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.
When 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…”
That’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.
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