Why Is It Wolverine Who Time Travels in ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’?

Published 1 year ago by , Updated February 16th, 2014 at 9:25 am,

Hugh Jackman Time Travel X Men Days of Future Past Wolverine Why Is It Wolverine Who Time Travels in X Men: Days of Future Past?

The sequel to X-Men: First Class, a film that was initially going to be helmed by Matthew Vaughn before having to hand over the director’s chair to Bryan Singer due to scheduling conflicts, was always going to focus on young Charles Xavier. And like its predecessor, be another period piece, but this time set in the ’70s.

The first time around, the situation was reversed and Singer was initially tapped to direct the prequel before handing over the reins to Vaughn. Now, the pair alongside writers Simon Kinberg and Jane Goldman, have devised a way to not only deliver a sequel to First Class that meets the studio’s desire to include Ian McKellan and Patrick Stewart in some capacity, but to circle around to the original X-Men trilogy with a story involving everyone we’ve met in the franchise so far, while still introducing new faces.

When brainstorming the story for First Class 2, Kinberg pitched to Vaughn an idea based on the ’80s X-Men comics mini-series Days of Future Past, a plot that involves Kitty Pryde having to go back in time from a post-apocalyptic future to prevent a political event from occurring in the past which set the world against mutantkind and gave rise to devastating mutant-hunting killer robots known as the Sentinels.

In the film adaptation – at least, according to Uncanny X-Men comics writer Chris Claremeont – the core story remains intact and faithful to the source material but we know there’s at least one major difference. In the movie, Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine is the mutant that travels back in time instead of Ellen Page’s Kitty Pryde. For some comic readers, this deviation is a point of contention in a series that’s often deviated from the books, for others, more Hugh Jackman the better. As for the creative team’s reasoning, Simon Kinberg explains to Total Film:

“We made the decision for a lot of reasons, some of them obvious and some of them more nuanced, to make it Wolverine who goes back in time. One reason is that he’s the protagonist of the franchise, and probably the most beloved character to a mass audience. Probably the bigger reason is that when we started thinking about the logistical realities of Kitty’s consciousness being sent back in time, to her younger self, as opposed to her physical body being sent back… it was impossible.

Obviously in the book it’s Kitty that’s sent back, but because we cast Ellen Page in X-Men: The Last Stand, you’re talking about an actress who, in the age of Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy, would have been negative 20 years old. So we started thinking again. The first reflex response to that was a character who doesn’t age. Wolverine is the only character who would looks the same in 1973 as he does in the future.”

Keeping Jackman in front of the camera as much as possible is logical for the obvious marketing benefits and like Kinberg says, he has mass appeal outside of X-Men fans. His latest mutant adventure in James Mangold’s The Wolverine – which hits home video tomorrow – proved to be the second most successful X-Men film at the box office thanks to the boost from 3D ticket prices and a followup is already in the works. Plus, it’s hard to deny the onscreen joy of seeing Jackman share the screen with the likes of James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, and Michael Fassbender.

X Men First Class Hugh Jackman Wolverine Cameo Why Is It Wolverine Who Time Travels in X Men: Days of Future Past?

The time travel rules for the X-Men film universe devised by Singer involve a character’s consciousness being sent back in time, so putting old Logan into the mind of ’70s Logan makes sense by the film logic. The time travel rules, as explained by Singer, mean that changes in the past don’t affect the future, or launch an alternate reality, until the character that alters the past (in this case, Logan) returns to the future.

Depending on how Singer and co. use their time travel plot device as a means to “fix” some continuity errors in the series and potentially relaunch it in a new direction, having Jackman involved in the past and present of the X-Men allows Fox to keep him around for other X-Men related projects in development, namely X-Force – a film that Jeff Wadlow (Kick-Ass 2) is writing – and whatever third installment Kinberg and co. potentially write next as a direct followup to Days of Future Past.

Are you excited at seeing more Hugh Jackman and seeing him in the ’70s and does it make sense to give him more screen time over Ellen Page?


The Wolverine releases hits home video December 3, 2013, X-Men: Days of Future Past on May 23, 2014. Fantastic Four opens June 19, 2015.

Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes for your Marvel movie & TV news!

Source: Total Film (via Scribd)

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  1. I always thought ellen page was forgettable as an actress and I hated that they cast her as kitty pryde. So I am glad they went with wolverine going back, but honestly fox hasn’t done wolverine justice since x2

    • I disagree, in a sense. I had never seen or heard of Ellen Page until X-Men: The Last Stand. I had no problems with her or the way she played the character. That said, there’s a couple movies since then that I either didn’t like or purposely skipped because of her or the way her character was portrayed (for instance, the commercials/previews for Juno made me skip it entirely and I still to this day have no desire to see it). But then again, Inception is one of my all-time favorite movies (Top 3 or 5 for sure) and she’s a major player in it; whether or not she has an effect on my liking the movie is irrelevant, I like it as a whole and she’s not bad in it if I had to critique her performance (meaning, if she wasn’t cast or wasn’t a major player in it as much as she is probably wouldn’t affect my liking the movie. I like it for the concept and execution not the actors or acting).

      So I don’t think negatively about her being in this movie. It’s X-Men and will still be good or at least worth watching.


  2. Wolverine has been forced down our throats in both the comic books and the movies. Contrary to popular belief; he is not everyone’s favorite X-Men. There are as many favorite X-Men as there are fan’s of the X-Men. I personally am tired of The World Of The X-men in both the comics and the movies revolving around one character. Fox and Bryan Singer know absolutely nothing about making ensambled movies or about The X-men Universe. MCU will just have to hope that Disney keeps making good ensambled movies like The Avengers. Hopefully; The GOTG will also be good.

    • kinda annoying how they dissed cyclops leadership role in the movies. i don’t care if wolverine is the most popular, but at least give cyclops the role he deserves. much like any army film, there will always be a commander (even if he is not the main focus of the film).

    • I couldn’t agree more!! For I am one of those that are tired of the over use of Wolverine. There are plenty of other characters in the Marvel roster they could use, in fact why not recast Kitty Pryde and tell the story right?? Not every damn movie has to revolve around Wolverine, I mean the first X-Men trilogy wasn’t called Wolverine and the X-Men, even though it may as well have been.

      • I agree with you guys, moreover I think they’re making an error in judgement. Wolverine is indeed statistically the most popular x-men, BUT, he never got to be this popular BY being the lead character or actual leader. He got to be this popular because of how he functioned within the X-men team and who he was within that (and what made him sometimes travel away from the x-men). Obviously that has led to spin-offs, but when I see wolverine I don’t see a character that’s meant to be the flag bearer of a franchise, even if he is the character that is most beloved. Although he isn’t an anti-hero per se anymore, he does resemble that role within a team of heroes. Since X2 he’s practically been forced to take up the role of cyclops and imo the character just isn’t meant for that. I know he’s changed to a more leading position in the comics, but arguably that only works because the comics have been drenched with the core of the character already. In the films? Not so much. In X-men he was a rookie, and in all other films he became the central focus point. It’s only been X2 where he was able to shine as the core of who Wolverine is within a framework of a comic book story.

        Assuming that the most beloved character is therefore fit to lead a franchise is a grave error and it’s eating this specific character up imo. But DoFP seems to only continue this trend. The only thing that can save the character of Wolverine is if Xavier and Magneto outshine him. It sounds weird, but if Wolverine has a chance to become the underdog again, instead of the main man of the hour, he will regain his old spark that’s true to the character’s core. A new leader has to rise up against which he can rebel within a team setting, which is the role he was it seems to me made for and in which Wolverine excels like almost no other. If that doesn’t happen, and he’s essentially relegated to being a what Cyclops should’ve been, I see this incarnation of Wolverine as a painful dead end that’s going to milked until it dies a death not worthy of how great he was in X1 and 2.

        I wouldn’t call myself a wolverine-buff and anyone can correct me if need be, but so far this is how I see it and I’m bummed out about it. I’m sorry but First Class simply should’ve been an entire reboot with the actual first class characters. X-men could’ve become the top 3 grossing CB franchise with that, but sadly Fox did not have the balls for it and once again we are duped by people who care more about $$$ than anything else.

        • It’s not meant to diss Avengers whatsoever, but as an X-men fan it truly saddens me it’s not them that we think of first (anymore) when we hear ‘comic book hero team movies’.

          Imo X-men still is the greatest superhero team out there, because in the comics their make-up was so well written as an ensemble (changing over time) and it remains painful to me how small and relatively underwhelming their position is in the world of CB movies today, especially being essentially ‘the og’ when it comes to depictions of super hero teams in movies.

          If they were done right, true to the comics, the Avengers would be blown away by the awesomeness of a group of characters that were written for decades to form and be a super hero team right from the start.

  3. Well…. maybe you guys should have casted an older kitty pryde instead of messing up the whole thing by sending wolverine… and by the way wolverine is not the most beloved x men… he sucks.

  4. This is like a resurgence of what-ifs for this on-and-off blockbuster run.
    My best “what-if” spin would still have to be: couldn’t they have presented the entire X-Men franchise in a TV series format instead – a la Smallville and The Tomorrow People? A lot of backstories could be covered in a TV series format. The cartoons (starting back in the 90s) don’t do the entire X-Men franchise any justice and just ends up confusing fans both old and new.

    The faithful translation (at least by 75-90%) from the original source material to screenplay or even as a TV series will be the major hurdle. Hollywood hasn’t had the best track record with some well-known franchises about comic book superheroes. Always rebooting stuff here and there that it’s become a sordid by-word for this decade of film-making. So I hope fans like me will continue to patronize these adaptations and hopefully some creative film-making team gets it right soon.

    P.S. To date, I find Whedon’s “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” slowly turning out like “Firefly.” I hope the characters don’t ‘burn out’ soon and give us another ride for a another season or two. And they also better tell us about this ‘magical place’ soon or I’ll just go off to other places instead of finishing the season. Hehe.

  5. It’s all in the script. Wolverine could still shine while giving other characters their due screen time and presence. At this point he’s been used so much their really is no reason to force him down our throats. He’s established, so the stage can be shared. Im sure there’s a way to get it done. Joss Whedon did it. I know most characters from The Avengers had stand alone movies but Black Widow Hawkeye and Loki didn’t, so all it takes it a good writer and director.

  6. Don’t care for Ellen Page. Never have. And yeah, Kitty isn’t even born yet in regards to the timelines so it makes sense to send Logan back. Bring it on. Nuff said.

  7. Wolverine is the star of the franchise. Like it or not, without Hugh Jackman, XMen would not have made it this far.

    • Exactly right.
      I don’t understand how these fans can’t see that.
      It must be because their favorite character isn’t the focus of the story.
      But like you said, without Hugh Jackman, I doubt we’d have any more films after X2.

  8. as an old x-man fan, the x-men were large without wolverine. and when he came it was not him that made them bigger. It was the group, the team concept, the fights against magneto, alpha-flight, Moses magnam, the sentinels and the imperial guards not to mention the living island. awesome stories. only alpha-flight was wolverine centered. what about the star jammer. You see Hollywood flows with the safe way
    but I believe if they would follow the award winning stories of the x-men
    they might double what they make. the fan base is there. the last wolverine movie sucked. all the x-men movie are barely good. The first class showed some hope. it just that the fans of the x-men love them. we go see them hoping for what made them uncanny but I’m getting tired of wolverine and the x-men movies.

  9. I enjoyed First Class quite a bit, and felt it had a real chance to revive the franchise; I also do like Wolverine, and Jackman as Wolverine… but this movie just looks awful.

  10. I hope Hugh Jackman/Wolverine signs on for four more movies as rumored.

  11. For me this confirms reports a few months back that Jackman signed a four film deal, DOFP, APOCALYPSE, WOLVERINE III and X-FORCE. I know people have a problem with Jackman as Logan but that ship has sailed. At this point i think its safe to say that Jackman will be around for X-FORCE 2 & 3, X-Men films beyond APOCALYPSE, potential crossovers with the FANTASTIC FOUR and probably more Wolverine films beyond the planned trilogy. Hugh is going to be with us for quite awhile.

    • For all the Wolverine haters, just remember, without him there are no X films after 2006. He may not be your particular favorite but to the greater world he is and until proven different none of the other mutants can carry a film and put asses in the theatres.

      • Is 2011 after 2006? Because that’s the year X-Men First Class was released and Wolverine made a cameo for only 15 seconds.

  12. Why can’t they have her body go back in time? That would work. Why does it have to be just the mind? I never understood that “rule.”

  13. to hell with wolverine. He’s the most boring of all the Xmen and he’s not supposed to be the leader. Every movie except First Class has a raging hard on for him and wouldn’t you know it? That’s the only film that didn’t completely suck, only it still loses major points for using B tier characters and further screwing up the continuity of others.

  14. I don’t know why they’re dead set on this 70′s setting. We get to see mutants in bad clothes? Whoopee…..
    The original story had the future Kate Pryde sending her consciousness into the present Kitty’s body. She warns the X-Men of the event that will lead to the mutant genocide.
    But of course, since it’s always about Wolverine, they have to find a way for him to be the big hero. Again. Snooze……. There’s a ton of X-Men, but we never get to know any of them. It doesn’t help that most of them were miscast (ahem…Storm, Angel). It’s kind of a wasted opportunity and the only way we get an accurate version of the X-Men is to have the rights revert to Marvel Studios imo