x-men timeline explained

Remember Dark Phoenix? It came out a week ago, but the latest X-Men movie already feels like a thing of a past, primarily because audiences didn’t flock to the film like previous entries in the franchise. Why did Dark Phoenix underperform? Perhaps fans were sick and tired of the franchise’s incredibly confusing continuity. Simply put, the X-Men timeline makes absolutely no sense. But that didn’t stop Dark Phoenix director Simon Kinberg from trying to explain it.

Is there any film franchise continuity as confusing and nonsensical as the X-Men series? I seriously doubt it. The problem is due to the fact that the films kept jumping around in time, resulting in confusing narratives that don’t quite line up. The latest entry is Dark Phoenix, which is more or less the final Fox X-Men film (unless you want to count New Mutants, which may or may not be released some day). If fans were hoping Dark Phoenix would clear things up and address any glaring continuity issues, they were probably sorely disappointed when the movie opened last week.

But Dark Phoenix director Simon Kinberg has some explanations as to why the timeline is so weird. Speaking with Syfy Wire, the director said:

“The original films don’t really take over a cyclical timeline. Not to get too geeky about it, but because we reset the timeline at the end of Days Of Future Past, it essentially erased X-Men 1, 2, and 3 from the continuity of the timeline, because anything that would have happened after 1973, which is when the past part of Days Of Future Past happens, would have happened differently than it was portrayed in those movies.”

Makes sense, I guess. Kinberg also added that the timeline reset goes a long way toward explaining things with the new films: “Days of Future Past helped reset the timeline so that Apocalypse and Dark Phoenix could exist by their own rules, so to speak.”

That’s all well and good, but how does one explain the look of the characters. Or specifically, the look of the actors playing them. Decades upon decades have gone by in the X-Men film franchise storyline, yet most of the actors don’t look like they’ve aged much. But don’t worry, Kinberg has an explanation for that, too:

“But for all the other characters, Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, Nicholas Hoult, going back to First Class, they certainly have not aged 30 years since we started making those movies 10 years ago…And the way that we sort of rationalized it, and it is a rationalization for sure, was that they aged a little differently because they’re mutants, and we hoped that the audience would go with that. And so far that’s not been a problem for the audience.”

There you have it, folks. While I appreciate Kinberg’s attempt to set the record straight, it’s also important to remember that in the end, these are just movies – it’s okay if things don’t make total sense.

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