With Logan‘s release on the horizon, I’ve been hearing folks bitch and moan about how the X-Men timeline makes no sense. It does for those of us who have been following it. I figured I’d try to explain what’s still considered canon and was has been thrown completely out.
Here’s a brief rundown of the franchise’s current canon.
While X-Men and X2 are regarded as some of the better films in the series, due to the events of X-Men: Days of Future Past they’ve been essentially erased. Although, in X-Men: Apocalypse they reintroduced the events of the Weapon X Program established in the first two films.
This also includes the horrible X3: The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Producer Lauren Shuler Donner has disowned the two films, this incarnation of Gambit and possibly even Sabretooth could be kicked to the curb.
The Wolverine is also nixed out of canon as well, but it was always seen as standalone film. However, it’s World War II scenes in Japan are considered still canon.
X-Men: First Class, X-Men: Days of Future Past and X-Men: Apocalypse are indeed current canon. Rebooting the timeline with Days of Future Past led to the reintroduction of new canonical versions of Angel, Jubilee, The Blob and Psylocke.
Jennifer Lawrence’s Mystique is now a hero not a villain,taking a leadership role within the current X-Men canon. Plenty of us understand this is due to her Oscar win and box office success with the Hunger Games, the studio wanted to keep her around as she’s increasing popular with audiences.
It’s also shown that everyone is still alive at the end of Days of Future Past, reaffirming that The Last Stand never took place. Most assumed this was to be a send-off to the original cast, while others desperately thought this meant X-Men 4 was going to be a thing (Logan refutes this).
Deadpool completely reboots X-Men Origins‘ Wade Wilson. Only thing, it’s never established in the film that it connects with either the original trilogy or the post-Future Past era of the First Class timeline. We never see any X-Men actors from the other movies and Daniel Cudmore (seen in both eras of canon thanks to Days of Future Past) is recast as a new incarnation of Colossus, who is now Russian.
It’s extremely possible Deadpool could be setting-up a third timeline for Deadpool 2 and X-Force.
Logan reveals a majority of mutants are dead and X-Men are gone. We are making some assumption Wolverine (influenced by another telepath) has killed them, have been hunted-down then killed or something similar to the legacy virus has killed most mutants. The legacy virus makes sense as it could be a biological weapon (man made?), something less destructive than the Sentinels saving collateral damage.
James Mangold has confirmed to Empire the film is set after Days of Future Past’s epilogue. This pretty much confirms that X-Men 4 won’t be happening as it looks like the X-Men are dead here.
“We are in the future, we have passed the point of the epilogue of Days Of Future Past,” is all that Mangold will admit about the timing of this film.
It’s likely after meddling with the timeline created an equally terrible future for mutants, the butterfly effect.
A dour setting like Logan is where New Mutants and X-Force could be introduced, severing ties to the First Class era. That’s if they’ve figured out a cure and mutants start coming out of the shadows, creating new teams in the wake of deaths of the X-Men.
It remains to be seen if Deadpool is connected to Logan.
FILMS IN DEVELOPMENT
Deadpool 2 will likely mess around with the timeline again, with the expectation that Cable and Domino will be playing with time travel in the film. We’d hope that it would finally plant it’s feet in the canon and let us know if it’s own thing (perfect setup for another franchise reboot) or connected to First Class era.
It’s completely up in the air where Gambit fits into the timeline, but we do believe the events of Origins will be ignored.
Gambit could be a perfect opportunity to give us the more faithful version of Rogue by rebooting her as well, as she starts off as a villain/thief not unlike Remy. It would also nice to see her as a grown woman with her stolen abilities of flight and super-strength.
I’m not really interested in Anna Paquin reprising the role when the studio is recasting all the original characters already. Rebecca Ferguson (had been in the mix for Bella Donna role), Domino candidate Mary Elizabeth Winstead (if she doesn’t land the role) and Natalie Dormer could be excellent replacements.
Josh Boone’s New Mutants is rumored to include First Class era characters and set around that era. The problem with this is that X-Men: Apocalypse wasn’t well received and Fox might want to distance themselves from that end of the franchise. As New Mutants could be set in the post-Logan setting, and be their second attempt to reboot the series.
It should be noted that original rumor about the film was before Boone handed-in his second draft of the script, also before Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber were hired to do rewrites on that draft. Things could have changed, that’s if that rumor was true to begin with.
X-Force will be directly connected to Deadpool, but will it be connected to other the films?
While producers have talked-up doing the Phoenix Saga as a sequel to Apocalypse, there’s nothing to suggest that’s happening anytime soon, other than fan speculation. Director Bryan Singer is busy with 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea and the studio is looking at other X-Men films first.
If they land other director they could pursue the film sooner than expected, but nothing points to that currently.
So, that’s a quick rundown of what’s going on with the X-Men timeline. I hope this helps and doesn’t make things even more confusing.