The incredibly successful X-Men movie franchise has had its ups and downs, but overall, it has remained a staple in pop culture that gave us wonderful cinematic moments, unforgettable superhero performances, and a lot of X-Men stories for us to chew on. With the news that Disney will buy Fox and get Marvel Studios the cinematic rights to properties such as X-Men and Deadpool, we can only guess where this franchise will go.
The original X-Men movie, released in 2000, reshaped the public perception of these characters – introducing the idea that on-screen heroes looked great in leather outfits, and that themes other than adventure and sci-fi could be explored in superhero films. 2003’s X2 repeated the original movie’s success, but the franchise took a nosedive with 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand.
Since, the franchise has focused on prequels, such as 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine and 2011’s X-Men: First Class, which each spun their own trilogies. In 2016, yet another entry took place: a standalone and R-rated Deadpool, which went on to become the highest-grossing X-Men film of all time.
With so many movies introducing so many characters in so many stories, the X-Men franchise was bound to make a couple of mistakes along the way, confusing fans with clear continuity errors, double entries for certain characters, and alliances that don’t seem to align with the overarching saga.
These are the 16 Things About X-Men Movies That Make NO Sense.
16 DEADPOOL’S ORIGIN STORY
It’s safe to say that no one had any appreciation for Deadpool’s cameo in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, even in 2009, when the movie had just come out. As 2016’s Deadpool was released and became a massive critical and commercial, this hero’s inclusion in Origins became even more cringe-worthy and unnecessary, as fans now had an actual standalone film that serviced Deadpool in all the right ways.
But given that X-Men Origins: Wolverine still exists and is still very much part of the overall X-Men movie franchise, it’s unfortunate that this character ended up with two completely distinct origin stories that have treated his existence in completely different ways.
2016’s Deadpool went as far as completely scrapping whatever happened to this hero in Origins, but as the movie makes nods to other X-Men in the continuity, it all becomes a little confusing for fans to follow.
15 LOGAN’S TIMELINE
Like Deadpool, it seems the mission statement of Logan was to completely ignore anything that came before it if it didn't service the story now being told. But Deadpool had only been seen once before in the movies, and ignoring that one appearance was easy. That was not the case with Wolverine.
Wolverine was seen in every single film in the X-Men franchise, aside from 2016’s Deadpool. There were about eight movies worth of continuity for this character. And as Logan came out in 2017, including an old and sick Charles Xavier but nothing else, it felt like the installment was playing with the continuity as it pleased – picking up bits and pieces that made sense for its story, but otherwise ignoring all else that had happened to Wolverine up until that point.
14 MYSTIQUE'S MOTIVATIONS
Everything about the Jennifer Lawrence version of Mystique in the X-Men prequel movies is confusing, to say the least.
Why is her friendship with Xavier never alluded to when they're older? If she kidnapped Wolverine during Days of Future Past to avoid his entering in the Weapon X program, how did he still end up getting his claws, as we later find out in Apocalypse? And if she and Magneto were able to develop such a great relationship during these prequel films, how come Magneto left her behind so quickly during X-Men: The Last Stand?
With the casting choice of Jennifer Lawrence, it’s no wonder that Fox was eager to make Mystique a bigger character (and sort of a heroine) in the X-Men films, but coming from a comic book standpoint, these stories are not servicing who the character really is.
13 CYCLOPS’ DEATH IN X-MEN: THE LAST STAND
In the Hall of Fame of Unnecessary Movie Deaths, sits Cyclops’ sudden passing in X-Men: The Last Stand.
To this day, fans have struggled to understand why the death of Cyclops made any sense for the plot of the original X-Men trilogy, and if it was truly necessary within the context of The Last Stand and Jean Grey’s transformation as the Phoenix. On top of it all, the death scene felt completely anti-climactic, especially when we consider that it involved the departure of one of the most important and beloved mutants of all time. Truthfully, it almost seemed like the franchise was willingly simply trying to write the character out.
X-Men: The Last Stand is regarded as a low point in the overall franchise, and Cyclops’ sudden death plays a huge role in that perception.
12 PROFESSOR X'S BODY DAYS OF FUTURE PAST
So a lot of people die in X-Men: The Last Stand, right? But Charles Xavier doesn’t just die – his body is literally disintegrated by Jean Grey, which made fans assume that he is probably dead. We later learn, however, that Professor X was somehow able to transfer his consciousness to a separate body, and is therefore alive through the power of his mind. Up until that point, everything is pretty logical and believable and easy to follow.
But then, how is it even remotely possible that Charles Xavier has returned to his previously disintegrated body during the present-day scenes that take place in X-Men: Days of Future Past? Sure, he is alive because he transferred his consciousness, but how could he have possibly recovered his body from the tiny little pieces that we saw it explode into during The Last Stand?
11 THE AGE GAP BETWEEN SCOTT AND ALEX SUMMERS
A young Alex Summers (also known as Havok) is recruited by Professor X and Magneto during the events of X-Men: First Class. While it sounds like a worthy idea to have Scott Summers (Cyclops)’s brother included in the franchise, the timing could not have been more wrong.
First Class is set in the 1962, which means that by the time Cyclops joins the team at age 17/18 during Apocalypse in 1983, there's a significant age gap between the brothers (nearly 20 years).
The astounding age difference is also completely misaligned with the Summers family origin story, in which Alex and Scott were briefly raised together as little boys, then separated, and only encountered each another again years later.
10 MOIRA MACTAGGERT
There are two completely, absolutely different versions of Moira MacTaggert within the X-Men movie universe – and they oppose one another in a major way.
In X-Men: The Last Stand, released in 2006, Moira MacTaggert is a 38-year-old doctor from Scotland, played by Olivia Williams. Then, in X-Men: First Class, released in 2011, Moira MacTaggert is a 32-year-old American agent who works for the CIA, and is played by Rose Byrne.
Being First Class set in the 1960s and The Last Stand set in the not-too-distant-future, the 4 years of difference between both versions of the characters should’ve been about 40 instead. Also, aside from the age gap, one is completely opposed to the other, as fans couldn’t possibly justify how a Scottish doctor became a CIA agent from one installment to the next.
9 CYCLOPS’ CAMEO IN X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE
Another weird thing about the Cyclops continuity within the X-Men movies is that the franchise decided to include a young version of him in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. So they hired actor Tim Pocock, who in 2009 (when Origins was released) was 24, even if his child-like features could make the character look younger than that.
Judging by Pocock’s age and how old Cyclops looked in the Origins installment – which was set in the 1970s – the character would have to be at least 40 (or more) years old by the time the present-day X-Men original trilogy was released. But they hired actor James Marsden, who at the time was about 27, to portray the hero.
It makes no sense that a 24-year-old was hired to play a character set in the 1970s, and thirty years later in the continuity, a 27-year-old actor is seen portraying the same person.
8 PROFESSOR X CAN WALK IN X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE
So let’s get this straight: X-Men: First Class takes place in the 1960s, and X-Men Origins: Wolverine takes place in the 1970s.
If you have seen First Class, you will remember that Charles Xavier loses his ability to walk by the end of the film, becoming the character in a wheelchair that we have all come to know him as. However, this tiny detail begs the question: how in the world was Professor X featured in X-Men Origins: Wolverine walking?
It probably felt interesting in 2009 for Origins to show an unscathed Charles. Then, in 2011, they realized that it would be interesting for First Class to show him losing his ability to walk. However, this most certainly remains one of the biggest, clearest, and most embarrassing continuity mistakes in the X-Men movies.
7 WOLVERINE REGAINS HIS CLAWS WITHOUT ANY EXPLANATION
Though X-Men fans have learned to accept that Logan was, in a way, allowed to stand on its own continuity for the purpose of telling its story, the film is still considerwed the third installment of the Wolverine trilogy, preceded by 2009’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine and 2013’s The Wolverine.
But the thing is: by the end of The Wolverine, the title character has lost his claws. Then, in Logan, the claws are inexplicably back. To make matters worse, the latter offers no hint, flashback, or clarification to justify how Wolverine got his claws again.
Sure, Wolverine is capable of regenerative healing, but that doesn’t generally apply to his claws – only to his wounds. It’s a shame that Logan didn’t spend at least a few seconds giving fans some sort of explanation.
6 EMMA FROST
Emma Frost is another example of the same character being spotted twice in the X-Men franchise, but providing fans with no logical continuity to infer that one version is the same as the other
In X-Men Origins: Wolverine, a young-looking character named Emma – who happens to have the “frosting” ability – makes an appearance. She was played by Tahyna MacManus, who was in her twenties at the time of the film’s release. Then, in X-Men: First Class, which is set at least ten years before Origins, we were introduced to another Emma Frost, now played by January Jones, who was in her 30s by the time the movie came out.
Director Bryan Singer has backpedaled on the fact that the Emma who appeared in Origins was not Emma Frost, even if she was named Emma and had incredibly similar powers. To be honest, this just seemed like an excuse to justify the franchise’s lack of a solid continuity.
5 WHO ACTUALLY BUILT CEREBRO
In the original X-Men movie that came out in 2000, it is very certainly established that Professor X’s Cerebro machine was built with the help of Charles’ longtime friend (but now foe), Magneto.
The fact that Magneto and Charles built Cerebro together adds to the long-running subtext in the original X-Men trilogy of how hard it is to watch friends turning against one another for having fundamentally opposing views. The plot-device worked in many ways, and for a long time the X-Men franchise kept running with this idea.
ank McCoy (Beast) is the person seen working on building the Cerebro on behalf of Charles Xavier. First Class implies that it actually was Charles and Henry who built Cerebro together, or literally just Hank, completely alone.
4 THE TWO VERSIONS OF BOLIVAR TRASK
1qIn X-Men: The Last Stand, set in present-day, Bolivar Trask was the head of the United States’ Department of Homeland Security. The character waged a war against the mutants, and represents a very powerful antagonistic force in that film. He was played by actor Bill Duke.
Then, in X-Men: Days of Future Past, set in the 1960s, yet another version of Bolivar Trask was introduced: an American military scientist, head of the Trask Industries, who is also interested in destroying the mutants, but has a different way of going about it. He was played by Game of Thrones star Peter Dinklage.
To be fair, the Days of Future Past version of Bolivar Trask was more faithful to the character we know from X-Men comic books. However, it was The Last Stand’s depiction of this villain that arrived first to the movie franchise.
3 WHERE IS SCARLET WITCH?
There has been one major overlap in the X-Men movie franchise and the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Quicksilver.
The speedster was introduced to the X-Men films in 2014, during the Days of Future Past installment, and was played by actor Evan Peters. Then, in 2015, Quicksilver was brought onto the Marvel Cinematic Universe during Avengers: Age of Ultron, alongside his twin sister, Scarlet Witch. Though Quicksilver met his fate rather quickly in that universe, Scarlet Witch has gone on to become part of the main lineup of Avengers in the MCU.
Which begs the question: where is Scarlet Witch in the X-Men movie universe? Quicksilver is shown to have a much younger sister, but it’s never been confirmed whether that is Wanda or someone else. The nod to Scarlet Witch in Days of Future Past was inconclusive and, honestly, rather awkward.
2 JUBILEE DOESN’T AGE?
The X-Men movies apparently want fans to believe that not aging is one
Jubilee was very clearly featured in all films of the original X-Men franchise. In 2000’s X-Men, she was portrayed by actress Katrina Florence. Then, in X2 and X-Men: The Last Stand, Kea Wong took on the role. Jubilee was very clearly a teenager who hung out with Rogue and Iceman – characters who were also teens during the original trilogy.
But then, in X-Men: Apocalypse, which serves as the final installment to the prequel trilogy of X-Men movie, Jubilee is featured once again as a teenager… alongside Cyclops and Jean Grey, who are also young, but who were Jubilee’s (much older) professors in the original trilogy.
Are the X-Men films implying that Jubilee just stays a teenager forever?
1 THE OVERALL CONTINUITY
The good thing about the X-Men movies is that they have begun to treat story continuity in the same way that most comic books do: reference it when convenient, ignore it when necessary. But the tricky part is that, in a world of Star Wars, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and peak TV, fans seem to really like following a consistent, over-arching continuity that takes place over several years and is advanced by separate projects that stand alone but also contribute to the overall narrative.
The X-Men films have attempted to have it both ways: build a shared universe and, at the same time, ignore it whenever it gets in the way. Though hardcore fans are willing to suspend their beliefs and follow along, there is no doubt that general audiences have become confused when trying to make sense of a continuity that, to be frank, isn’t always continuous.
What else doesn't make sense about the X-Men movies? Let us know in the comments!