X-Men: First Class distinguished itself from the preceding trilogy of films (and a Wolverine Origin movie) by redefining a lot of the core character relationships within the X-Men family. The main alteration was the re-positioning of Mystique as the woman between Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr – and subsequently their opposing philosophies on mutantkind’s destiny. It was certainly a departure from X-Men comic book lore (though the characters do share a lot of history), but general opinion was that it also created a compelling character drama that provided a strong core to the film. The plot of Days of Future Past also hinges on the Mystique/Charles/Erik triangle – the only problem is: that little love story has no connection to the Original X-Men Trilogy.
At the beginning of DoFP, Prof. X (Patrick Stewart) recounts to future Wolverine how and when the future went so wrong. His story – Mystique’s assassination of Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage), and her capture resulting in the creation of adaptable Sentinels – is one set within the First Class continuity, which doesn’t make sense at all. The original X-Men films indicated a close relationship between Magneto and Mystique, but the Professor X/Raven connection was never telegraphed at all. How Stewart’s version of Professor X (who supposedly exists in the Original Trilogy continuity) has memory of First Class continuity is a definite problem.
The entire Future Sentinel origin story is an issue, since by all indications of Xavier’s story it’s debatable whether or not Mystique dies while being dissected by Trask industries. Even if she survived, that experience is reflected nowhere in the Original Trilogy, where Bolivar Trask just so happens to also exist. UPDATE: For those who debate whether the X3 version of Trask played by African-American actor Bill Duke is actually “Bolivar Trask,” it has been confirmed by Bryan Singer that are two versions of the character, and that it is a continuity problem (read HERE).
The whole Trask/Mystique encounter is a good premise to drive the action of DoFP, but as a method to unify all of the films, it’s got holes.
Wolverine’s Xavier Origin Story
Getting into some smaller nitpicks: An early moment of Days of Future Past involves Wolverine reciting a story to young Charles Xavier about how he [Charles] first discovered his mutant powers (thought he was crazy at age 9, figured out he had telepathy at age 12). However, looking at continuity, that story doesn’t quite add up.
In X-Men: First Class, the opening scene depicts Xavier (12) and Mystique (10) meeting for the first time – a meeting in which Xavier demonstrates clear mastery of his telepathic abilities. The ages may sync, however Wolverine’s version of the origin story seemed to describe a twelve-year-old Charles Xavier who hadn’t gained as much control or confidence as the one shown at the beginning of First Class. A small, petty but noticeable issue when watching the movies back-to-back.
Xavier’s Wolverine Quote
One of the most amusing moments in Days of Future Past is when an agitated Charles Xavier remembers Wolverine as the man he and Erik tried to recruit during that awesome First Class surprise cameo scene. Charles endeavors to give Logan the same advice that Logan had given to him a decade ago. And yet, the Professor manages to get the message wrong.
In First Class, Wolverine tells Xavier and Erik to “Go f*ck yourself.”; in Days of Future Past, Xavier tells Wolverine to “F*ck Off.” It’s not a big deal, and we know Xavier was in the midst of a drug binge – but still, it’s an easy thing to get right.
Possible Explanation: Alternate Timelines
In the end, it’s clear that – despite the fact that DoFP considers all of the previous X-Men films as part of its canon – the future we witness in the film CANNOT be a direct extension of the Original Trilogy continuity. There are simply too many errors.
One possible explanation for what we DO see may be found in the film itself: Hank McCoy (Nicholas Hoult) at one point describes time as a river: you can throw a stone into it, cause ripples and upset the flow – but eventually, somehow, the river course-corrects itself. Going with that time-travel logic, one could argue that the future we see in DoFP is a variation on the Original Trilogy; major events of the first three films that were directly referenced in DoFP (like Stryker’s appearance in X2 or the Dark Phoenix saga of X3) still happened, only they happened within the First Class continuity line, which would allow for variant outcomes than the exact developments we saw in the Original Trilogy films, while still arriving in the future of DoFP.
Wolverine’s metal claws; Professor X’s return; the end credits of The Wolverine; a Bolivar Trask who his Peter Dinklage and not Bill Duke; the Sentinel origin story – all of it is free to exist without issue, if one simply rationalizes that Days of Future Past holds First Class as its official continuity, and that the future X-Men are only similar to the ones from the Original Trilogy, not exact representations.
…That’s the best we can do to bring some measure of peace to fans still upset by continued X-Men movie continuity issues. Days of Future Past (or its makers) in NO WAY provide an official, irrefutable, explanation – and maybe that’s the biggest issue of all. However, if you’ve read our review or listened to our X-Men episode of the Screen Rant Underground podcast, you know that we liked the film! A lot!
We hope that fans don’t get so hung up on the little details and inconsistencies that they don’t remember to sit back and just enjoy the movie. At the end of the day, this is all supposed to be fun – and really, by the end of the film, Days of Future Past manages to negate all of these issues in favor of a bigger, better, more cohesive future. Hopefully the term “X-Men Movie Continuity Errors” are on their way to being a thing of the past…
X-Men: Days of Future Past is now playing in theaters. It is 131 minutes (its goes fast, don’t worry) and is Rated PG- 13 for sequences of intense sci-fi violence and action, some suggestive material, nudity and language.
Want to discuss SPOILERS? Head over to our Days of Future Past Spoilers Discussion. Confused about that scene at the end of the film? Read our Post-credit Scene Explained article or listen to our editors discussion on the XM:DoFP episode of the Screen Rant Underground Podcast.
Follow me and talk movies @ppnkof.