X-Men: Days of Future Past decimated the established timeline of the franchise. Wolverine's time-hop to 1973 led to mutants being exposed to the public many years earlier, and if you stuck around for the final scene, a ton of character resurrections. It wiped the slate clean, effectively undoing the events of the original X-Men trilogy. If that's the case, then how does the 1983-set X-Men: Apocalypse fit in?
In a new interview with Collider, director Bryan Singer and producer Simon Kinberg stepped up to the plate to field a slew of these time-travel-tangled questions. “[Apocalypse is] not leading necessarily toward exactly where we found Patrick Stewart and the X-Men at the beginning of X-Men 1," says Kinberg. "There are some things that lead in that general direction, that was part of the philosophy we had at the end of Days of Future Past is that you can’t fully change the course or current of the river, but you can just divert it a little bit, and we diverted it a little bit. So some things will be surprises; people could die that were alive in X-Men 1, 2 and 3,or people could survive that died during 1, 2 and 3.”
Singer picks up on the river analogy to further explain the science behind these quantum leaps. “What happens when you use Days of Future Past to erase movies like X1, 2 and 3, yes you can erase those events that occurred, but I also was very adamant about having what we call ‘The Tivo Scene.’ The scene in that room with all the video cameras in Days of Future Past. ‘I developed this piece of technology that records television;’ the point is time’s immutability. The idea that time is like a river. You can splash it and mess it up and throw rocks in it and shatter it but it eventually kind of coalesces and this is, again, quantum physics theory.”
So what is the state of the mutant heroes around the time we first met them in 2000's X-Men? “All these movies now exist in the same timeline," Kinberg explains, "and certainly the intention at the end of Days of Future Past was that final future we saw was the destination for the characters. So barring another time travel or something else that would upset the timeline, that would be the fate of those characters.”
The Days Of Future Past finale saw Wolverine wake up back at Xavier's academy to discover that Jean, Scott, Storm, and Rogue were all still very much alive. Even though the timeline has been reset, the events of Apocalypse - and any future movies - will be headed towards that "Future 2.0" experienced by Wolverine. Everyone alive and happy at Xavier's school.
Now we know with 100% confirmation from Singer and Kinberg that Apocalypse's young versions of Jean, Scott, and Storm will continue forward to that future - but they won't necessarily be the same adult X-Men previously played by Famke Janssen, James Marsden and Halle Berry. As Collider points out, it's an ingenious way of allowing Singer to softly reboot his own franchise, meaning wherever the X-Men series is headed next, anything could happen.
Directed by Bryan Singer and starring Oscar Isaac, James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, Sophie Turner, and Olivia Munn, X-Men: Apocalypse opens on May 19 in the UK, and May 26 in the US.