Simon Kinberg Explains How the Ending of X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST Affects other X-MEN Movies

by     Posted 209 days ago


X-Men: Days of Future Past is a time-travel movie, and as fans of time-travel movies know, if you change something in the past, you alter the future.  That’s the mutants’ plan in the movie: send Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) back to 1973 in order to change a future where humans and mutants has been nearly annihilated by the killer-robot Sentinels.  Wolverine’s very presence in the past alters the timeline, and the way the movie ends is a bit confusing.

We asked writer-producer Simon Kinberg to explain how the ending of X-Men: Days of Future Past affects the other X-Men movies.  Hit the jump for what he had to say.  Warning: Spoilers ahead.

x-men-days-of-future-past-hugh-jackmanWhen Wolverine’s mind returns at the end of Days of Future Past, he doesn’t know how history has changed.  As he walks through the X-Mansion, he eventually finds that Jean (Famke Janssen) and Cyclops (James Marsden) are alive and well, which means the events of X-Men: The Last Stand were drastically altered.

Additionally, Days of Future Past indicates that Mystique decides not to go down a dark path, and chooses to side with Xavier over Magneto.  That second one has serious ramifications since Mystique is a huge part of X-Men and X2.

So what happened when Wolverine helped to stop the Sentinels?  Did he create an alternate timeline or did it affect the movies we’ve already seen?  Kinberg explains:

“The end of Days of Future Past in 1973 does change the timeline of the established film universe.  But one of the things we posit in the film is the immutability of time.  So what you see at the end is a future that has been shifted but not completely transformed.  Our characters are back in the mansion, as we saw them in X1-3, with some obvious changes (like certain characters being alive).  So the answer is yes and no.  Yes it changes the timeline.  No it doesn’t completely erase everything…”

x-men-days-of-future-past-jennifer-lawrenceThat’s a bit frustrating since I think an alternate timeline is much easier.  We can watch the previous films and know that they happened as we saw them.  If things have changed, then technically the first three X-Men movies (and possibly X-Men Origins: Wolverine; Kinberg didn’t mention that one) no longer exist.  They’ve been rewritten, and what we’re seeing is an old draft.

While it sounds like fans will now be responsible for figuring out what changed and what remained the same, Kinberg says future X-Men movies will help explain the altered timeline:

“Hopefully the X movies to come will help define that for audiences. Our next film, X-Men: Apocalypse, will fill in more of the timeline between Days of Future Past and X1.”

As for how the immutability of time affects certain characters, Kinberg gave a measured response:

“Characters can change, but, like time, they are on a general path that cannot be completely undone.”

So will Mystique return to being a bad guy?  Only time will tell.

x-men-patrick-stewart-ian-mckellenFor more with Simon Kinberg:


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  • ScottX

    Do people really need help with that? Oh, I can imagine what would happen if they watch Primer.

  • Person

    I honestly believe that the only reason they threw in the “Stryker is Mystique” thing at the end is so that Wolverine can somehow still interact with the First Class cast, therefore becoming a part of X-Men: Apocalypse. That part of his new history was never explained by Prof. X at the end of DOFP, so it stands to reason that Wolverine helped avert another major crisis in the 1980s (Apocalypse) and saved the world again. We already know that Wolverine will likely be a part of that movie, so that’s all I can figure. Mystique will likely disguise herself as Stryker to take Wolverine through getting the adamantium claws, etc. (essentially all of Origins), or something like that. I dunno, this is all conjecture. They have a lot of splainin’ to do.

    • Doug_101

      Yes, Wolverine will be in Apocalypse, but what side will he be on?

      • TigerClaw305

        I believe Wolverine and some other mutants used to be one of the 4 horsemen of the Apocalypse. So I would think Apocalypse might have manipulated him at some point.

      • Person

        Weren’t the four horsemen already there in ancient Egypt? I’m not super familiar with the source comics, hoping to rectify that soon.

      • Stefan Bonomo

        Basically in the comics, during present day, Apocalypse takes 4 mutants and turns them into his 4 horseman. For example, both Wolverine and Gambit have served as the Horseman of Death and there was even a big storyline where Angel was corrupted by Apocalypse and became Archangel.

        There’s also a rumor that Mystique will inadvertly help creating the 4 horseman, not only with her having Wolverine, but with those 4 mutants she rescued from the war camp (most likely Ink).

      • Person

        Interesting, thanks. I was just remembering how Bryan Singer consulted with James Cameron about time travel stuff before making DOFP, so obviously he has some big ideas for the entire X-Universe that haven’t manifested themselves yet; so we haven’t seen the last of these timeline changes.

      • dolphin558

        How did Mystique become this all-important hub for mutant storylines (referring to both movies and comics)? Remember when she was an afterthought?

      • Doug_101

        She was a pretty important character in the comics – Nightcrawler’s mother and Rogue’s foster mother; Leader of the Brotherhood and then Freedom Force – but I have a feeling with Apocalypse on the rise, they may adopt her cartoon persona, where she worked for the Big Blue Machine.

      • Person

        DOFP definitely brought her closer to how I remember her from the cartoons/comics, and certainly much closer to the Rebecca Romijn version from the earlier trilogy – a steelier, no-nonsense ass-kicker.

      • Doug_101

        Right, the Horsemen are never the same people, as they’re not as long-lived as Apocalypse. I never thought Fox would have the balls to make the face of their X-Men franchise – Jackman – the villain in one of these things, but all signs point to it happening and it’s cool as hell.

      • TigerClaw305

        There have been different four horsemen, not the ones from ancient Egypt.

  • Carl Doherty

    I really cannot understand why people are struggling with this. At one point Beast even states something similar, Basil Exposition-style for the audience’s benefit.

    • Grayden

      yeah, the “rock in a river” philosophy. Anyone exposed to good time travel writing understands why not everything changes once Wolverine wakes up in the mansion.

      • J Wilson

        Exactly. Like in the Star Trek reboot; just because Kirk’s dad dies, doesn’t mean that Khan would suddenly be a pasty, wispy British guy.

      • Nico

        hahaha.. thankyou.

    • kevinvannatter

      I’m not struggling with it. It’s open to interpretation. I’m just really interested in discussing it. There were some holes in the movie…but only if you think too hard. It was a great film.

  • Colonel_Neville_Wraithchild

    can´t help to find this article a bit over dramatic, i mean, what if they alter the x movies continuity? isn’t that what retcon does in comics on a regular basis? and what reboots actually does in movies? if changing xmen continuity in movies means an improvement of the series i say bring it on, kimberg.

  • TLaws

    My main qualm with the ending scene is that it reveals to us who will survive X-Men Apocalypse. We know Beast, Xavier, Wolverine, etc. won’t be getting killed off in the next movie. Granted that’s not a huge surprise but it still bugs me. The people we didn’t see in the mansion were Magneto and Raven, among others. I could see them having Magneto sacrifice himself to take out Apocalypse, that’d be pretty epic.

    • JaySin420

      But why would Magneto or Mystique have been in the mansion? I thought that was just to show the “good guys” are all alive.

      Old Magneto was with the X-Men in the future just cause the world was ending due to the Sentinels, it’s not like he turned into a good guy at some point.

      • kevinvannatter

        He turned into a good guy in the sense that he understood that all of the years they spent fighting each other were stupid.

      • JaySin420

        Yea either way though, I just think it would have been odd seeing all the familiar faces back at the mansion…plus Magneto.

    • Duncan Leishman

      You cant be so sure though. If the next film is to have a time travel theme, which im sure it does, then we dont know which parts of the timeline will be affected and how.

    • Aquartertoseven

      No, they’re alternate timelines, so we don’t know if they have the same future and past.

  • Ryyn

    Can somebody please explain this… When Wolverine is pulled out of the river at the end, does he lose his memory or why is it that only when he wakes up in the mansion that he remembers what has happened? Like, in 30 years did nobody think to explain to him how he basically saved the world?

    • Colonel_Neville_Wraithchild

      actually, charles asked logan what was the last thing he remembered and logan answered being pulled out of the river, then we saw an official asking stryker what to do with logan, to what he answered “i’ll take care of him” or something like that, then it’s revealed that stryker is actually mystique so, i assume what happened to logan in those years after will be the main theme in “the wolverine 2″ or whatever title they give it. also charles obviously knows what happened since he told logan they had a lot to talk about what logan didn’t remember.

      • Ryyn

        Ahh okay, thankyou, that clears it up.

      • Duncan Leishman

        Also, that moment in the parallel (70′s) timeline was the moment they changed the future events so Logans conscience reverted back to his future body in the alternative timeline which was at the mansian, not China.

      • Doug

        I loled.

      • kevinvannatter

        What does Mystique want with Logan at that point though? This was confusing since it would make perfect sense for the ACTUAL Stryker to say that…but then its not Stryker.

    • Shawn Micheal Madden

      Basically…past Logan will go back to being who he was then and not remember things (as seen in Paris) because the future Logan snapped back at that point where he woke up. In between 73 and the end of the film, Logan will be the young Logan that knows nothing of the future events.

      • Ryyn

        Thankyou. I just assumed that Charles or somebody would fill young Logan in on what happened, but I’m guessing there is good reason that this doesn’t happen. Just going to have to wait for Apocalypse now I guess.

      • ddttts

        Even if they filled young logan in on what happened it wouldnt matter because the future logan would only remember the original timeline. once his mind snapped back all he could remember is the original timeline plus what he had done in DOFP. this was explained at the beginning of the film.

      • Ryyn

        Thank you

    • Gary Fights

      Remember the scene where Logan first sees Stryker? He freaked out and for a short time future Logan was no longer in control of past Logan. He had no idea who the Professor or Beast were. When he was recovered from the river and wakes up he will have no memory of the events that took place in DOFP. Future Logan was warned before his mind was sent back, he would carry memories from the previous timeline as well as the new timeline. Which explains his confusion over what really happened. His last clear memory from the two timelines was drowning. From that point on, he has two sets of memories. Now we’ll have to see what happens with Apocalypse and future Xmen Movies to see how he gets his Adamantium and if he loses his memory.

  • World’s Finest Comments

    So Bryan Singer stopped Brett Ratner from being born?!

    • Leo Spaceman

      Bryan would have probably been better served stopping himself from relations with underage boys.

      • kevinvannatter

        Uh, given the choice between a world where boys are raped and a world where Brett Ratner makes movies, I’ll take boy rape.

      • World’s Finest Comments

        Last I checked, he hasn’t been proven guilty in a court of law yet.

  • Romina josif

    I really cannot understand why people are struggling with this. At

  • TheDevil’sAdvocate

    Technically also takes The Wolverine out of continuity as well…

  • McA

    Would be so much easier to have said alternate timeline… Io9 did an article on it today;

    Why they can’t said up and say, ‘yep, alternate timeline, X1-X3 plus The Wolverine happened but seriously let’s all forget Wolverine Origins movie. Cool’.

  • David Brami

    Well, since Mystique is alive in the first trilogy (and obviously wouldn’t be if things weren’t changed in future past), i can’t seem to get the point.
    The only thing “possible” is Future past corrects the timeline allows the first trilogy to exist as is. And so Mystiques gets her ass kickd by Striker. Good luck with continuity issues.

    (and Primer kicks ass, thanks for the reminder, ScottX !)

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  • Sam

    does this mean Wolverine wont get his admantium claws?

    • kevinvannatter

      Well, Stryker was in the film but the weird thing was at the end, when Stryker was actually Mystique.

  • Mekt_Ranzz

    I like the way the series has essentially rebooted. It allows for many great things to happen that didn’t in any of the previous X-Men films, such as a better and more faithful cinematic version of The Dark Phoenix Saga. Perhaps the whole psychological double-personality angle of the Phoenix from X3 will tossed out in favor of the original cosmic fiery Phoenix bird from the comic books.

  • kevinvannatter

    Can I just get an explanation of two things: Why is Charles alive in the future if he was killed in X3 and why was Stryker revealed to be Mystique AND be interested in Logan at the end of the film?

    • randommale7

      As much as I don’t like X3, if you watch the end of the credits Charles has transported his consciousness into the man in the coma with Moria Mactaggert. Since he’s rich he probably got plastic surgery to look like himself…

      • kerton

        Which gives us the other problem, Moira in X3 AND First Class without aging the 30ish years she would’ve.

      • GhostD

        As frustrating as this wasn’t and hasn’t yet been explained, there’s a logical assertion as to how he appears as himself at the end of The Wolverine and in DoFP. Xavier is projecting his original appearance, so that even though his consciousness is in a new body, everyone still sees him in the form of his original self.

        Out of all the crazy speculations that I had read and listened to after walking out of The Wolverine, this one made the most sense when I thought about it and still holds up as being the best and simplest explanation that can be given, I believe.

  • Doug

    Here’s a nerd question: what the hell happened to Liev Schrieber/Sabertooth/Logan’s bro? In Origins, they were together until Logan split from Stryker’s group. I can believe that they didn’t spend every single second with each other, but wouldn’t Logan feel obliged to check in with him eventually to make sure he wasn’t rampaging or something? Would it be cool to see Liev return for a Wolverine movie set after DOFP?

    • Phoenix

      Even though Sabretooth and Wolverine’s recruitment by Stryker happened in 1973 (same year as DOFP), we have to assume that the 1973 Wolverine hasn’t gone to the Vietnam War yet. So, for the sake of DOFP (which takes place over a couple of days), the bothers were separated.

      Plus, the future Logan is the one without the memories of his past. So as far as he knows, he killed Sabretooth in “X-Men” and he has no idea that they were brothers. So, when he’s back in his 1973 body, he wouldn’t know to look for his brother.

      According to “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” Logan gets his adamantium in 1979. But since DOFP used the flashbacks from “X2″ instead, they purposefully didn’t want to address the continuity issues. Like how Stryker is depicted as being different age in the same year, or how Emma Frost is a young and alive in 1979, when DOFP says that she’s dead.

      Overall, there are a lot of continuity issues throughout the entire series (mainly due to “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”) but for the most part, DOFP did rectify some of it. And the little Easter Eggs involving Emma Frost’s and Darwin’s powers being used by the sentinels during the last fight in the future was a nice touch.

      The only two things I wished DOFP should’ve addressed was the fact that Mystique had already had Nightcrawler and why Quicksliver’s sister wasn’t the same age.

      • Doug

        From Kinberg the writer. “Actually, there was a little scene that we shot that we ended
        up cutting out of the movie that alluded to [Wanda]. But it was sort of an
        interstitial scene that didn’t push the movie forward, so it ended up
        being cut.

        Anyway, about Wolverine: once the events of the movie are over, and 1970s Logan is himself again, I imagine he would then eventually try to find his brother again. I’m wondering if they’ll bother addressing any of the points from Origins Wolverine in any future movie.

      • Aquartertoseven

        No, the timeline was changed, both were, so you shouldn’t expect events to play out exactly as they did before. Even though it still may happen, it’s not by any means certain.

      • Aquartertoseven

        No, the timeline was changed, both were, so you shouldn’t expect events to play out exactly as they did before. Even though it still may happen, it’s not by any means certain.

  • ʝoe ßloggs

    Kinberg’s immutability of time suggests some form of general pre-destination. A fate or end which cannot be changed. Hence, there are many routes to the same outcome. So, you have a start point and an end point with varying mid paths determined by choices or actions made by the characters. These mid paths cannot exist together. Any skew here will be reconciled over time with the old line into a single line.

    The ultimate destination is the death of all mutants. They will indeed all die, if not at the hands of the Sentinals, then by some other means. You could also argue a utopian point-of-view that death can also be natural, i.e. old age – it doesn’t have to mean a calamitous end.

    This theory references the Time Continuum Paradox – whereby a change in the past creates an alternate reality and introduces a time gap (Time Continuum lag) wherein the original reality and the alternate reality are canalized into a single new combo reality – erasing certain redundancies while still resolving to an immutable end. This could explain Kinberg’s statement: “No it doesn’t completely erase everything…”.

    The Apocalypse story starts at a much earlier period of time. However, due to the events of DoFP, the schedule for Apoc’s involvement changed. This shift can take place anytime after DoFP’s new reality and brought about by any character that has taken on a new spin, e.g. Mystique, Magneto. Wolverine’s knowledge of the future (or the past) has become moot because he’s living in a new reality. His inability to recall is part of the time reconciliation process.

  • TheDarkNut

    DoFP’s ending really only clearly showed two things..1) The future sentinels were never created.. 2) Mystique was not captured and experimented on. That was Logan’s mission and he accomplished it. All the other changes that he woke up to find (Scott and Jean alive, Logan and Hank teachers in the mansion) those things were NOT explained by this movie. There is still a 50 year gap that has to unfold. Do not say that the previous movies were wiped out because clearly they weren’t. It was in X Men that Wolverine and Rogue actually joined up with the team, it was also in X Men that Rogue received the white streaks in her hair(which she clearly had at the end of DoFP). It was in X2 that Wolverine decided to stay on at the school. Also just because the sentinels program was halted why and how would that effect Jean from losing control of her power and killing Scott in X3? The fact that Jean was standing there in all red must have a significant reasoning behind it. Like the Star Trek movies of the last few years some of the same things will happen but somewhere along the line they will play out different. I think Mystique not getting caught then posing as Stryker and taking control of Wolverine when they fished him out of the water will have the most impact on how those movies events would now unfold. Maybe these movies are now closer to Back to the Future than Star Trek.

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  • shabbo

    I have one question. Why the hell have they not included Gambit?

    • Gary

      Because unlike the Marvel Cinematic Universe, there wasn’t an overall agreement between writers and directors with these X-Men movies. Each team of writers have tried to add to Bryan Singer’s beginnings with little sense to a wider story as they introduced characters and killed others off. Since the Marvel Cinematic Universe has shown people how to do it, Bryan Singer is trying to somehow make what has transpired before fit better within the X-Men universe. I see this recent movie as Bryan Singer’s attempt to correct the writers of X3 who felt compelled to end the franchise with a bow. By altering the timeline, any character can now live again for “future” movies.

      However, even Bryan Singer messed this story up in the beginning with Sabertooth leaving nothing for a Wolverine Origin movie in which another team of writers made anyway. They introduced Gambit and no other team has picked him up.

  • Raven

    I think it would’ve been smarter to rewrite the story like they did in First Class instead of trying to connect it with the older x-men trilogy. cause the things in days of future past that didn’t work so well tried exactly this :/

  • MoviesAreForever88

    I’m not sure how the time travel in this movie was confusing. It’s very straightforward.

    The only problem with the ending (and I LOVE the ending, by the way) is that any films that follow the younger X-Men first class generation from here on out, which take place between the new 1973 and the new “altered” future are essentially pointless. I say pointless because we already know who survives because they showed us when Wolverine walked around the Mansion…which, In this case, is just about everyone.

    So, if X-Men Apocalypse takes place shortly after the events of Days of Future Past in the new 1973 (I’ve heard it will take place in the 1980′s)….that means that we don’t even have to worry about Cyclops, Jean, Wolverine, Rogue, Iceman, Colossus, Professor X, etc because we know they make it to the distant future.

    So, what are the stakes?

  • gabe

    I liked DOF… just wished that I would’ve seen Wolverine do some adamatium damage ripping through some sentinals

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  • Xristo

    My opinion is that the time when Wolverine wakes up after preventing the dystoypian future is neither the past nor the future, but something in between. When Beast started talking about how the time is irrevercible it becomes clear that even though the good mutants traveled trough time, the events that took place in the first 3 parts are still going to happen. So even though Jean is alive the only way to prevent the tragic events that occured in the first 3 parts is if Logan and his comrades try to persuade Magnito to make peace and stop fighting against the human race. Either this or an alternate timeline is probably the explanation. I’m still open to debate though :). Fantastic movie btw…

  • des

    So if that whole rock in the river thing applies, would that mean that Jean and Cyclops will die again? If not this whole thing is pretty stupid and just a way to bring the old cast back.

  • guest

    im just saying, this movie takes place after the Vietnam war ended. logan and sabretooth meet stryker during Vietnam. which means at the end of DOFP, wolverine didn’t have his adamantium claws, deadpool was never created, lady deathstrike was never created. another thing is, if they had a serum which suppresses a mutants power back then why didn’t they bring it up in xmen last stand. that would’ve ended the movie right there. and if xmen origins never happened, that means wolverine never lost his memory, which means he should remember everything about his life.

    • guest

      it was a great movie don’t get me wrong. I loved the part where quicksilver is in the pentagon. but theres a few plot holes that have the potential to down grade xmen.

  • Guest

    Unless, when we watch days of future past, this is actually
    the first movie in the series and there is an unknown past that we are aware
    of. wolverine came back to consciousnesses between x1 and x2…before Cyclops and
    jean died, but he’s now aware of it. and the days of future past happened so
    that the other xmen movies could happen. So when he kills jean, he knows he’s
    doing it again, but he also knows inevitably he needs to in order for days of
    future past to happen and in turn make all of this exist.

    thats the only way i want to think about it with out gettin really pissed off. i refuse to believe that the other movies now no longer happened or matter because i loved Origins, X3, etc

  • dit

    Unless, when we watch days of future past, this is actually
    the first movie in the series and there is an unknown past that we are aware
    of. wolverine came back to conscienceness between x1 and x2…before Cyclops and
    jean died, but he’s now aware of it. and the days of future past happened so
    that the other xmen movies could happen. So when he kills jean, he knows he’s
    doing it again, but he also knows inevitably he needs to in order for days of
    future past to happen and in turn make all of this exist.

    thats the only way i want to think about it without getting pissed off because i really loved Origins, X3, etc and i refuse to think those movies now no longer happened

  • vegimorph

    I’m probably going to get a lot of flack for saying this but I do kind of hope Mystique is fully on the good side by Apocalypse or by the end of it. I know that’s not how its done in the comics but it’d be interesting to explore what happens next. (plus I like Jennifer Lawrence a lot.) If it was Rebecca Romijin as Mystique though, then I’d have a different opinion

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