X-Men: Days of Future Past is in theaters and is by and far the best X-Men movie to date. Walking away from the movie, the one thing that sticks with you is the ending. Wolverine waking up to find himself at the Xavier school with Cyclops(!), Jean Grey (!), Storm, Beast, Iceman, Rogue, Kitty and Colossus all in the places they should be sent chills down my spine. It was a feeling I’d never had while watching the X-Men movies. For the first time in the franchise’s history, the Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters felt the way it should feel. What the ending of this film did do is open doors for the X-Men franchise going forward and presented a lot of questions that still need to be answered.
What is Canon? As any X-Men reader will tell you, the franchise has been known for two big things. Retcons and multiple timelines. [X-Men: Days Of Future Past](movie:203942) could actually be subtitled “The Great Retcon”.
Many events over the years no longer apply to the current books. It’s clear that Wolverinex-men-movie-jean-grey-famke-jannsen-cyclops-2000 wakes up in 2023 because he needs Xavier to catch him up on history. The problem with this is that it leaves the original trilogy up in the air. Did any of that happen? There are a few big events with just Wolverine’s history that need to be addressed (a topic on it’s own).
If X2: X-Men United never happened then it’s plausible that the Phoenix Force was never awakened within Jean. Jean and Scott looked happy and as any comic reader will tell you, Jean was NEVER okay after the Phoenix Force entered her life. If the Phoenix Force was never an issue then X3: The Last Stand never happened. Adding to this is the Rogue cameo as she was shown with Iceman holding hands. If they are together then it appears that the events of X3 that led Iceman to Kitty may have never happened. So what movies are canon and which aren’t? Retcons are common within the X-Men comics but are always explained. The movies didn’t do this explicitly so much is left up in the air.
The biggest debate happening right now is over Wolverine’s adamantium skeleton and lack thereof. In the future portion of Days of Future Past, [The Wolverine](movie:34674) has his adamantium skeleton yet it isn’t explained. It’s made even more unclear at the end of the movie when he’s rescued. Wolverine is almost scared to death when he sees the young William Stryker in 1973. He immediately goes to the torture he went through. The debate starts at the end of the film yet again. Mystique masquerading as Stryker is the person who pulls Wolverine out of the water. Does this indicate at all that he never gets mixed up in the Weapon X program? It’s a hypothesis that many fans are arguing over, however, it would drastically change the character and the way he initially joins the X-Men in the movie universe. It would also negate the Wolverine solo movies. But would that be such a bad thing?
Age of Apocalypse:
As we already know the next X-Men movie will focus on one of the most important villains of the X-Men universe, Apocalypse. In the post credits scene, Apocalypse is seen building the pyramids as thousands of onlookers chant his Egyptian name En Sabah Nur. There are a multitude of storylines that can be used with Apocalypse. Most notably is [X-Men: Apocalypse](movie:1194267), which is another alternate timeline story. Age of Apocalypse was a massive story that replaced the Marvel 616 universe for a time. It was a world in which Apocalypse begins a massive war to exterminate all humans and claim the world in the name of mutant kind. This was later retconned as an alternate timeline but does stand as possibly the most famous X-Men story. This, as a move would be a massive task that may be too difficult to pull off. At the very least it would need to be stretched into two movies. Using Apocalypse as the main antagonist does not absolutely equate to doing this saga. Something similar yet smaller scaled can be done.
The Four Horsemen:
Most notable about the post credit scene were the four riders in the distance. Those are clearly the Horsemen of Apocalypse. Based on the Four Horsemen of the Bible (War, Pestilence, Famine, Death) this is a team of loyal, yet brainwashed mutants (usually) who serve Apocalypse. Comic adaptations tend to use lots of different storylines to create one cohesive movie. If the alternate timeline of Age of Apocalypse is not used then it is plausible that he will be found by an excavation team of some kind (in a King Tut kind of way) and awakened and goes on to wreak havoc. There have been MANY mutants who have been used as Horsemen. It would be very easy for the screenwriters to create a group of four mutants from what we’ve seen already without introducing anyone new. Wolverine has been Death before. This could be a way to not only give him back his adamantium skeleton, but also make a movie that could either kill him or force him to be off the team or on his own for a while. Thus giving the filmmakers time to recast Wolverine since Hugh Jackman has hinted towards a retirement from the character. Using mutants already introduced in the films would also add an emotional core. Watching the “good guys” become these absolute monsters in the comics is gut wrenching. It would be a brilliant move on the filmmaker’s part.
Give Us the New Characters & Bring Back the Old Ones: Days of Future Past messed around a bit with Sebastian Shaw’s team of mutants. The group of Angel, Emma Frost, Azrael and Banshee are all dead. When the timeline changes though is is possible to bring them back? When time travel is involved anything is possible. Azrael and Emma Frost are integral to the history of certain characters. Azrael is the father of Nightcrawler (a character already introduced) and Emma Frost is arguably Cyclops’ true love (Jean Grey be damned!). The film also gave us the introduction of MANY fan favorite characters including Quicksilver, Bishop, Blink, Warpath and Sunspot. Apocalypse will be the antagonist for the next film so the X-Men will need all the help they can get. Although it would be perfect for the core X-Men (Cyclops, Jean Grey, Storm, Wolverine, Iceman, Rogue, Kitty Pryde and Colossus) to get the spotlight for now.
What happens to the First Class Franchise?
The biggest question coming off of this great film is whether or not the First Class franchise will continue. Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy have been just as good as Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen in the roles of Charles Xavier and Magneto. It would be a shame to lose out on more of those performances. Hypothetically if the cast from the original trilogy decide not to continue in these roles, different and younger cast members will join the franchise as Cyclops, Jean, Storm etc.. This would mean the movies would take place any where from the 1990′s to early 2000′s. Remember that the Sentinels were never created or used. History changed. Anything could happen during all the time that Wolverine can’t remember. The school before the first movie was around for a long time without Wolverine on the team. The next movie could be focused on a younger Cyclops, Jean and Storm as they fight Apocalypse, filling in the fifty years that changed. James McAvoy is 35 and Michael Fassbender is 37. They are much younger than McKellen and Stewart but can realistically play the roles of the advisers to a younger crop of mutants.
The X-Men franchise had life breathed into it thanks to Days of Future Past. There are so many new roads the franchise can take and all the possibilities are exciting. Fox has proved that with time, money and creative freedom, a great X-Men movie can be made.
Where do you see the X-Men movie franchise going from here? Sound off in the comments.