With ‘X-Men Apocalypse’ looming in the distance, ‘Deadpool’ imminent , and the promise of ‘Gambit’ – as well as one last hurrah for Wolverine - I've been thinking about the X-Men.
I love the X-Men, admittedly most of that love comes from the 1990s cartoon, but I had a few of the comics too! I qualify my affinity for all things X-Men, because I’m about to voice an unpopular opinion – ‘Days of Future Past’ (DOFP) wasn’t all that great.
Don’t get me wrong it was OK, but after the spectacular (and aptly named) ‘First Class’ it fell a little flat; not to mention it had some glaring plot holes.
Despite the amazing premise there were a number of things wrong with DOFP, but chiefly: how was Professor X still alive in the future? How has Magneto got powers even though he lost them in ‘Last Stand’? And how – in a movie about time travel – did this go unexplained!?
So easy to fix and yet no one bothered. (Yeah, I'm familiar with the theory that Professor X transferred his consciousness into another body, but admit it, that story fix is more than a little weak.) In order to reconcile this, I came up with my own version of the X-Men timeline.
The movies in the new trilogy are prequels. I mean, we know they’re prequels, but they’re not setting up a new timeline, rather, they’re the old timeline.
Let me explain. We have timeline one: ‘Origins: Wolverine’, ‘First Class’ and the future world of DOFP. And timeline two; the altered timeline consisting of ‘X-Men’, ‘X2’, ‘The Last Stand’, ‘The Wolverine’ and the upcoming ‘Gambit’ and ‘Deadpool’.
In timeline one – the world before the past was changed in DOFP, we have ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’, and overlapping with that time period we have ‘First Class’. Yes, I do count Wolverine as canon – remember we’re working with different timelines here. We have to assume that in this timeline, a world similar to the one we saw in ‘X-Men’, ‘X2’, and ‘The Last Stand’ existed, but the characters didn’t turn out exactly the same way, and the exact events depicted in those movies didn’t take place. Instead, we have the events that led up to the dystopian future we see in DOFP. This explains how Professor X was still alive in DOFP, and how Magneto still had his powers.
The time-traveling shenanigans of DOFP then ensue, and we have a completely new timeline: timeline two. This timeline lays the foundations for a sentinel-free world where the events of ‘X2’ and ‘Last Stand’ can take place. As we see at the end of DOFP, Wolverine’s involvement in the weapon X programme is different in this timeline. This changes the events of ‘Origins: Wolverine’; which in turn leads to the different versions of Striker and Sabretooth we see in this timeline, and the different version of Deadpool we’ll see in his upcoming movie.
At the end of DOFP we see that Professor X is aware of the alteration in the timeline, which explains how and why he’d create the sentinel simulation we see in the danger room at the beginning of ‘Last Stand’. It could also explain how Taylor Kitsch has become Channing Tatum, as DOFP altered events involving Gambit when it altered ‘Origins: Wolverine’, and this changed him into the character we’ll see in his upcoming movie.
In timeline two, following the events of ‘X-Men’, ‘X2’ and ‘Last Stand’ (but not ‘Origins: Wolverine’ as explained) we have ‘The Wolverine’ – an obvious continuum of the original trilogy as the death of Jean Grey is referenced. The idea that this movie is in a different timeline to ‘Origins: Wolverine’ may explain why in ‘The Wolverine’ Logan fought in the pacific during WW2, whereas in ‘Origins: Wolverine’ he fought in Europe. This also explains how Wolverine had adamantium claws in the DOFP future even though they were broken in ‘The Wolverine’, because ‘The Wolverine’ didn't take place in the DOFP timeline, so they weren't snapped off by a killer old man-robot (or whatever that was supposed to be?).
Yeah I know it’s not a perfect version of events, but it allows all the movies in the franchise to sit alongside each other comfortably (ish). The question is, where does ‘X-Men Apocalypse’ fit in to all this?
Well, it should fit into timeline one; filling in some of the gaps between ‘First Class’ and the future we see in DOFP. Although, that may not work if it references all the time traveling antics of DOFP. Either way, it's not the end of the world. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.