The X-Men Cinematic Timeline
This article came up as a suggestion to me by someone on this site, and while at first I thought it to be a daunting task, I quickly learned that X-Men's timeline is not that convoluted. Instead, it comes together pretty nicely, albeit it has some weird aspects that do not match up with the continuity of the films but the filmmakers certainly took some liberties to deliver some better films. All in all, Bryan Singer and company have done a good job putting together a very solid bunch of films on one of the most popular comic book series. That being said, it has been met with certain disdain by the most devout of X-Men fans for the poor portrayal of certain characters and the horrible finale to the original X-Men trilogy. However, without further delay we will take a look at the films up until this point.
The original trilogy is the easiest of the films to say where they go in the timeline and it is easier to say that for the most part, they come after First Class and before The Wolverine. The film introduced us to several key characters throughout the franchise such as Magneto, Charles Xavier, Wolverine and many others. Those three especially would go on to become the staples of the franchise. In the first film, Magneto was established as the main villain while hinting at his previous friendship with Charles. Magneto had a group of mutants under his charge under the name of the Brotherhood of Mutants. Together they had a vision of turning all humans into mutants like themselves. The second film took a turn as no longer was Magneto the villain, instead humans were as they were viewed as a threat. William Stryker, the man responsible for Wolverine's adamantium running through his bones, was the man leading the charge to eradicate mutant-kind. The film ended with a sacrifice by Jean Grey, a powerful telepath who had much more power then she realized however it was teased that she had become something else. The third film continued sometime after the events of the second film where the Xavier Academy had became a positive influence to all mutants. Wolverine and Storm were the leaders while Cyclops had become so distraught in the wake of Jean's death. This leads to him checking the lake in which she had passed away, only to find her alive in the form of the Phoenix. Meanwhile, Magneto has risen to power once more with more mutants following his lead as he marches against humanity once more as they look to be rid of mutants through the means of a cure. In this film, one of the key moments in what many would say was the worst of the three films, Phoenix killed Charles Xavier. This has led to some confusion for the film coming this summer.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine would have come directly before the X-Men trilogy. The film showed us how he had received his adamantium claws while also delving into the relationship between him and Sabretooth. Essentially, the two were brothers and frequently took on mercenary jobs together which led them both to meeting William Stryker. Stryker wanted them to murder innocent people, which Wolverine had an issue with leading to him becoming a normal man and falling in love with Kayla Silverfox. Of course, you can never outrun your past as Sabretooth tracks him down and seemingly kills Kayla. Wolverine fights his one time friend, but Sabretooth is some how stronger then ever and breaks his old friend's bone claws. Due to this, it eventually leads to Stryker giving Wolverine his renewed claws and in hopes of awakening the animal inside of him. Yet, all of this of course back fires on Stryker's plans.
The Wolverine took place after the X-Men trilogy while also coming directly X-Men: Days of Future Past. In this film, we see Wolverine has become a recluse as he mourns the fact that he has killed so many, including the woman he loved. At the conclusion of X-Men 3, Jean Grey asked him to kill her to be rid of the Phoenix inside of her. The result of this has tortured Wolverine as he constantly dreams about her and what he did. It is almost as if the ordeal had left an open wound inside of him that he could not heal through his natural abilities. Of course he gets called back into action by an old friend who he saved years ago that promises to take his healing abilities, allowing him to die a natural death putting an end to his suffering as he constantly sees others around him fade away. This was all just a ruse but the film ends a bit questionably as his adamantium claws are destroyed but as he arrives back in America he is greeted by Charles Xavier and Magneto which leads directly into Days of Future Past. How Xavier is alive suddenly? Well I guess we will just have to wait this summer for that answer.
X-Men First Class would be the first film in the timeline as it features Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr in their early days. This was also before Erik would go on to become Magneto as the two worked together to build a better future for mutant-kind. Aside from that, they faced off against the Hellfire Club, led by Sebastian Shaw, who viewed themselves as the better men and looked to eradicate man kind. This train of thought was shared by Erik, but he was on a path of revenge as Shaw was responsible for the death of his mother at a concentration camp when he was a child. The film also showcased how Charles and Erik came from completely different upbringings which largely affected their view on the world and how mutants are treated by mankind.
The sequel to First Class will be Days of Future Past which takes place shortly after it's previous installment. However, it does introduce time travel as in the future from the original trilogy where all mutants are hunted down by giant robots known as Sentinels. With their lives on the line, Charles and Erik devise a plan to send Wolverine back into the past to alter the events of their timeline so that the Sentinels never exist. Charles explains to Wolverine that he will have to guide his younger self and be patient with him while Erik explains that his younger self was in a dark place. It is tough to speculate further then that, but the film will look to fix the timeline and most likely help to bring back characters that died such as Cyclops and Jean Grey. It is also safe to say that the film will have some way to introduce Apocalypse as he is the villain for the next film.
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