X-Men: Apocalypse is soon to hit theaters, and straight after both Marvel and DC have given us movies that feature superheroes going at each other while a greater threat looms in the background, it'll be refreshing to see the X-Men doing... pretty much that again! It's clearly a good year for it.
Still, this is coming off the back of Days of Future Past, a movie that featured Wolverine tumbling through time with the intent to rewrite history, which then totally happened, big time. Nothing is the same as it was before, so how do you keep track of these all-important changes? You're in the right place.
Here are the 10 Things You Need To Know About The New X-Men Timeline.
10 Days of Future Past Rewrote Almost Everything
Days of Future Past saw Kitty Pryde gain the power to send someone's consciousness back in time through an unknown mutation that'll probably never be explained except by way of "just go with it." Using it on Wolverine sent his mind right back to the '70s, where he immediately stopped whatever he would've been doing and started changing the timeline, in the hopes of averting the sentinel-devastated future.
And, surprise, he succeeded! But the bad future wasn't the only thing wiped from history; his actions actually had a ripple effect on the entire movie timeline, including the original trilogy and both Wolverine solo movies. As a result, everything we see from here in out is completely new canon, so expect characters to be popping up in places they shouldn't, villains to be heroes, heroes to be villains and a whole lot of gratuitous retconning that just so happened to be added on the sly, because if you're undoing fifteen years of canon, you might as well take the time to make some much-needed alterations.
So where does that leave everything we saw before Days of Future Past? Well...
9 Only One Movie Remains
Just to digress for a moment, there’s a chance that you saw Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part II, a movie almost as insufferable as its title but also containing a surprisingly awesome fight scene. It raised a lot of ire by promising to rewrite the anticlimactic ending of the book, by pulling a fast one and having the fight be just a vision of the future.
Okay, so…what’s the problem? None of the characters in the movie experienced it, but we did. You can even press a button on your remote and watch it again, if you want. That’s probably the attitude to take to the new X-Men movie timeline, in that most of the events we saw have technically been rewritten, but to us they still happened.
That is, everything except X-Men: First Class. The timeline began to change from the moment Wolverine woke up in his younger self’s body, creating a completely new universe from then onward. First Class takes place before all of this, so retcons aside (more on them later), it’s been spared any temporal shifts. And of course, we never saw what actually happened during the time of DOFP, so all of that might as well be new.
These events even predate X-Men Origins: Wolverine, so that’s also gone, to the anguished cries of many across the globe, surely. The only other part of the film series that hasn’t been swept away would be…
8 We've Seen the Ending (but not how we got there)
…the epilogue of DOFP is still intact, since that was the result of successfully changing the timeline. Essentially, this means we now know how the entire series ends, which is something you might not want to think about too much heading into newer films.
Speaking of that epilogue, it gave us a unified team of X-Men in a world of hologram clocks and Wolverine as an actual qualified teacher. If everything is different and the original trilogy has been rewritten, how did we end up there? It’s a deep and fascinating rabbit hole that we’ll probably never get to explore, but there are a few important things to note. For one thing, Logan and Rogue still made it to the X-Men somehow. Apocalypse looks set to introduce Wolverine to the young X-Men decades earlier than in the original timeline, while perhaps Rogue came to the mansion on her own at some point.
Meanwhile, the chain reaction continues as the Mutant issue has become an entirely different ball game (more on that later, too). Mystique has been spared months of horrific torture after committing murder, making her an utterly parallel person to the villainous Mystique we saw aiding Magneto in the original film. Perhaps Liberty Island never happened, or the X-Men all made it out of Alkali Lake alive, Jean included. Cyclops then led the team during the mutant ‘cure’ crisis, everything turned out fine (with the deaths of Cyclops, Jean and Xavier averted) and Wolverine never had to go to Japan to get over his creepy ghost crush. Speculation could go on forever, but what we know for sure is that there’s no way the original trilogy possibly could’ve happened in the same way, if any of the events even took place at all.
7 The Mutant Situation is Totally Different
The very first X-Men took place in 2005, and one of the very first things we see is a bunch of politicians discussing the rising mutant problem. We get the impression that people generally know about mutants, but they’re a fairly new and greatly mistrusted phenomenon.
Well, screw all that, because thanks to Magneto, that timeline has been massively accelerated. DOFP showed him making a televised attempt on the president’s life, after lifting up an entire stadium and dumping it around the White House. The world also saw Beast and Mystique in Paris generally being blue and shifty, events that never would’ve taken place if Magneto had spent that time stewing in his underground prison for however many years.
From what we’ve seen of Apocalypse, it looks like mutants are not only public knowledge but possibly even accepted to a degree; Xavier says that “the world is better,” which probably has something to do with said televised incident also featuring mutants saving the president. Elsewhere, we see Nightcrawler and Angel engaged in a mutant cage match, indicating that some are even being exploited for entertainment. Again, this has a ripple effect on the whole timeline, as the plots of all three original trilogy movies are to do with mutants and their growing impact on society...and those plots are now pretty much off the table.
6 Entire Characters Have Changed
With these ripples in the timeline come some more personal changes, for which you can probably thank Jennifer Lawrence’s star power. Original Mystique was a reticent blue ninja who committed murder like it was nothing and spent the rest of her screen-time slinking around like a shape-shifting Cheshire cat. That Mystique, as previously mentioned, was horrifically scarred from her time spent locked up. Used as a lab rat with her brain tissue and bone marrow being scraped out day after day, it’s not a stretch to say this experience (along with killing Trask in cold blood) changed her into the character we met in the original X-Men. Now, spared the experience, our new Mystique is a reluctant leader and less likely to be snapping necks with her feet.
On the other hand, it’s less clear exactly how Magneto has changed from his experiences, especially since Apocalypse has him stowed away and trying to forget that time when he was almost the most famous terrorist in the history of forever. Logan arrived to break Xavier out of his slump and give him a chat with his future self, Hank has had his true mutant form revealed to the world…everyone caught up in the events of DOFP has been changed in some way. Even if they were the victim of self-brain-robbery like Wolverine, he’s still waking up to a completely alternate present. And speaking of which…
5 Wolverine's Story is Now Unknown
He’s the X-Men poster child, so he gets his own entry. After all, Wolverine has gotten two solo movies and is set to receive a third that won’t make any sense unless we get some hints as to what happened in his altered story.
We’ve seen him wake up in the X-Mansion in 2023, which is very much free of killbots and piles of mutant corpses. A telling shot of his claws in the new Apocalypse trailer show him meeting up with the X-Men far earlier than the original timeline, though whether he actually remembers this encounter through the haze of berserker rage remains to be seen. Origins: Wolverine is wiped from the timeline, and since The Wolverine was all about him on an international moping tour over a dead girl he never even took out to dinner, that’s gone too.
Whatever story that the third Wolverine movie tells, it’ll have to be something brand new that also wraps up the character. In a meta-sense, this is likely Hugh Jackman’s finale as the character, so expect it to show exactly what Logan is up to, how he got there and how in the name of sanity he was ever allowed to be a teacher.
4 Apocalypse Probably Never Awoke in the Original Timeline
It’s either this, or they beat him in the original timeline and just never really mentioned it; not so far-fetched given all the wacky events the X-Men find themselves caught up in. This will probably be cleared up once the movie is released, but for now, it’s probably safe to assume that the events of DOFP somehow awoke Apocalypse from his slumber, after which he decided that he didn’t like the '80s and was going to murder everyone.
It’s been suggested that the events of the movie are what caused Professor X to go bald, which he seemed to have managed anyway in the original timeline. However, if what we’ve seen in the trailers are real events and not just enticing visions, then it looks like Apocalypse will leave a lasting mark on the world that couldn’t possibly have been ignored. As for exactly what he was doing during the original trilogy, or while the world’s mutant population was being decimated by evil robots, it’s currently unknown. Maybe he woke up, dramatically announced his conquest and was then burned to ashes by sentinels. But that wouldn’t exactly make for a great movie.
As for his followers…
3 X-Men Are Where they Shouldn't Be
You may remember the opening scene of X2, because it’s one of the greatest sequences in superhero movie history. It also introduced us to Nightcrawler in grand style, who then went on to meet the X-Men and then vanish from the universe just as quickly because nobody wants to sit through seven hours of makeup every day.
Cue the reshuffling timeline, which instead has Kurt Wagner meeting and joining the X-Men in the '80s, which is another indicator that the events of X2 have been irrevocably changed. This is just great for fans who know that Nightcrawler has been an integral part of the X-Men from the early days, but perhaps a bit confusing for movie fans who’re wondering what he’s doing in a cage match with Angel.
Speaking of which, Warren Worthington III made his first appearance in The Last Stand, set in 2006. Here we have him joining Apocalypse decades earlier and tangling with the X-Men, which is a problem in itself (more on that in a minute). There’s the aforementioned matter of Wolverine, who meets the team under very different circumstances than being saved from an exploding RV. These are pretty straightforward: the shifting timeline has changed their past and future. And yet it gets a bit more complicated than that, since…
2 Some Sneaky Retcons Have Been Thrown In
Don’t expect any time to be spent on this one in the movie, since this is the same director that gave us Days of Future Past featuring a very much alive Xavier, metal-clawed Wolverine and Kitty Pryde with tingly time-travel fingers and the entire explanation was "deal with it." And it actually worked.
If you haven’t expunged The Last Stand from your memory (hey, it wasn’t all bad…), you might remember that it featured Angel and Psylocke. The former was an important character, while the latter was butchered into a bit-part who could…teleport through shadows? Okay then. She was shown as a young adult, which means the version we’re getting in Apocalypse (about twenty years prior) should rightfully be around the age of a toddler. Obviously, Olivia Munn is not that, which means either her entire character has been retconned or this is another Psylocke.
Same goes for Angel, who we actually saw as a young boy long after the events of Apocalypse. Either this is Warren Worthington Senior, a completely new Angel or the timeline ripples have affected more than just events. Jubilee is also appearing as a teenager decades before we saw her again as a teenager in X2, and if you really want to go into it in detail, the ages of the X-Men we’ve seen throughout the series don’t match up with the original trilogy or the epilogue. Also, Colossus is Russian now.
At this point, it’s best to just assume that the saga has been thoroughly beaten with the retcon stick and leave it there.
1 We've Said Farewell to the Original X-Men
Take this with a grain of salt, and the knowledge that this is still speculation… but we’ve probably seen the last of the original team of X-Men.
The first movie in 2000 was massively instrumental in kick-starting the superhero genre, so it makes sense that this saga would be the one to take the dramatic step of recasting and starting things afresh. The last we saw them, the X-Men we started off with were all gathered at the mansion in a world that seemed peaceful, if not outright accepting of mutants from what we saw of the changes. The unpopular deaths of Cyclops and Jean Grey were undone, Rogue was obviously re-powered if she ever took the cure at all, and the whole thing was set to John Ottman’s iconic score, culminating in a happy ending that caused a stir in even the most stone-hearted fan.
DOFP featured the new cast literally fighting to save the future of the old and succeeding, bringing both of them together to truly pass on the torch. Cameos are by no means out of the question, but that scene was our farewell to the team that kick-started the franchise and took us this far, and a signal that there are new tales to be told with a cast of fresh faces. The story goes on, but it’s safe to assume that the first chapter is well and truly over… and the transition probably couldn’t have been done any better.
Anything else we need to know about the new timeline? let us know in the comments!