While almost everyone is familiar with Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) and Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) from the X-Men movie franchise, there are some Marvel Comics characters that are featured heavily in Logan — such as Laura/X-23 and Caliban — that will certainly be new mutants to the previously uninitiated. The third and final Wolverine movie also features significant roles for characters like Donald Pierce and Dr. Zander Rice, not to mention an entire group of young mutant clones who are led by Rictor. As Logan continues to shred ticket sales at the box office, what follows is a run-down of the other Marvel Comics mutants and characters featured in Hugh Jackman’s final X-Men movie.
Note: The following contains some spoilers for the Marvel Studios/20th Century Fox film Legion.
Wolverine and Professor X
Both Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart have gone on record saying that Logan would be their final roles in any of the X-Men movies. Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine has made at least a cameo appearance in every film set in the X-Men Universe, with the exception of Deadpool (although a picture of Hugh Jackman as Wolverine did appear briefly as a joke). Patrick Stewart’s Charles Xavier/Professor X appeared in seven of the nine X-Men films alongside Jackman.
While Laura is just one of many children who were part of a mutant cloning project titled “X-23” in Logan, the character’s history in Marvel Comics is slightly different. After 22 failed attempts to clone Wolverine, the 23rd attempt was successful — thus, “X-23.” Having first appeared in print in 2004, she is currently the protagonist of the All-New Wolverine comic series, where she has assumed the role that “Old Man Logan” can no longer fulfill.
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While the character Caliban has been a part of the X-Men Universe in Marvel Comics since 1981, his involvement with Dr. Zander Rice is unique to Logan. Much like his character in the Wolverine film, he was often used by those with sinister motives to track down mutants they were hunting. The character may be familiar to fans who watched the X-Men cartoons growing up, as he appeared in both X-Men: The Animated Series and X-Men: Evolution. A version of Caliban also showed up in the X-Men: Apocalypse movie as a black market mutant transporter, which allowed the introduction of Psylocke to the film.
Donald Pierce is another character from Marvel Comics long associated with the X-Men but never with X-23 until Logan. First appearing in 1980, his long-running feud with the X-Men brought him face-to-face with Wolverine and Xavier often, so that is nothing new in the movie. He also had a serious run-in with the New Mutants, which was echoed in Logan as he confronted the mutant clones from the X-23 project.
Dr. Zander Rice
The role that Dr. Zander Rice plays in Logan is very similar to the role he plays in Marvel Comics. His character was introduced in 2005, as the doctor behind the X-23 experiment, a genius whose father had been killed by Wolverine (which also happens in X-Men: Apocalypse). When Laura was born, Dr. Rice treated her more like a beast (often calling her “pet” or “animal”) and less like a human, which is also echoed in Logan. While Rice gets shot by Wolverine in Logan, it is X-23 who ends his life within the pages of Marvel Comics.
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While there were a lot of ambiguities and unanswered questions about the X-23 mutant clones in Logan, there was one name and character among them that was clear: Rictor. Having been a part of the X-Men Universe since 1987, the character played a major role in the attempt by Marvel Comics to make their superheroes more diverse. In 2009, Rictor kissed Shatterstar in X-Factor, marking the first same-sex kiss in any major publication from Marvel. Rictor did make one appearance in the X-Men animated series in his X-Force gear on the episode titled “Slave Island.” In the event that a sequel to Logan is produced, it seems highly likely that Rictor and Laura will lead the next generation of X-Men, possibly under the guise of the New Mutants or X-Force.
Young Mutant Clones
Throughout Logan, Laura rattles off a list of names of other children who survived the X-23 experiments. While none of them were given as clear of an identity as Rictor, an article by Movie Pilot makes a strong case for which mutants Dr. Rice was trying to clone. For example, the telekinetic mutant Joey could be a reference to Joseph Bailey, the nephew of Jean Grey. The pyrokinetic could be linked to Pyro or Sunspot from previous X-Men films, or even to the Human Torch of the Fantastic Four, especially if the force-field-generating mutant is a clone of the Invisible Woman. The clone with freeze-breath could easily be a clone of Iceman, the clone with electrical blast capabilities could be the genetic descendant of Bolt, and the physically-mutated child could be related to either Toad or Darwin. The child who appears to be able to control plant-life doesn’t have an obvious correlation, although there is an obscure character from Marvel Comics named Nature Girl who had similar powers.
Logan is now playing in theaters worldwide.
[Featured Image by 20th Century Fox/Marvel Studios]