Disney's Fox Deal Killed 1 X-Men Spin-off Movie, Confirms Director

By Sam Hargrave Posted:
X-Men Marvel Disney

Logan's James Mangold was developing a new X-Men spin-off movie until Disney's merger with 20th Century Fox killed the project.

Following the financial and critical success of Logan, director James Mangold revealed shortly after its release - via The Hollywood Reporter - that he was "working on a script" for a spin-off with Dafne Keen's Laura, aka X-23.

But alas, Wolverine actor Hugh Jackman shut down any hopes of being involved, even denying the potential of being a producer on the Logan sequel:

“No, I won’t be a producer on a Laura sequel. But I will be lining up on the Thursday night at 10 p.m. to watch it though. She is just phenomenal.”

Disney Canceled Logan's X-Men Spin-Off Movie

X-23 in Logan poster

Logan director James Mangold recently joined MTV's Josh Horowitz on the Happy Sad Confused podcast to promote his latest movie, Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny, but ended up spilling some details about a canceled Marvel project.

Asked about his Logan spin-off for Dafne Keen's X-23, Mangold explained he "never had a script" and he had just "started working on a story" before going on to praise the young actress - who was only 11 years old at the time of filming:

“I never had a script. 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."

The director added how "people responded on so many levels" to Keen's X-23 performance, adding how he was "really curious" to explore more:

"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 the 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. But I was really curious about how that would work. But it happened at exactly the moment Disney bought Fox.”

Directly asked whether the Logan sequel was a casualty of the Disney-Fox merger, Mangold confirmed that was the case, noting how there was "no interest in continuing" any elements of the X-Men world, at least until recently:

“Yeah and then interestingly, at that point, there was no interest in continuing any semblance of what had been the Fox-Marvel Universe. But, my, how things change. And suddenly…”

After Horowitz pointed out that "mutants are hot again," Mangold replied with a simple "yeah" - referring to the renewed interest in developing X-Men-related projects as Deadpool 3 nears and Marvel Studios sets course to reboot them.

The work on Logan's X-23 spin-off had started at an unknown point before October 2017, seven months after the R-rated movie's March 2017 release but also just two months before Disney's Fox acquisition was announced in December 2017.

Mangold revisited the matter of the Logan follow-up with Yahoo in November 2019, eight months after the acquisition had finally closed in March, revealing the project was unlikely to be on the table anymore with Marvel Studios more interested in "trying to figure out where they're going in the future:"

“With Hugh [Jackman] moving on, I think they’re going to be more interested in trying to figure out where they’re going in the future with these characters in general, and with Wolverine in specific.”

The Logan spin-off wasn't the only victim of Disney's Fox takeover, with the deal also killing an X-Men and Fantastic Four crossover, Channing Tatum's Gambit, Deadpool's X-Force spin-off, a Doctor Doom solo outing, more X-Men and New Mutants sequels, and plenty more reported projects. 

Insider DanielRPK reported in January 2019, before the acquisition had even officially closed, that the nearing deal meant multiple projects had been killed, with New Mutants and X-Men: Dark Phoenix being the last movies from the world.

When specifically asked about whether Dafne Keen's Logan spin-off was also dead as a result, DanielRPK simply answered "Yes."

Will Dafne Keen's X-23 Ever Return?

Dafne Keen's career has only continued to thrive since she was first truly discovered by audiences with her breakout performance in Logan. The actress led HBO and BBC's three-season adaptation of His Dark Materials and will even join the Star Wars galaxy next year with the High Republic-set Disney+ series The Acolyte.

Ever since she became a crowd favorite with Logan, fans, along with the actress herself, have been clamoring to see more of Dafne Keen's Marvel character. Some have even been calling for her X-23 to serve as the main Wolverine in the MCU's X-Men reboot as opposed to recasting Hugh Jackman's beloved Logan.

Whether Keen will ever come back as Laura/X-23 remains to be seen, but perhaps she may find a place in Deadpool 3 - which she has expressed an interest in joining - as it brings back Jackman's Wolverine, reportedly along with other members of the Fox X-Men universe.

As of now, there have been no signs of the 18-year-old actress making her Marvel comeback anytime soon, but her schedule appears wide open following the production wrap on The Acolyte, so anything is possible.

Logan is streaming now on Disney+.

- About The Author: Sam Hargrave
Sam Hargrave is the Associate Editor at The Direct. He joined the team as a gaming writer in 2020 before later expanding into writing for all areas of The Direct and taking on further responsibilities such as editorial tasks and image creation.