Where does the new Wolverine movie fall into the X-Men timeline? We know it takes place in the future. But just how far into the future? And what exactly has taken place before it? Exactly which Wolverine are we getting? Director James Mangold has our answer, but when you lay it all out on the table, does it really make sense?
The X-Men movie universe timeline is all over the map, and for some fans it's quite frustration to even think about. The first three X-Men movies and the first two Wolverine movies all take place in the same timeline, but then 2014's X-Men: Days of Future Past arrived to change the mutant landscape as these characters know it. Meaning everything that happened in those early films has been wiped clean. Or has it?
No one is quite sure where Deadpool falls in all of this, though it's apparent that 2009's X-Men Origins: Wolverine never took place in terms of the newer Wade Wilson storyline. Now, fans are starting to wonder just where next year's Logan hits. Does what we saw happen to the indestructible mutant in Origins simply not matter anymore?
Even before Days of Future Past, 20th Century Fox and the filmmakers were playing fast and loose with the continuity. In an X-Men 3: The Last Stand flashback we saw that Patrick Stewart's Professor X could still walk. But then in First Class, we see James McAvoy's Charles Xavier losing the use of his lower limbs twenty years before that flashback ever happened. Days of Future Past was meant to fix some of these glaring issues, but it also opened up a couple of new plot holes.
Wolverine 3 is giving us Old Man Logan literally, but the storyline is not entirely based on that old Marvel comic book arc. It is taking great liberties, mixing and matching other elements from a lot of different pieces of source material, which also incorporates the Reavers and X-23. Watching the Logan trailer released this past week, it was difficult to pinpoint exactly where this movie was taking place. About that, director James Mangold explains this to Empire.
"We are in the future, we have passed the point of the epilogue of Days Of Future Past. We're finding all these characters in circumstances that are a little more real. The questions of aging, of loneliness, of where I belong. Am I still useful to the world? I saw it as an opportunity. We've seen these characters in action, saving the universe. But what happens when you're in retirement and that career is over? The really interesting thing to me, or a place to dig that hadn't been dug, was the idea of mutants when they're no longer useful to the world, or even sure if they can do what they used to do. Their powers are diminished like all of ours are by age."
In Days of Future Past, we got to see a content Wolverine waking in a not too distant future where Xavier's school for the gifted was thriving. Jean Grey and Cyclops were still alive, and it looked like a happy ending for all involved. Now, in Logan, we are a couple of decades removed from this era, and things have taken a turn for the worse. Mutant-kind has fallen, experiencing its own kind of Apocalypse. And Wolverine appears to be one of the lone survivors in this world that no longer needs those with special abilities.
It's clear from the two trailers that were released this past week that Wolverine 3 is a very different kind of X-Men movie. It certainly seems more grown up and serious. Aside from Patrick Stewart reprising his role as Professor X, it's unclear if any other references will be made to the previous 9 X-Men movies that have been released. It could continue to disregard continuity and live and thrive as its own thing. The movie arrives in theaters March 3, 2017 to kick off the spring moviegoing season.