Fans who were hoping to get clarity from Bryan Singer’s X-Men: Days of Future Past might find themselves walking away a bit disappointed. Aside from clarifying a few things here or there, like Xavier getting crippled in 1962 and shown walking again in later years, not a whole lot was explained. Even more frustrating, for fans who were hoping to finally have a coherent X-Men universe, is that the film creates a lot more questions to add to the backlog of already puzzling quandaries. It should go without saying, but looking into those questions will necessarily require spoilers, so consider yourself warned.
8. So is Jean gonna go Dark Phoenix again, or did that get taken care of somehow?
The most noticeable change to the timeline when Wolverine wakes up in a new and improved future is that Jean Grey and Scott Summers aren’t dead anymore… then again I was never all that sure that Scott was really dead, since we never saw his body, but that’s a moot point now. Scott’s “sorta-kinda death” has been undone and Jean’s “very definitive death” has too.
While that’s very good news, it’s also potentially disturbing news because it leaves one wondering if Jean is a ticking time bomb of unrelenting rage waiting to go off like she did in X-Men: The Last Stand. Did that already happen in this timeline? Did young Xavier get enough info from reading future Logan’s mind to realize what a big problem that was gonna be and figure out a way to head it off at the pass? Has her death at Alkali Lake been undone too, meaning that she’s still got a resurrection as a power mad psycho in her potential future?
Chances of an Answer: Pretty Likely.
With the franchise reset to 1973, it seems very likely that this question will eventually get explored. If it’s not addressed in the upcoming X-Men: Apocalypse, there will be plenty of other chances to explore the issue.
7. How the hell did Kitty figure out she can send other peoples minds back in time?
Due to a lack of time machines in the X-Men movie universe, a more unconventional plot device is needed to get the ball rolling on changing history. Kitty Pryde is revealed to have the ability to send a person’s mind backwards in time so they can alert the team of impending Sentinel attacks. This requires a bit of disbelief-suspending above and beyond what is normally necessary for a movie about people who have super powers. Is it too incredibly difficult to think that someone who has the ability to put a person out of phase with 3 dimensional objects could put their mind out of phase with 4 dimensional time? Maybe.
The question more puzzling, though, than how Kitty can shift someone’s mind through time, is how she came by the knowledge that she can do it at all. Her basic ability to walk through walls is an easy one to stumble onto. It’s something that could just accidentally happen to her. Figuring out that she can shift a person’s consciousness seems incredibly unlikely to happen accidentally. It’s even less plausible that she would have figured it out by giving it a try just for the hell of it.
Chances of an Answer: Slim.
There might be a deleted or extended scene coming up the pike that addresses this. Lacking that, a future movie could show the new timeline’s Kitty figure this ability out on her own. Both possibilities seem remote though. Kitty’s new power seems to be the best route that Singer and his colleagues could find for getting the time travel stuff off the ground without a need for complications, so it doesn’t seem like something that will get expanded on or even mentioned again.
6. Why does Trask’s martyrdom take over 30 years to get the Sentinel Program up and running?
Early on in the movie it’s explained by future Xavier that the rise of Sentinels taking over everything was set in motion by Mystique killing Bolivar Trask and giving the anti-mutant crowd a martyr to rally around. This idea makes sense if you don’t linger too long on it. An important industrialist who warned everyone who would listen about the dangers of mutants being proved right via his own murder seems like the perfect thing to turn the tide of public opinion against mutants.
The problem that becomes clear with just a little bit of extra contemplation is, why wasn’t this turning of the tide more immediate? All of the post-1973 movies show practically no indication that giant robots hunting mutants was ever a thing.The only hint of Sentinels up till now was a brief glimpse of one in a Danger Room simulation in the third movie. That doesn’t make clear if Sentinels are a present day concern, or a concept in talks that Xavier wants his students to be prepared for just in case. The lack of any giant robots at Alcatraz when Magneto and his army of mutants attack Worthington Labs makes the latter scenario seem more likely than the former. For being such a rally point for the anti-mutant crowd, Trask’s memory sure failed to get much rallying done.
Chances of an Answer: Unlikely.
This is another case where there might be some bonus material out there that sheds light on the matter. Short of that there’s little chance that any sequels will deal with the matter now that it’s been written out of history.
5. In the original timeline, how did Mystique escape from Trask Industries?
The other big contributing factor to the original timeline getting all dark and gloomy is Mystique getting captured by Trask’s goons after successfully killing him. Study of her physiology eventually led to the creation of the superior Sentinels seen in the future that can adapt to and mimic mutant powers. Like the martyrdom of Trask, this is a concept that only makes sense if approached with minimal curiosity.
Once the situation is looked at with more intense scrutiny, a big question becomes obvious. How did Raven Darkholme escape the clutches of Trask Industries and end up with Magneto’s newer, smaller brotherhood in the first movie? The security around her must have been tight as hell. Any rescue attempt should surely have been undertaken by people that had some idea of how valuable the knowledge of her biology was. So why didn’t her rescue also involve the destruction of that data?
Chances of an Answer: Unlikely.
Once again, the only chance at getting more info lies in whatever bonus material ends up on DVD and Blu-ray. Whatever sequence of events resulted in Mystique being freed from Trask Industries is part of a timeline that has been nullified. It’d be nice to imagine that Magneto eventually rescued her, but that only leads to a bigger question…
4. In the original timeline, how did Magneto escape from the Pentagon?
Once all the exposition and time travel are taken care, the first big challenge for Wolverine and past Xavier is breaking Magneto out of his special prison cell beneath The Pentagon. This gives the movie a chance to briefly feel sort of like a mini-heist flick with a recruitment scene and a daringly executed plan. After a bit of smooth maneuvering Logan, Charles and Erik are off to save Mystique from a horrible fate and the audience are hopefully focusing more on the important stakes of stopping her from killing Trask than they are on the big glaring question opened up by that recent escape.
If we look at the pre-mental-time-travel version of events, a big problem emerges for Magneto. He’s stuck in a non-magnetic prison deep beneath the center of the US Military Industrial Complex with no one to save him. Xavier wouldn’t have had any reason to spring him. Mystique was soon to fall into the clutches of Trask Industries. The rest of Magneto’s Brotherhood from the end of X-Men: First Class had been wiped out already. The one guy with the skills and powers capable of helping Wolverine get the job done was only around because Wolverine would someday meet him. That means all of the prime candidates for springing Erik Lehnsherr out of that hell hole are off the table. This and the problem with Mystique being captured are especially frustrating because the two characters most likely to rescue each other would first need to be rescued by each other. It’s a beautifully twisted catch-22 of a plot snag.
Chances of an Answer: Unlikely.
Yet again we have a burning question that will either be answered by some bonus content or left dangling forever. If there isn’t some kind of deleted scene or other special feature that addresses this, the sequels that take place in an entirely new timeline will have absolutely no reason to mention it.
3. Why does future Wolverine have metal claws again?
One of the most satisfying things about Days of Future Past is how it serves as a follow up to pretty much every previous X-Men movie no matter when they took place. The most recent of those previous movies to be followed up is The Wolverine which threw in a mid-credit bonus scene meant specifically for linking the two movies. That scene was a neat little signal to fans that all roads were leading to the same place. Unfortunately the scene also highlights a bump in that same road.
When he sees Magneto, Wolverine immediately pops out his claws and viewers are reminded that he’s back to having bone claws because his metal ones got sheared off by The Silver Samurai. So it would make sense that the future Wolverine of 2023 should still have his bone claws, which would perhaps make things a tad bit easier for the effects department by not requiring two sets of claws. Frustratingly though, when Logan’s sleeping body starts thrashing about because of things going wrong in the past, out comes a set of adamantium claws. This brief scene creates a jarring discrepancy for attentive audience members who are now left to wonder if they missed something or not.
Chances of an Answer: Very Unlikely.
While it remains possible that some special feature on DVD or BluRay might address this, it seems far more likely that this is a technical error that the film makers will hope fans forget, kind of like Xavier’s line in the original X-Men about when he met Magneto. Chances are this will end up being another flub that we’re expected to ignore, which is okay because it’s not even the most vexing question about Wolverine we’re left to ponder…
2. What happened to the mind of the alternate Wolverine?
While Days of Future Past is primarily told from the point of view of an older Logan traveling through time, we’re given a brief glimpse of his past counterpart and it’s rather disturbing. When things go haywire during the attempted assassination of Trask, Logan gets a look at William Stryker and the experience is so jarring that his mind is briefly unanchored while his past self emerges in a confused and terrified state. From that Logan’s perspective, he went to bed next to some woman and has woken up in an unfamiliar room filled with people he doesn’t know. Once future Wolverine takes over again, his past self presumably goes back to sleep and will eventually wake up after his body is pulled out of the Potomac River… and then what?
At the end of the movie Logan wakes up in the alternate future that he’s helped to create and everything seems hunky dory. There’s one big unsettling problem though. What’s become of the consciousness that inhabited his body since waking up in 1973? Does that version of him still exist? If so is it trapped inside his brain alongside time traveler Logan? Did his past self get erased?
Chances of an Answer: Very Unlikely.
Much like the quandary of how future Kitty discovered her ability to help people mentally time travel, the details of what happened to Logan’s other self seem like a detail sacrifice for the sake of getting the X-Men franchise from Point A (a muddled set of movies getting crushed by their own continuity) to Point B (a fresh start with most of the slate wiped clean). With any forthcoming sequels likely to be set after 1973 and having a long road before arriving at the happy alternate future, it seems unlikely that further films will worry about the brief glimpse of things to come offered up in the final minutes of this one.
1. What the hell happened to Xavier after X-Men 3?
All the previous entries are questions that were created by Days of Future Past, but this one precedes it by 8 years. When the much maligned, but not all that bad X-Men: The Last Stand hit theaters in 2006, fans were shocked to see Xavier get killed off in the middle of the movie. The smart ones who stuck around through the credits were then left curious by the revelation that Xavier had put his mind into the brain-dead body introduced earlier in the movie. The immediate question on everyone’s mind was “whose body is that?” and that question went unanswered through a prequel, a better prequel and a spin-off that was sort of a sequel. That question was acknowledged in the mid-credit scene from The Wolverine when Logan’s first words at seeing Xavier are “How is this possible?” only to be met with a cutesy quip waving it away.
That end scene exacerbated the question of Xavier’s fate because now, in addition to still being alive, it looks like he’s back inside his old body. How the hell did this happen? Is he creating a mental projection while walking around in someone else’s skin? Did he somehow shift his borrowed body into looking like his original flesh? What the ever loving crap is going on here?!
Chances of an Answer: Virtually Nil.
Days of Future Past was pretty much the very last chance for fans to get an answer to the long running questions of Xavier and his body-swapping adventures of the mind. Whenever this issue comes up, it’s often mentioned that the mystery body is supposed to Xavier’s secret twin brother but this detail has only ever been stated on the commentary track of The Last Stand, it’s never told to the audience in the actual movies.
Of all the questions to be left dangling, this one hurts the worst. After years of waiting for some kind of follow up, the closest thing to resolution being Xavier’s snarky response to Logan that “You’re not the only one with gifts” and nothing else makes it feel like the film makers are fucking with us on purpose. As frustrating as that sounds, it’s also kind of funny in a bitter, twisted sort of way. If they really are fucking with us, we can only wonder what kind of curve balls they’ve got in store for us with X-Men: Apocalypse.
Previous Topless Robot Articles by Greggory Basore Include:
5 Lessons Hollywood Should Learn from The Lego Movie (And 5 Ways they’ll Miss the Point)
The 30 Best Origins of Superman
16 Heartbreakingly Awesome bits of production art that never made it to the screen.