X-Men: Days of Future Past was a big movie in the X-Men franchise not only because it brought together both the original and new cast, and not only because it marked X-Men and X2 director Bryan Singer’s return to the series, but also because, well, it reset the entire timeline and erased the events of X-Men, X2, and X-Men: The Last Stand from existence. This offered Singer and writer/producer Simon Kinberg the opportunity to continue making more X-Men movies set in the past while keeping the fate of the characters up in the air. So while X-Men: Apocalypse takes place in 1983, the story and characters aren’t necessarily moving towards the end-goal of where the characters are in 2000’s X-Men. But that’s not to say they can’t end up in the same place as before.
Confused? Indeed, any time you’re dealing with time-travel, complicated hypotheticals ensue, but the X-Men franchise is doubly tricky given the sheer amount of characters and history involved with the series. So when I visited the set of X-Men: Apocalypse last summer along with a small group of reporters, we asked Singer and Kinberg to clarify the timeline of the franchise going forward. Kinberg kicked things off by explaining exactly how Days of Future Past alters the events of X-Men, X2, and X-Men: The Last Stand:
“It’s not leading necessarily toward exactly where we found Patrick Stewart and the X-Men at the beginning of X-Men 1. There are some things that lead in that general direction, that was part of the philosophy we had at the end of Days of Future Past is that you can’t fully change the course or current of the river, but you can just divert it a little bit, and we diverted it a little bit. So some things will be surprises; people could die that were alive in X-Men 1, 2 and 3, or people could survive that died during 1, 2 and 3.”
The river metaphor is something Singer is enthusiastic about, and is essentially the entire reason “the Tivo scene” exists in Days of Future Past:
“What happens when you use Days of Future Past to erase movies like X1, 2 and 3, yes you can erase those events that occurred, but I also was very adamant about having what we call ‘The Tivo Scene.’ The scene in that room with all the video cameras in Days of Future Past, I call it the Tivo scene. ‘I developed this piece of technology that records television;’ the point is time’s immutability. The idea that time is like a river. You can splash it and mess it up and throw rocks in it and shatter it but it eventually kind of coalesces and this is, again, quantum physics theory. It’s all based in quantum physics.”