I’ve had several people express confusion when I’ve told them that the new film (X-Men: First Class) wildly contradicts the previous films, so I thought I’d make this handy timeline of the X-Men movies’ continuity to show where X-Men: First Class “fits in.”
Note: I actually loved First Class. The pacing and tone made it clear that Bryan Singer was back in a big way. There were shortcomings (like the fact that the secondary villains were essentially cardboard cutouts), but on the whole the film was a huge step back in the direction of the first two films.
Also, this timeline contains major spoilers for every X-Men film, including First Class.
1845-1962 (at least). Wolverine and Sabretooth are “brothers,” serving in every major war together. (X-Men Origins: Wolverine)
1944. Charles meets Mystique. (X-Men: First Class)
Magneto in a concentration camp. This is actually the exact same footage in both films, which makes it difficult to defend the assertion that we are dealing with completely separate timelines. (X-Men, X-Men: First Class)
1962. The events of X-Men: First Class. The formation of a X-Men team, including Scott’s brother who I guess is at least 20 years older than his younger brother? Also, Charles gets paralyzed and unfriends Magneto a whopping twenty years before meeting Jean (walking) as co-leader of the Institute with Magneto. Beast is on the team as well, and turns blue during the movie. Emma Frost appears as an adult. There is a cute cameo of Wolverine being approached alone at a bar, which seems unlikely given his partnership with Sabretooth dating back to the 1800s. (X-Men: First Class)
Sometime between 1962 and the original X-Men movies. Magneto helps Charles build Cerebro. (X2)
Sometime between 1965-1975. Wolverine serves in the Vietnam War with Sabretooth. (X-Men Origins: Wolverine)
1980ish. Professor Xavier and Magneto (still friends) meet Jean Grey as co-head of the Xavier Institute. Charles can still walk, meaning this happened before X-Men Origins. (X-Men: The Last Stand, “Twenty Years Ago”)
Sometime between 1972-1982. (Presumably toward the late side of things, since Xavier is in a wheelchair). A young Emma Frost is captured by Striker’s forces. She escapes with Cyclops and an older Professor Xavier (in a wheelchair) to join the X-Men. She seems young, inexperienced, and innocent. (X-Men Origins: Wolverine, “Six Years Later)
Scott is one of Charles’s first students (X-Men)
Post-2000. The events of the first three X-Men movies. (X-Men: “In the not so distant future.”)
Beast has a cameo sans the blue fur. (X-Men)
In a deleted scene, Beast is shown getting blue fur because of the stress of Striker’s mental attack on all mutants. (X2)
Basically, it’s impossible that this movie exists in the continuity of the other movies. So why did they use the first scene from X-Men as the first scene for X-Men: First Class? This is just all kinds of confusing.
[UPDATE: X-Men: First Class wasn't a reboot.]
Maybe they just wanted it to be more authentically like comic books, with all the contradictions and fuzzy timelines.