Tomorrow the fourth film in the X-Men prequel series is released, but just where does it fit in the crazy timeline? Well, the first thing to point out is that X-Men: Dark Phoenix is set in 1992. This follows directly on from X-Men: First Class (set in 1962), X-Men: Days of Future Past (set mainly in 1973) and X-Men: Apocalypse (set in 1983). The latter introduced Sophie Turner’s younger Jean Grey, who is the focus and titular character of Dark Phoenix. But fans will remember the same storyline took place in 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand.
Set in the mid-noughties, an older Jean Grey turned Phoenix and killed a number of X-Men including Professor X and Scott Summers, before Wolverine put her down. So how does Dark Phoenix fit in a decade and a half earlier?
Well, it’s because the new X-Men movie, although in the past, is part of an alternate timeline.
This new timeline was created in X-Men: Days of Future Past when 2023 Wolverine changed the past by travelling back to 1973.
He then woke up in a new 2023 where the events of X-Men: The Last Stand never happened and all the dead mutants were alive again.
Since 2014, when Days of Future Past was released, we’ve had three X-Men movies (aside from Deadpool which does its own thing).
In 2016, X-Men: Apocalypse was released, set in 1983 of this altered timeline with characters from the 1973 setting of Days of Future Past.
Then in 2017, Logan was released which is set in the 2029 of the new timeline and after the events of the closing scenes of Days of Future Past.
And now, going back again, X-Men: Dark Phoenix, follows on from Apocalypse, being set in the new timeline’s 1992.
Since it’s a new timeline, Jean’s Dark Phoenix transformation now takes place 14 years earlier and respects the ending of Days of Future Past’s new 2023, according to Dark Phoenix director Simon Kinberg.
“So I do have some sense of it, but I really did imagine this movie, in truth, as the culmination of this cycle of X-Men films and so I wasn’t really thinking past this film other than wanting to make sure that the logic was all sound. I actually would say that the Dark Phoenix idea was set up in the end of Days of Future Past.”
X-Men: Dark Phoenix is released in UK cinemas on June 5, 2019.