The Wolverine seems to promise to bring some continuity to the winding X-Men franchise that Fox has given us. The mid-credits stinger reveal brings Wolverine face to face with Magneto, who was depowered when we last saw him, and Professor X, who was seemingly obliterated when we last saw him in an airport a couple years after the events of The Wolverine. Of course we've known all along that if there were to be more X-Men movies that Charles would be back and that Magneto would not remain powerless, there were, after all, hints in the quaqmire that was X-Men: The Last Stand to those ends. There were, and perhaps still are, however, several things that we did not know until very recently.
The announcement that X-Men: First Class, which introduced a young Charles and Erik before they went their separate ways, would be followed by the time-traveling sequel, X-Men: Days of Future Past began to reveal some of the answers to some of those questions. Introducing time travel into the X-Men franchise gives Fox the ability to keep all of their movies seemingly relevant but, at the same time, allows them to pick and choose just which parts of them we should still pay attention to...and that is the purpose here: using the points we already have to triangulate the ones we don't.
The two points from which I will work are X-Men: First Class and The Wolverine. From there we can begin to see just how the next film, X-Men: Days of Future Past, can be used to set right some wrongs and turn what seems to be a muddled mess of 7 movies (X-Men Origins: Wolverine, X-Men: First Class, X-Men, X2: X-Men United, X-Men: The Last Stand, The Wolverine and X-Men: Days of Future Past) into something cohesive...well kind of cohesive.
X-Men: Days of Future Past will seemingly serve as one sequel to two movies: X-Men: First Class and The Wolverine. So what is Days of Future Past? Let me explain. No...there is too much. Let me sum up. It will be based on a popular 2 issue story (Uncanny X-Men #141 and #142 which you should read on Marvel Unlimited if you havent') set concurrently in 2013 and 1980. In the story the remaining X-Men send an adult Kitty Pryde back in time to help stop an event (the assassination of Senator Kelly by the Brotherhood) that will ultimately lead to the interment and near extinction of all mutants. Pryde's consciousness inhabits the body of her younger self and she, with the aid of her X-men teammates, stops the event. Despite her success in preventing the event she set out to prevent the future still looks bleak for mutants and we see the production of two separate timelines in the X-Men universe.
Simply put, while the story we see in the movie will not be identical to that in the comics, the production of a split timeline works out just great to help explain away some of the more egregious errors Fox has made in the X-Men movie franchise. We know that the movie will feature a huge cast, combining the cast of X-Men: First Class with the cast of the original 3 X-Men movies. We know that part of the film will be set about 10 years afer the events of X-Men: First Class and the other part will be set at least 2 years after the events of The Wolverine. We also know that Wolverine will be the time traveler in this movie. Interestingly, we will see the gap between Erik and Charles grow in the past while in the future we will see them working together to prevent whatever event it is that will cause the end of their kind. Undoubtedly the X-Men will win as we are sure to see more X-movies and even more, different X-franchises popping up as Fox attempts to expand its cinematic universe as Marvel has.
And so we are left with the job of trying to locate the point where things will land at the end of X-Men: Days of Future Past knowing that X-Men: First Class is the alpha and The Wolverine is the omega and that a lot of what happened in the other films, which clearly take place in between these two points, will likely be written off into an alternate timeline. So just what will happen? Who else will show up? Not all that important...what is important, however, is that Jean Grey and Cyclops will get to live on screen again, even if the Havok/Cyclops relationship never makes comic book sense on screen. We won't have to worry how Xavier was walking when he met Jean even though he should have been in a chair. We won't have to worry about much of anything. Fox is going to take the series back to the 70s and hit the reset button the way you do when you're pissed at your video game...and then they're going to start over and hopefully do it right.