Stop reading now if you haven’t yet seen X-Men: Days of Future Past, the newest movie in the long running X-Men movie franchise. Here be spoilers, a bucketload of them in fact, and don’t say we didn’t warn you. In fact we’re even going to tell you what happens after the credits The latest X-Men movie picks up, as its title suggests, in the future. The year is 2023, to be exact, nine years from now. And the world has fallen into disarray after monster machines called Sentinels were created to wipe out humans and ended up more or less enslaving the human race instead. “Professor X” Charles Xavier (the Patrick Stewart version) and “Magneto” Erik Lehnsherr (Ian McKellen) see the end of their kind coming, so they hatch out a desperate plan to send Wolverine’s consciousness back into his past self in 1973.
That creates a shift in the storyline and characters – and the actors portraying them – by plopping Wolverine (who conveniently doesn’t age) into his own younger body. He seeks out young Charles (James McAvoy) and Erik (Michael Fassbender), holdovers from the X-Men First Class movie, who at this point in the timeline despise each other and are each in a state of disrepair. They all band together, albeit reluctantly, to attempt to stop Raven/Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) from assassinating the evil arms dealer (Peter Dinklage) who came up with the idea for the Sentinels in the first place, whose death ultimately led to their creation. It’s complicated, but it works. Ready for the real movie-wrecking spoilers? Here we go…
Young Magneto turns out to be as evil as ever, and attempts to kill Mystique. He fails, and the good guys ultimately prevail in 1973, even as the Sentinels close in on the same characters in 2023. In the future setting, Storm and old Magneto die trying to buy time for Wolverine to finish what he started in the past – and he does, just in time. That future suddenly no longer exists, and no one actually died. And by no one, we mean no one is dead.
Remember when Jean Grey and Cyclops died unceremoniously in X-Men 3? That timeline never happened. Wolverine is now a history professor at the school led by Professor X alongside Jean and Cyclops, and while neither Magneto nor Mystique is seen in the revised future timeline, the good guys all get their happy ending. The credits roll, and then a bizarre scene airs in which a mutant builds the pyramids himself while the ancient Egyptians bow down to him. Unless you’ve read the X-Men Apocalypse comic books, the brief clip gives no real clue as to who that mutant is, or what’s going on, or what it means for the next inevitable X-Men movie.