No, the X-Men continuity is not broken

This Io9 article makes a claim that the X-Men franchise is still continuity bound by the movies that have come before X-Men: Days of Future Past.  I disagree.

This is the time line of the X-Men franchise where Charles Xavier has hair:

First Class(1940s-1960s) – Some future where Magneto is in jail, Xavier has given up, and Mystique is captured by Stryker that potentially bends towards Days of Future Past(dystopian 2023) because of some unknown set of events.

This is the time line where Charles Xavier is bald that was undone by the events in Days of Future Past:

X-Men(1940s) – Wolverine:Origins(1973-1979) – X-Men(2000s) – X2(2000s) – Last Stand(2000s) – The Wolverine(2010s) – Days of Future Past(dystopian 2023)

More importantly, these two time lines are each deflected into a new, third time line that represents the current reality, since the First Class time line would have gone on without being influenced Wolverine being sent back from the Days of Future Past future into the 1973 of the First Class time line.  This is the current reality of the X-Men Cinematic Universe in which the next movie will (should) happen.

First Class(1940s-1960s) – Days of Future Past(1973) – Any future XCU plot that doesn’t alter reality – Days of Future Past(happily ever after 2023)

So, you paid for all those DVDs but they no longer matter; things that didn’t happen because of Days of Future Past didn’t happen.  Logan remembers them happening, but they exist only in an alternate reality from the one he wakes up in at the end of the movie.

For example, we don’t get to see his claws at the end of the movie, but based on the reality as we know it, we would have seen that he has bone claws, not because his adamantium claws were broken by the Silver Samurai in the 2010s and the bone grew back as we saw in The Wolverine, but because he never got them in the first place because Stryker never put the adamantium in him in 1979 because the federal softening of the response to the “mutant threat” started in 1973 under Nixon, not in the late 2000s under some nameless president as shown in Last Stand, so Stryker isn’t free to spend time or money on the programs in Wolverine: Origins or X2.

Presumably other bad shit happens (duh, Apocalypse), so you could end up with an adamantium enhanced Wolverine, but the origin story we thought we knew is from an alternate world, not the one that doesn’t get destroyed between 1973 and 2023 and where Jean and Scott don’t die, Rogue doesn’t get the cure, and Logan doesn’t freak out and live in the woods, then meet one cute Japanese girl and fall in love with another one.  In other words, any time line that includes the events of Wolverine: Origins or The Wolverine did not happen in the reality we see at the end of Days of Future Past.

As to the specifics:

Professor X dies in Last Stand but transfers his consciousness to a different body in the end credits, so he should look different and be able to walk.  Meh.  In the comics this is his brain-dead twin brother and he can’t walk because of “psychic trauma”.  The X-Men Cinematic Universe has shown it doesn’t have to be consistent with the comics.  He is a massively powerful psychic – and we know he is vain from First Class, so he does look like a different person, but he just makes everyone think he looks the same.  And the legs not working can have a similar macguffin explanation to how he can walk in Days of Future Past but not use his mutant abilities.  As retcons go, not that big of a deal and isolated to a defunct time line so the details are truly irrelevant now.

Emma Frost has two different, incongruous incarnations in the two time lines; one as a older person in the 1960’s, one as a younger person in the 1970s.  TWO TIME LINES.  The younger, Wolverine: Origins version never happens after the events in Days of Future Past.  They are alternate realities, deal with it.

Summers brothers and the perpetual adolescence of Storm and Cyclops.  First, in the X-Men Cinematic Universe, the relationship between Scott Summers and Alex Summers begins and ends with a shared last name, so the 40 year old brother problem is a non-problem.  Second, just mention (anywhere) that the early version of Cerebro wasn’t tuned properly so the psychic projection of a mutant that it picked up wasn’t always temporally consistent – when you see the “Storm” or “Cyclops” projection, they weren’t in the 1960s, which is why you don’t see them get recruited in the 1960s.

Mystique and Professor X don’t get chummy in X-Men, X2, or Last Stand In Days of Future Past, Mystique is captured and used to create sentinels.  Based on how well Trask is shown to be at keeping what he captures, and then killing it when he is done (he captures and kills Azazel, for example), it probably isn’t reasonable to think that if X-Men, X2, and Last Stand are in the same time line as the 1970s portion of Days of Future Past, since Mystique would likely be dead.  And, since there aren’t sentinels swooping in when Three Mile Island happens, or when Liberty Island happens, or when Alcatraz happens, that also means that First Class isn’t in that time line, which irons out the other little nits about when Erik and Xavier met (because they did meet when they were teens), and why Mystique has forgiven Magneto for trying to kill her in Paris (because it didn’t happen).

Sabretooth.  Victor Creed is an asshole who we see being consumed by his blood lust over the course of the Wolverine: Origins.  He escapes Three Mile Island and 20 years pass before we see him again, now more bestial and less human.  That he doesn’t recognize Logan is a symptom of the beast winning over the man and shows another of the various subtle differences between Thomas Logan’s son’s mutations.

Moira MacTaggart.  See #2.  Two different time lines.  Each has a woman named Moira MacTaggart who is important to Charles Xavier.  They aren’t the same woman.  At the end of the events of Days of Future Past, the CIA agent Moira MacTaggart is in the primary time line.

Magneto.  In the First Class time line, before the Days of Future Past time travel, Magneto spends 1973 in a cell.  Once you convince Xavier to break him out, the First Class time line ends and all manner of indeterminacy is unleashed that leads to the new XCU time line.  The Erik-Raven relationship is clearly important in the way things played out, namely, just not killing Trask versus having a mutant save Nixon on live television from another mutant.  Magneto being a bad guy cements the need to have other mutants being the good guys.  Because Trask didn’t die in Paris but things in the 2023 where Wolverine is being sent from don’t get better, it is clear that merely not killing Trask doesn’t keep the Sentinels from being built; how you don’t kill Trask matters.

Miscellany.  Nothing said in X-Men, X2, Last Stand, or the Wolverine movies that gets contradicted in First Class is applicable – they are two different time lines with different starting points that are forced to cross when Wolverine goes back in time from one to the other to create a third, new time line.

Weapon X.  As above, Weapon X never happens, and Wolverine has only the memories from the original X-Men time line, plus the events of Days of Future Past.  He has the memories of the growing up with Victor, of being in Hiroshima, working for Stryker, the Island, the amnesia bullet, Liberty Island, Alkali Lake, Alcatraz, the woods, Japan, and the war against the sentinels.  He is a man out of time.  Anything that happened to him during the 50 years from the time he drowned in Days of Future Past’s 1973 all the way through to the time when he wakes up in Days of Future Past’s happily ever after 2023 is unknown to him; time travel and alternate reality are his new amnesia bullet.

Time Travel, the original retcon.


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