(WARNING: The following contains potential — albeit entirely speculative — SPOILERS regarding next year's Wolverine solo movie, Logan. Proceed with whatever level of caution your heightened sense of SPOILER-avoidance suggests to you is wise.)
Now, X-Men: Days of Future Past may have seemed to act as a final, neat little bow-tying end to the #XMen movies' complex continuity problems, but from the sounds of it, the franchise's time-traveling days may not be over just yet. #Wolverine's upcoming solo movie #Logan, after all, is set in a dystopian, post-apocalyptic future in which the vast majority of his fellow X-Men (and, indeed, mutants) seem to be long gone.
With that in mind, it seems entirely possible that the X-Franchise will, in the near future, have to untangle the chronological issues that such a setting will create. After all, if Logan's future turns out to be immutable, then the cast of Fox's main X-movies likely only have a few more decades to live (Logan is reportedly set in 2024, by which point the X-Men all seem to have died).
As such, it's pretty darned fortunate that...
This Fan Theory Suggests That Logan Will Send Wolverine Back In Time...Again
Yup, that's right. According to intrepid Redditor Animation_Bat, there's a distinct possibility that we could see Wolverine head back in time at some point during the course of Logan. The logic behind such an outlandish (and gloriously comic book-y) theory? As Animation_Bat puts it:
I think that Logan will find another way to travel to the past, but this time he’ll physically go to 1983 with X-23. He’ll then go to the Xavier School and explain to Professor X that what they did in 1973 just created different problems. X-23 knew the old Xavier from 2024, so she agrees to stay at the school with James McAvoy’s young Xavier. Logan then kills 1983’s Nathaniel Essex [the film's apparent Big Bad and destroys the data his corporation has about 'Weapon X.' Logan then dies, and this is how the story of Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine ends.
Which, to be honest, would actually be a far more appropriate — or, at least, plot-hole-resolving — end to Hugh Jackman's time in the franchise than pretty much any other ending the movie could opt for. After all, as Animation_Bat notes, it would finally open the future of the franchise up to the fickle winds of possibility:
If the past isn’t changed again it would cause a problem for the film franchise moving forward. While watching 'X-Men: Apocalypse,' we know that all the characters are safe until 2023. Now going into the sequel, we’ll know that all of the characters are safe until 2023 AND that they’ll all die by 2024. If Logan changes the past, the future is unknown. His death would also give a definitive end for Hugh Jackman’s version of Wolverine, since the next version would be an alternate timeline version without any memory of the past films.
Now, of course, that presupposes that the ending of X-Men: Days of Future Past was indeed set in 2023 and that Logan is indeed set in 2024 within the same timeline, two facts that cannot seemingly both be true, considering how much older Wolverine and Professor X are in Logan than they were in the final moments of Days of Future Past. Even so, though, the essential logic is a solid one: If Logan doesn't end with the past being altered in some way, there's really no reason to make any more X-Men movies, since their characters future will already have been pre-determined to be absolutely terrible.
Could Logan then end with X-23 — and, perhaps, Wolverine himself — going back into the past to change how things turned out? Absolutely. Could it also end in an entirely different fashion, perhaps revealing itself to be an alternate timeline, or some sort of insane dream sequence? Of course. In the meantime, though, it's certainly tempting to daydream about the potential consequences of Animation_Bat's theory, not least the fact that it would allow X-23 to grow up alongside the X-Men, and to keep the Wolverine name alive in the X-Men movies (much as her comic book counterpart has in recent years).
We'll likely have a bit of a wait to see if the theory is indeed onto something, though — Logan isn't set for release until March 2017. Until then, though: Nicely played, Animation_Bat. Nicely played indeed...
Still want more on Logan, though? Never fear, we've got you covered right here.
In the meantime, what do you think? Will Logan's X-23 wind up back in the past, and take over the role of Wolverine? Let us know below!