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.

X-Men Trilogy

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.

Wolverine

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.

First Class

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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Comments 23 comments

thebiologyofleah profile image

thebiologyofleah 2 years ago from Massachusetts

I think my approach to seeing the newest film is to just enjoy it and not think too much about the timeline. I think it's clever but also really convenient for the writers that they are introducing time travel as a way to get everyone into this movie. I hope it all works out, plot-wise. I am looking forward to it!


Nickalooch profile image

Nickalooch 2 years ago from Columbia, MD Author

it is also their way of "fixing" the timeline so they can keep going as well.


Nickalooch profile image

Nickalooch 2 years ago from Columbia, MD Author

it is also their way of "fixing" the timeline so they can keep going as well.


Stevennix2001 profile image

Stevennix2001 2 years ago

Actually, they explained how xavier comes back in x3, when you watch it. I honestly don't know why so many people missed that part of x3. granted, it sucked for the most part, but in the film, there's a scene where charles xavier explains how telepathic mutants can transfer their consciousness into comatose bodies. It was in the classroom scene where xavier was telling storm how he was teaching PHYSICS. Then at an end credit scene of x3, we hear xavier's voice coming out of what looks like to be a comatose body; hence they did explain how xavier survived in x3. Just saying.

Also, since I noticed your writing these hubs on fox's expanded universe for their superhero movies, you think you'll do another one for sony's expanded spider-man universe soon? Because i know sony did say that they want to have their own expanded universe too with spider-man, so that might be a fun read if you decide to write about it.


Nickalooch profile image

Nickalooch 2 years ago from Columbia, MD Author

I remember that whole thing about Xavier but still has does he then go and make that comatose body...his own? Was Patrick Stewart cloned? Bryan Singer has stated that he is essentially righting some wrongs in the franchise...so I'll take it for what it is.

Yes, I will do one for Spider-Man now that you mention it. I grew a little tired of writing about the Avengers. lol.


Stevennix2001 profile image

Stevennix2001 2 years ago

hi buddy. long time no see. how are you doing these days? Btw, have you heard about Channing Tatum being officially cast to play Gambit in "X-Men Apocalypse?" What do you think of the casting? I know you told me what you thought before, but i just wanted to see if you might've changed your mind. I know I haven't. lol.


ironangel89 profile image

ironangel89 2 years ago from United States

I wish Marvel Studios could have the rights back to the X-Men properties; so much so that I wrote a hub about it. I agree with Nickalooch, how did Xavier transfer his mind into his other body which was obliterated? Did he send it through time as well? That seems like a stretch. Xavier also said that he met Erik when they were 17 in the first X-Men movie, First Class says otherwise. Sabertooth was supposedly Wolverine's brother or like his brother yet in the first X-Men movie he doesn't recognize him or even resemble his old self. Those are some of the continuity errors I've observed. lol

Now, the poorly portrayed characters can be listed:

Cyclops - never portrayed as a leader, just a goody-goody teacher's pet but with no presence of authority that he has in the comics.

Rogue - not the sassy, fun, and POWERFUL character she is in the comics. Rogue is supposed to be lively, not emo (thanks X-Men Evolution).

Storm - Halle Barry? Really? Storm should be a genuine African actresses with much more say in decisions.

X-Men team - I wanted to see more planning and training and banter and fun between the group. I want to see Cyclops get into it with Wolverine, full on fight. That type of stuff you see in the comics.

As for Channing Tatum being cast as Gambit, fml.


Nickalooch profile image

Nickalooch 2 years ago from Columbia, MD Author

I think it is a bad move to cast Channing Tatum, but I also think its a business move on their side. they realize their time with Hugh Jackman carrying the so-called torch of the X-Men Franchise is coming to an end so they feel that Tatum, will be that new face. I don't think he will be a bad Gambit, but he won't be a good one either.

I am doing okay, might have to go under the knife again. There has been more complications as of late but it keeps me writing. I actually wrote a short story that I posted on here too. Last week was the first time I actually got out to see a movie in theaters this entire year. lol.


Nickalooch profile image

Nickalooch 2 years ago from Columbia, MD Author

Ironangel, there is just no consistency. It is haphazardly made and I think casting Tatum again shows that. Now they want Tatum to be the face of the franchise. How about cast a good Cyclops and make him that face?


Stevennix2001 profile image

Stevennix2001 2 years ago

@ironangel89

Actually in the first x-men movie it was never implied, or stated, that sabretooth didn't know who wolverine was, or didn't recognize him. It was only wolverine who didn't recognize him, and that's easily explained by the fact that he lost his memories. Sabretooth kept the military chain necklace from their first encounter, so I'd like to think he kept it because it was a reminder of his brother, so I doubt that was a continuity error.

However, the fact that Mystique showed little to no remorse in hurting Xavier in the first x-men movie, even though they're established as being close in first class,...now that's a continuity error. The fact that xavier can walk in a flashback scene in x3, but he's shot in the back in first class is a continuity error. But then again, Singer did say that'll be explained in x-men days of future past, so we'll have to wait and see on that.

Also, the reason why Cyclops is severely underdeveloped is because when Singer directed the first two movies, he even said he wanted Wolverine to be the main character for a few reasons. 1) he's the most iconic and marketable x-men character to date. That's just a fact. Hell, the x-men weren't even that popular until after he joined the team.

2) Singer wanted to tell the story of the x-men from the point of view of a person that wasn't particularly drawn to either side of the equation (i.e. xavier or magneto's side). He wanted a character who was essentially neutral finding out about the x-men to have sort of an unbiased point of view. Sadly, this meant that other characters had to be intentionally underdeveloped like Cyclops for example, as you brought up. The reason why he was intentionally underdeveloped was because the first two x-men movies wanted to focus it on wolverine's point of view; hence they had to either make Cyclops an asshole, or make him a tragically underdeveloped character because if they did develop his character, then it would've made their most marketable one (wolverine) look like a giant asshole for going after Jean Grey, who is obviously dating cyclops.

It's the same reason why Rose's fiance in "Titanic" had to be portrayed as a manipulative douchebag with little to no redeeming qualities because if he did even have a hint of redeeming quality in him, then rose would've looked like a slut for the fact that she was cheating on her fiance with Jack Dawson; which essentially what she was when you think about it. However, since her fiance was portrayed as an asshole, then people tend to overlook that fact, and forgive rose for wanting to cheat on him.

The same rules apply to almost any genre of movies. If Cyclops had been portrayed the same way as you're suggesting, then the reality is it might've backfired to the point that Wolverine would look like a giant asshole, and Fox doesn't want to make their most marketable x-men character look bad on the big screen.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying I agree with it, but I can understand why Fox did it that way. As for x-men 3, I can only assume that Bret Ratner probably just wanted to keep the franchise feeling the same, when he took over.

As far as Storm goes, I don't think it's fair to say that Halle's portrayal of storm is all her fault. The reality is she was very under utilized in the first two x-men movies to the point that she had to demand a bigger role in x men 3, after she became a big star by that point. Unfortunately, since Storm has little to do with wolverine that much, she was reduced to a supporting character in the first two movies, so you can't really blame Halle for that if the script never allows her to play a bigger role.

I'm not touching the rogue one. No pun intended. As for the x men team thing, I agree with you; which is why i still say "X-Men: First Class" is by far the best one yet because it's an actual TEAM movie, and not one that's based on one person's point of view.

Also, I don't know if you follow a lot of movie news or not, but Clevvermovies on youtube said that the producer of the x-men movies, Laura Schuler-Donnor, confirmed that "x-men days of future past" will retcon some of the movies out of the continuity completely. Like she said that only "x-men first class", the first two x-men movies, and the wolverine will now be the only ones that are cannon after x-men days of future past comes out. Meaning that all the time travel stuff that happens is going to retcon movies like "x-men origins wolverine" and "x-men 3" to where they never happened, so you won't be able to consider them canon anymore after x-men days of future past fyi. ;)


Stevennix2001 profile image

Stevennix2001 2 years ago

@nickalooch

Wow, I'm sorry to hear that. Well I hope it all works out for you. You're not dying are you?

Also, I did notice your review on godzilla, so I'm guessing that was the movie you saw. I saw that one recently too, but i haven't gotten a chance to review it yet. As far as your short story, I didn't see that up last night, but ill definitely check it out. Anyways, I hope you feel better soon.


Nickalooch profile image

Nickalooch 2 years ago from Columbia, MD Author

No it's just my knee but it is an arthritis issue mostly. It's just the matter of getting the right treatment at this time. But now I have enough bend in my knee to finally be able to sit comfortably. I am on the mend. but itll still take sometime.

I've still been working on the superhero webseries, working on a novel, and short stories in the meantime. I appreciate the concern though bud.


Stevennix2001 profile image

Stevennix2001 2 years ago

hey no problem. Did the doctors say you'd be able to walk though soon? As far as your superhero webseries, I didn't even know you were working on something like that. Is that going to be on youtube? Or on here? Also, were you still going to do a hub on the spider-man cinematic universe?


Nickalooch profile image

Nickalooch 2 years ago from Columbia, MD Author

It is all moving at all a slow pace. Doctors can't really definitively say when anything will happen. The webseries will be on youtube and I probably won't do one on Spider-Man either.


ironangel89 profile image

ironangel89 2 years ago from United States

@Stevennix2001

Wow, big comment. I see what you mean by a lot of the points you made above. Except for one, Singer failed at portraying X-Men from an unbiased point of view from Wolverine's perspective because there was never a moment where Wolverine could see things from Magneto's perspective on the whole mutant/human relations. Also, I still say that Cyclops should have been more developed and portrayed as the leader because that's what he is, I won't budge lol Also, Wolverine is kind of an ass or used to be, it'd be nice to see him portrayed as a character that you either love or hate, you don't have to try and make him lovable to be relatable. Honestly, Wolverine should have been a character that you either love or hate. Also, I'm just not a big Halle Barry fan, I suppose it isn't her fault for how her portayel was in the films and it was hypocritical of me to say that since I always advocate for Ben Affleck being an actually good Daredevil in a poorly written film. But all your points are good points for sure.

I do hope they retcon a lot of stuff, however, I will always, as a comic book fan, want X-Men back with Marvel Studios. But at this point I'm sounding like a broken record lol


Stevennix2001 profile image

Stevennix2001 2 years ago

@ironangel

Fair enough. lol. I doubt in all honesty that the x-men will ever go back to marvel. I mean when you look at their history in the comics, they're history is almost as big as the non x men side of marvel's universe, so they can literally make movies for over 50 more years possibly based on their current movie universe alone.

However, you might get your wish with Spider-man though, as it looks like it might lose money. The reason I say that is because it's been reported that Sony spent like over 200 million dollars on marketing the amazing spider-man 2. Take in mind, that doesn't include the overall production budget, as they spent 200 million alone in marketing the movie. Most blockbuster films don't spend that much when it comes to marketing their films. Not even the Marvel studios or disney spends that much to advertise their movies, but sony did.

Sadly, this means sony's new spider-man film has to make at least 700 million dollars to break even now. Otherwise it'll lose money for sony, which could put their plans for a spider-man cinematic universe in jeopardy. Granted, it's still too early to tell, but I doubt Sony is going to make that much of a profit off amazing spider-man 2 this year, as i predict it'll probably end up somewhere with 800 to around 700 million dollars optimistically. Another thing that killed amazing spider-man 2 is the fact that it couldn't dominate two weeks in a row like it should've as i honestly didn't expect neighbors to dethrone it two weeks ago, so it'll be interesting to see how well it does. i think it'll break even at least, but whether it'll join the billion dollar club like sony probably expected is another story entirely.


ironangel89 profile image

ironangel89 2 years ago from United States

Yeah, I haven't seen the new Spider-Man yet, but yes, I want my friendly neighborhood Spider-man back at home base too lol. Really, once Spider-Man is back (which I agree is likely to happen) that only leaves X-Men, Fantastic Four, and Namor (not sure how Universal still has those rights) to return home.

But I fear you may be right about the X-Men thing, but I can keep dreaming lol


Stevennix2001 profile image

Stevennix2001 2 years ago

I thought Namor was already back with Marvel a long time ago, as I remember reading about that somewhere. I think Marvel probably isn't using namor at the moment because they probably haven't figured out a place for him yet. Heck, they still haven't given us a black panther movie, which is one property they should've tried to adapt by now.

As far as fantastic four goes, i think a lot of it depends on how well next year's movie will do. If it bombs, then I doubt fox is going to do anything with them anymore, so marvel will probably get the rights back. However, if it does bomb, then I wouldn't count on marvel doing anything with them for a very long time...at least for ten more years.


Nickalooch profile image

Nickalooch 2 years ago from Columbia, MD Author

I know I am late to the party, but I just saw Spider-Man 2. Boy oh boy oh boy. I cannot wait to review it, and no that is not a good thing. I was in no hurry to see the movie as I expected it to fall short a bit and god lord they showed far too much in the trailers. If you saw the trailers, congratulations, don't pay for a ticket. You've seen the whole movie at the comfortable viewing of your own home for the price of nothing. Tip of the hat to you guys Sony, really played your hand well. *Vent over* lol

Okay, as for Sony losing their rights. I think it'll happen more because they HAD plans to make a Spider-Man film every year. Good luck after how lukewarm this was received. I think Marvel would be happy to have him, and I'd hope Andrew Garfield could swing back into the costume. I read something about if Marvel does buy the rights to Spiderman they could buy him outright. Meaning all the films would be considered canon for the MCU. I don't know if Marvel would want to do that, considering Norman Osborn, Harry and so on. Those are villains they could use moving forward. As for Spidey fitting in with the group, I would love nothing more then to see a scene between Robert Downey Jr and Andrew Garfield in their respective parts. The sarcastic humor alone would make it worth while, and with Whedon writing the script. Wonderful. Except sadly, I don't see Marvel doing any of this with Garfield's age and they'd most likely play Spidey as a younger character to set himself apart from the rest of the group. Then they could have a passing of the torch kind of moment between Iron Man/Cap to Spiderman for when they inevitable leave (IMO).

As for the X-Men, I don't even think Marvel is thinking about them. I think they'd rather have Namor, and the Fantastic Four. Fantastic Four especially considering then they'd get the rights to Galactus and Silver Surfer and all the stories they could tell there.


Nickalooch profile image

Nickalooch 2 years ago from Columbia, MD Author

Universal still has rights to Namor and apparently they have a project coming together with possibly Zac Efron in the role. That has been a rumor this week.

As for Black Panther, I think he will continue to be hinted at and seeing how apparently according to rumors the opening act of Avengers 2 takes place in South Africa... it sounds like Wakanda will once again be mentioned as will Vibranium. There is a rumor that actually Ultron's suit is made from vibranium that Baron von Strucker's men acquired from Wakanda where the Avengers tried to intercept them. Apparently, before Avengers 2, I don't know when else in accordance to the other films in phase 2 but Tony turned his Stark Tower into Avengers Tower while making upgrades to fit everyone's needs and even making special Avenger costumes. (really its just an A on everyone's outfit. ive seen Captain Americas suit and Hawkeyes) All of this is still just rumors, but the Wakanda reference would make sense. Maybe even have a quick T'Challa cameo where he disagrees with the Avengers coming into his kingdom. It also does not sound like he'll get his own film in Phase 3 sadly.


Stevennix2001 profile image

Stevennix2001 2 years ago

That is very sad because if there's one thing that's missing in this superhero fad these days is diversity. Sure, you can argue saying that black widow had a big role cap 2, but that still wasn't her movie though. I'd like to see a stand alone superhero film with a minority or a female character before this superhero fad goes away after avengers 3. After that point, it might never happen, so i really hope to see some diversity soon.


Nickalooch profile image

Nickalooch 2 years ago from Columbia, MD Author

Apparently they really want to introduce Carol Danvers (Ms Marvel). They feel she has more then enough to have her own film, although I don't know exactly what her one singular enemy would be. Black Panther will happen, and I don't agree that the fad will go away after 3. it'll be interesting to see, but people will flock to these movies as long as they are made and as long as the quality remains intact. Marvel has done nothing to make me think otherwise. I'd say their films have improved greatly from Phase 1 to Phase 2.

As for diversity, I do believe Black Panther is coming as they do have a script ready for it as well. Ms Marvel would be another. I don't think a Black Widow film would work anymore in their universe. Outside of Ms Marvel and Black Widow I can't think of any other female character that would get a film treatment. Luke Cage and Iron Fist would add diversity but they are going to be Netflix series'


Stevennix2001 profile image

Stevennix2001 2 years ago

Well I'm hoping they introduce ms. marvel if only to encourage DC and WB to finally do a wonder woman movie, and to prove to them that a GOOD female superhero film is possible.

I do agree with you that each phase is getting better, but I still think that this whole superhero movie craze is a fad, but I'll save most of my thoughts on that for Critic's Corner that'll be coming back soon.

Also, I don't think Disney is going to buy back the rights to spider-man, as I think they'd rather get him back for free by sony not utilizing the rights to the character. But then again, maybe Sony might offer them a deal that they can't refuse. Who knows?

In any case, I doubt in all honesty that the same continuity we're seeing in amazing spider-man will continue into the mcu if spider-man's rights do go back to marvel. The reason I say that is because it would create too many plot holes within both continuities when you think about it.

The first avengers movie took place in new york. Spider-man lives in new york. Therefore, where the hell was spidey during that whole centari business? Granted, you could argue that maybe peter wasn't spider-man yet by that point. Fair enough. However, if that's the case, then why wasn't it ever mentioned in the spider-man films then? Why wasn't there at least a blur in the news saying something about the avengers kicking ass in new york city?

Also, where the hell was shield during that whole electro business? Why didn't they get involved in the lizard conflict? And most of all, why hasn't shield done anything to oscorp? Now, you and I both know the answer to these, but most general audiences who don't follow movie news a lot won't. So to them, it's going to create a huge continuity error, and create plot holes that'll kind bog down the mcu.

That's why I honestly think if Spider-man does go back to marvel, then chances are you're going to see them reboot it again completely. Start from scratch with another actor, and then go from there. I know a lot of fanboys want to see Garfield interact with other members of the avengers, and I do too. Hell, I'd love to see Garfield joking around with hulk like spidey does in the comics. However, it probably won't happen. It's possible, but I think it's easier for them to just reboot spider-man again if marvel does get the rights back. But then again, that's just me.

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