the role that pushes Fuhrman to next level.
Chloë Grace Mortez
Since stealing the show in Kick-Ass young actress Chloë Grace Mortez has become a fan favorite and won praise for many of her roles. Mortez was a foul mouthed little bad-ass as Hit-Girl, a young girl who was trained from the age of four to be a killing machine, having great knowledge of weapons and martial arts, just like X-23.
As well as playing the popular Hit-Girl, Mortez has performed other dark roles. She won praise as Abby in Let Me In, a surprisingly good remake of the Swedish movie Let the Right One In. She played a vampire who is trapped in a young girl’s body and grooms young boys to be her servants. Mortez also played a young prostitute in The Equalizer in which Denzel Washington ends up going to war with the Russian Mafia to protect her.
Mortez could combine these previous roles to play X-23, both as the assassin with no childhood and the street kid who had to do anything to survive.
Moretz was linked to play Jean Grey before Sophie Turner got the role.
At 16-year-old French-Canadian actress Sophie Nélisse is the youngest actress to make it on this list. She is best known for her lead role in the World War Two drama The Book Thief playing an illiterate young girl in Nazi Germany who learns to read with her foster father and helps harbor a young Jewish man from the regime. The movie itself received mixed reviews but Nélisse earned a lot of praise for her performance; she is an actress on the rise.
As well as starring in The Book Thief ,Nélisse won the Best Supporting Actress award at the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television Awards for her first movie Monsieur Lazhar, she starred in an adaptation of the children’s novel The Great Gilly Hopkins and the Canadian drama Mean Dreams which was screened in the Directors’ Fortnight section at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival.
Daisy Ridley earned an instant ticket to stardom when she was cast in the role for Star Wars: The Force Awakens and subsequently in the new Star Wars trilogy. Although she is attached to one of the biggest film franchises in history she was the leading candidate to star in a Tomb Raider reboot before Alicia Vikander won the role.
Despite her Star Wars role Ridley would not want to fall into same trap that Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher did and, considering she was linked to a second franchise, it would not be out of the question for her to be cast in another established franchise.
X-23 is a female comic book character with a devoted audience and like Rey, she is a survivor – left to fend for herself in a hostile world. It would be a juicy role considering all the tragedy X-23 has had to endure and as we have seen in Star Wars: The Force Awakens Ridley could handle the action sequences.
Ridley is 24-years-old but she can get away with playing an older teenager.
Irish actress Saoirse Ronan is one of the most talented actresses of her generation -she is only 22 but she has already been nominated for two Oscars. Because of her obvious talent she has been linked to major franchise movies – Joss Wheldon wanted her to play The Scarlett Witch in Avengers: Age of Ultron, Peter Jackson planned to give her a role in The Hobbit trilogy and she has even been considered to play Jean Grey in X-Men: Apocalypse.
Ronan’s has shown she can play a ruthless teenage assassin with conflicted emotions and loyalties in the cult action-thriller Hanna. Hanna Heller was a 16-year-old girl who was genetically altered to be stronger, faster and less emotional and was meant to be the first of a new breed of super soldiers. She was trained by her CIA father in the Arctic Circle – raised to kill the CIA handler who wanted her dead.
X-23 would be one of the darkest and more interest characters in comic books and could appeal to an actress like Ronan.
Since her breakout role in The Coen Brothers’ remake of True Grit, Hailee Steinfeld has become a highly regarded actress. She was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award for her performance, despite being the lead character in the movie.
She has not quite matched those heights since True Grit but she has still earned praise for her roles in movies like Ender’s Game, Begin Again, The Keeping Room and even in the McG directed 3 Days to Kill. Steinfeld also played a teenage assassin in the action-comedy in Barely Lethal – playing a girl who was trained from a young age but lacked the killer instinct and when given a chance, she tries to live a normal teenage life.
Steinfeld could easily handle the dramatic and darker aspects of the character and she has already been linked to the X-Men series – she was on the shortlist of actresses to play Jean Grey.
The X-Men movies have a liking for casting Game of Thrones actors. Peter Dinklage has played Bolivar Trask – the creator of the sentinels in X-Men: Days of Future Past and Sophie Turner played the teenage version of Jean Grey. The movie series could make it a hat-trick by casting Arya Stark as X-23.
Maisie Williams is already linked to the X-Men series – it is rumored she could play Rahne Sinclair – better known as Wolfsbane in X-Men: The New Mutants. Wolfsbane is a Scottish mutant with the power to turn into a humanoid wolf and full wolf creatures at will. But Williams would be a better choice to play X-23.
On Game of Thrones as Arya Stark, Williams has gone from playing a tomboyish young girl to a vengeance seeking young woman who becomes colder and crueller making a death list of all the people who wronged her and her family. She has slowly been building up a quite a body count, trains to be an assassin and left Sandor Clegane to die in the mountains.
Williams also gave an impressive performance as Ashildr/Me in Doctor Who, a young woman whom the Doctor saved, but ends up being cursed with immortality – seeing all her loved ones die including her children during the Black Death. Williams could bring these emotions to playing X-23.
Williams has also been linked to play Ellie in a film adaptation of The Last of Us.