Wolverine is one of the most popular comic characters of all time. Given the character’s long life, it is no surprise that there are more than a few successors to the Wolverine mantle kicking around in Marvel Comics. And with the recent announcement that Hugh Jackman will be returning to the role once again in Deadpool 3, now is as good a time as any to look at the most prominent of Wolverine’s “children” that could be adapted into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Right off the bat, there are quite a few “mini-Logans” running around in the comics. So many that one was able to round up an entire team of Wolverine offspring called “The Mongrels.” The MCU shouldn’t bother with every single clone, but they should focus on a few. However, 3 of Wolverine’s kids from the comics are primed to make an appearance in the MCU. Starting with…
Laura Kinney, aka X-23/Wolverine
Laura is a weapon, but she does not have to be. She’s basically a second shot at Wolverine. On the comics side, a group known as “The Facility” wanted to recreate Weapon X by cloning Logan. In the real world, Laura was a shot at giving audiences a younger Wolverine who could be hip and cool with the kids. In her short time as a comic character, Laura Kinney has gone by many names. She has been known as Wolverine, X-23, and even Talon for a while. She actually debuted on X-Men: Evolution (the best show) as a young clone of Wolverine seeking out her progenitor. Laura is the mutant “Pinocchio.” She was created for a single purpose: to be the assassin for The Facility, the ultimate killing machine. But like Pinocchio, she wants to be a real person. So, she cut her strings and found her humanity.
Laura is sad – her short life has been filled with trauma. The Facility broke her spirit and tortured her, all so Laura could be the perfect killer without any physical attachments. So, when she escaped, Laura realized that her childhood was taken from her. In spite of this, Laura is surprisingly well-adjusted; more so than Logan was at her age. Part of this has to do with her loving mother that sort of raised her, but it’s probably largely attributed to her relationship with Logan and the rest of the X-Men. Laura does not have these centuries of trauma that come with Logan, so she’s able to change and grow.
Laura played a part in the X-Force, Avengers Arena, and currently is representing all of Krakoa as a member of the X-Men. And when Logan was killed, Laura took up the mantle as the All-New Wolverine. Laura is also not necessarily one-of-a-kind. She’s the 23rd clone of Wolverine, but there are a few others that popped up out of the woodwork. Four found Laura during the all-new Wolverine storyline. Three were perfect copies, and one was a younger version known as Gabby. But Laura helps the clones like family and is able to be an older sister to Gabby once all the clone business is finished.
But Laura is not without her issues. A big one comes from something known as the “trigger scent.” Obviously, Laura can be violent under the right circumstances. She is, after all, a clone of Logan. But Laura’s creators gave her a physiological reaction to a specific scent. She’s programmed to destroy anything bearing that scent. This was originally perceived as a way to make her more emotionless and more of an assassin, but it has been used by her more sadistic enemies to just mess with Laura; dumping the smell on an entire town or even a friend. It’s a doomsday scenario for Laura. She even killed her mother after her mother was tagged with the scent. This causes Laura extreme emotional pain, although she has gotten over the scent recently. Just like Pinocchio, she’s got no strings on her.
Previously, Dafne Keen played Laura in Logan, and there is so much to like. Most notably, she was angry and psychotic, ripping the Reavers to shreds; that’s very Laura. The biggest liberty they took with Laura was her age as she’s traditionally a bit older. It’s unclear canonically how old, but she’s at least maybe in her late teens. So, Laura played by an actor who was around 10 when they filmed was a bit of a stretch. Her age puts her a little closer to Laura’s sister Gabby. But the spirit and character of Laura were there. She was angry, sad, and wanted a family. There’s a strong case to be made for bringing back Dafne Keen. Audiences loved Keen in Logan. She’s a young star on the rise, is used to physical roles like in Logan (which is incredibly important), and has a real edge. She is able to get angry in that classically Wolverine way. And it would be a fun way to acknowledge that Hugh Jackman did pass the torch to Keen in the movie.
Akihiro, aka Daken
Akihiro is a bad boy. Daken is like Wolverine, but angsty, vengeful, and sexy. Now, there are 2 Akihiro’s that exist in the comics, or more appropriately there’s Daken and Akihiro. Daken is the edgy and evil son-villain, while Akihiro is the superhero. When the character was originally introduced, he was called Daken; it’s a slur in Japanese that translates to “mongrel.” He went by that for a very long time. Only recently has Akihiro caught on as the generally accepted name for the character.
Akihiro is Logan’s son, born from a relationship with a woman named Itsu. Unlike Laura or Gabby, he is not a clone. Itsu was killed and it was assumed that her child also died since it was never born. But the child’s incredible healing factor let it survive outside the womb. The child was taken by Romulus, that archenemy that’s been pulling all of the strings in Wolverine’s life; the architect of all his pain. Unfortunately, for one to understand the character of Akihiro, Romulus, a villain that should not be acknowledged further, must be touched upon. Romulus dropped the baby off with a Japanese family, and that was that. Until his adopted family imploded when Akihiro found out his mom did not love him, and killed their newborn baby and his adopted mother before his adopted father committed suicide. This is what the Akihiro comics were like in the 2000s (SO edgy).
Then Romulus came back. Romulus is some ageless wolf-man who has existed since the dawn of humanity. He is the same Romulus who founded Rome, and he is particularly obsessed with Logan because of the whole wolf thing. Romulus raised Akihiro with the hopes that Akihiro would defeat his father Logan and take Romulus’ place at the top of the food chain (it’s very dumb). But from that point on, Akihiro was the dark Wolverine trained by Romulus and manipulated to believe Wolverine killed his birth mother when it was actually (fun fact) Bucky, the Winter Soldier. But, Akihiro spent the next 50 years training and preparing to meet his father and avenge his mother.
This version of Akihiro is very much a 2000s, edgy, emo version of Wolverine with a mohawk and tattoos, who does bad stuff because he loves to be bad. It really doesn’t work, probably due to the fact that he is very predictable and silly in that way. The more interesting secret Logan-child running around is Laura, and when her story is put next to Akihiro’s, it just makes his look dumb. He’s just doing what she did, but edgier, and constantly being manipulated by villains like Romulus, Mystique, Ms. Sinister, Norman Osborn, and even just some actor named Marcus Ralston. He’s sort of a dummy. Yes, he’s a very clever tactician with lots of plans and schemes, but it takes a while for Akihiro to really feel like his own character, with agency and personality outside of all the Romulus revenge stuff.
Over time, Akihiro worked with Logan and Laura, but it was not until the recent comics on Krakoa that Akihiro became someone unique. He is still Wolverine’s son and still in his shadow, and is still kind of a jerk, but he’s very serious now. He seems to have gotten over himself. A lot of that probably comes from making peace with his father, as well as Krakoa’s calming effect that makes all the villains a little less “villain-y.” However, the biggest difference is that the new Akihiro is like Wolverine, but sexy. Yes, Wolverine is plenty sexy. But, Wolverine is sexier than your average man. Akihiro is sexier than your average superhero. He is superhumanly sexy. Part of Akihiro’s mutant ability allows him to emit pheromones that can control the emotions of others, usually making them feel the way Akihiro does. Akihiro is also bisexual. Originally this was part of his schemes. He used sex as a way to get what he wanted and didn’t see partners as anything but a means to an end (boring). But since then, Akihiro has matured. In X-Factor, he has a flirty relationship with Aurora, and in Marvel’s Voices: Pride, Akihiro also has a fake lifelong relationship with Somnus, the new mutant who can control dreams. So, while Akihiro can be vengeful, that’s not enough in MCU. He also needs a personality. A great avenue for Akihiro could be that he’s just a super sexy mutant; the X-Men Mr. Steal Your Girl.
Gabrielle Kinney, aka Honey Badger/Scout
Gabrielle is a kid – the zoomer Wolverine. Gabby first showed up in All-New Wolverine back in 2016. In that storyline, Laura found out that even though she was the first successful clone of Logan, Laura was not the last. She tracks down a team of several clones, all of which looked exactly like her – except Gabby. Gabby is a younger clone and the younger sister of this group. Once all of the rest of the clone sisters are either liberated or killed, Gabby is the one that stays with Laura and becomes her adopted little sister. Gabby also has a pet – one of only a few X-pets besides Lockheed, Amazing Baby, and Jeff the Land Shark. In All-New X-Men #7, Squirrel Girl brings Laura a wolverine that Gabby adopts and names Jonathan. It’s adorable and it needs to be translated to live action.
Gabby is optimistic, idealistic, and silly. Her powers are similar to Laura’s, with one big difference: Gabby – and all of her sisters – cannot feel pain, which, when coupled with a healing factor, is a huge plus. So, while she has lived a very tough life, Gabby is able to roll with the craziness of the X-Men life pretty well. She’s also sometimes known as “Honey Badger” or “Scout”, and that’s cool. New characters should be given new names. Or if legacy characters are given the original name, that name should not be given back to the original character. If Laura is Wolverine (which is great), Logan should now be Logan, otherwise, it is not a mantle – and it’s a pretty useless call sign.
A case is made for each of three Wolverine children that would be best suited to show up in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Once Marvel Studios establishes their own Logan, perhaps we’ll see all of them.