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6 Major Continuity Problems in the 'X-Men' Movies

Matt McDaniel
Managing Editor
May 25, 2014

X-Men: Days of Future Past involves Wolverine time-traveling back to 1973 to change history. However, if you look at the previous six X-Men-related movies, you’ll see that the directors and writers have been messing with history all along — though not necessarily on purpose. After rewatching all seven films, we found six major incongruities that just don’t jibe — and you can’t blame Wolverine for these. (Spoilers follow for those who haven’t seen DOFP.)

When did Professor X and Magneto meet?
In the original movie, Charles Xavier (played by Patrick Stewart) tells Wolverine, “When I was 17, I met a young man named Erik Lehnsherr,” aka Magneto (Ian McKellen). But in First Class, Charles (then played by James McAvoy) is seen as a child in 1944, and he meets Erik (Michael Fassbender) 18 years later in 1962. Director Bryan Singer takes the blame for that error, telling SciFiNow that he now regrets writing that line in the first script.

[Related: Who Was the Villain in the ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’ Post-Credits Scene?]

When did Professor X and Magneto become enemies?
First Class ends in 1962 with Charles and Erik having fought and split apart over their philosophical differences of whether humans and mutants can coexist.  But in the flashback to 1986 at the beginning of X-Men: The Last Stand, the two are apparently still friends, and they go together to recruit Jean Grey to enroll in Xavier’s school. And that’s not the only continuity problem with that scene…

When was Professor X paralyzed?
In the climax of First Class, Magneto deflects a bullet that hits Xavier in the spine, causing him to lose the use of his legs. Days of Future Past sees Charles in 1973 taking a drug that allows him to walk again but at the cost of his mutant powers; he eventually gives it up and returns to the wheelchair. However, in X-Men Origins: Wolverine (set in the late ’70s) and the mid-’80s flashback in Last Stand, Professor X can walk and use his psychic abilities.

How is Professor X alive (and still looking like himself)?
Jean Grey disintegrates Xavier in the middle of The Last Stand, but it is set up that he can input his consciousness into another body, which he does during the post-credits scene. And while you don’t see the face of the vegetative coma patient he takes over, how it is that when he wakes up he still looks just like Professor X? Last Stand director Brett Ratner said in the DVD commentary that the man in the coma is Xavier’s twin brother, but Charles never mentions having a sibling in any movie. And even if he did, is his brother also confined to a wheelchair? Did he take a bullet for Magneto’s twin?

When did Professor X start his school?
According to the official X-Men website 25moments.com, Xavier started his school for mutants in 1963. But in the first movie, the Professor says that Cyclops and Jean Grey “were some of my first students.” The timelines just don’t match up, with Prof. X first encountering Cyclops in the late ’70s in X-Men Origins, and subsequently recruiting Jean in the mid-’80s.

How are there two versions of some people?
Moira MacTaggert, as played by Rose Byrne, is a young American CIA agent in the early ’60s in First Class. Moira MacTaggert as played by Olivia Williams is a not-much older Scottish geneticist in the modern day scenes of The Last Stand. Also, Emma Frost was a teenager in the ’70s in 2009’s Origins: Wolverine, but she was also an adult in 1962 in First Class (and — SPOILER — Magneto says she was killed sometime before 1973 in Days of Future Past). Plus, the hulking, mute Sabretooth of 2000’s X-Men is nothing like the verbose and clever Victor Creed (played by Liev Schrieber) in 2009’s Wolverine.

[Related: How Much Do ‘X-Men’ McAvoy and Fassbender Look Like a Young Stewart and McKellen?

There are plenty of other smaller incongruities between the films. Xavier says he and Magneto built Cerebro in the first movie, but it was Hank “Beast” McCoy’s creation in First Class. Xavier doesn’t understand how Magneto’s helmet blocks his psychic powers in the 2000 original, but he does in the prequel. Little goofs like that get into the realm of nitpicking. Meanwhile, Bryan Singer says the next film, X-Men: Apocalypse, will be set in the 1980s, so who know how that will further scramble up the timeline. Maybe it will answer the biggest question of all: After 200 years, why hasn’t Wolverine ever tried a different hairstyle?