(WARNING: This article wades through HEAVY spoiler territory concerning Logan, X-Men: Days Of Future Past, and basically every X-Men film for that measure — you've been warned.)
It would be an understatement to say that the X-Men timeline is a mess. However, it seemed that Fox was steering it back onto track with a very deliberate ending to 2014's X-Men: Days Of Future Past, which essentially wiped clean the already exhaustive 14 year #XMen film anthology. X-Men: Apocalypse, released in 2016 seemed to adhere to this new timeline, with #Logan set to follow suit. For reference, here's what director James Mangold had to say concerning this, in a interview with Collider from October 2016:
“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?”
This explanation made sense (to me at least) all up until the film's release in the UK, where I went to watch Mangold's interpretation. Somewhat off-topic, I thought that the film was excellent. Upon exiting the film however, I was reminded of Mangold's statement, which didn't seem to match up with what I had taken note of in the film itself.
Logan is laden with multiple references to X-Men's 17-year cinematic past, which confused me, as technically these events hadn't even occurred within the current X-Men continuity — at least according to director Mangold's statement.
- Early on in Logan, Logan himself references X-Men's (2000) climatic Statue Of Liberty battle, stating that that was "a long time ago." Strange, as Days Of Future Past seemingly wiped this event from existence.
- Logan's original 2000 origin is also brought up by Xavier, who tells Logan that he was "a cage fighter" when he first found him. As I have mentioned however, X-Men (2000) has been disregarded as non-canonical. How do both Logan and Xavier remember these events?
- This one is, admittedly, a stretch: In Logan's hideout, near the beginning of the film, a Katana can be seen in Logan's bedroom, perhaps a reference to his adventures in Japan during 2013's The Wolverine, which again, is a film that has now been rendered non-canonical.
- The inclusion of Caliban, played by Stephen Merchant, is again unusual. Not only does the character of Caliban already exist within the new X-Men timeline, (in X-Men: Apocalypse), he is played by a different actor. In Apocalypse, he is played by Tomas Lemarquis, who sports an appropriate accent for his actor. However, Caliban in 'Logan' sports a completely different accent, and if this is even the same character, then how come he has barely aged in 50 or so years?
- While again, this isn't the best evidence for Logan's timeline inconsistencies, Chris Bradley's DNA is used for the next generation of mutants. Chris Bradley last featured in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, played by Dominic Monaghan. While the movie no longer exists within the timeline, some version of Bradley still existed. However, if Logan still counts X-Men (2000) as canon, then who's to say that it counts Origins as canon as well?
What Does This Mean For The X-Men Canon — A Theory
(Note: This next section of the article is where those heavy spoilers start to kick in.)
At the end of Logan, a weary Wolverine succumbs to his wounds following a fatal impaling, by the hands of X-24, his clone. X-23, his surrogate daughter, buries him and film ends.
With Hugh Jackman emphasizing time and time again that he will not be returning to the role of #Wolverine, it seems that this is truly the end of the titular character's appearance in the X-Men/Fox cinematic universe.
This in mind, I believe that Logan reveals even more about the current X-Men timeline. Essentially, my theory is that the events of the first two X-Men are canon, since they are both referenced in Logan. However, the events of X-Men: The Last Stand did not occur, since both Jean Grey and Cyclops (Scott Summers) are alive in a post The Last Stand / X2 future, which we were shown in X:Men: Days Of Future Past.
Perhaps I should be more specific — while I do not believe the films themselves to be canon (which they technically aren't anymore) a version of the events that we were shown in the two films did happen. This means that yes, the Statue Of Liberty showdown did happen after all — just not the version that we saw. To add credence to this theory, bear in mind this quote from X-Men universe screenwriter Simon Kinberg, who states that:
“The idea is that we’ve sort of reset the timeline after 'Days of Future Past' in some ways, and if not erased, certainly allowed for change from [the original 'X-Men' movie], 2, 3, everything from 'Days of Future Past' forward. Everything we set now becomes canon.”
Kinberg's choice of words here is interesting, as he calls the Days Of Future Past's change to the existing canon a "reset," and states that the events of X-Men, X-2 and X-Men: The Last Stand have simply been changed, rather than "erased." To me, this is enough confirmation for my own head-canon. Hopefully though, we will get official confirmation on this, so that we don't have to speculate further.
What do you think? Is Logan canon? Does it matter? Sound-off in the comments below!
'Logan': Canon or not?