Few popular franchises are as famous for their many retcons and plotholes as Fox’s X-Men franchise. Even taking into account time travel, alternate timelines and futures, and behind the scenes conflicts there’s still a lot of stuff that doesn’t make sense and most likely never will, especially with the Disney-Fox deal looming on the horizon.
With that in mind, here are the top 10 (or my top 10, at least) weirdest retcons, plotholes, and unanswered questions that are enough to make even a devoted X-fan like me shake their fist in despair and confusion.
The OG Deadpool
Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool (…..technically…..) in X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)
Just…every single decision about X-Men Origins: Wolverine‘s portrayal of Deadpool.
WOlverine’s memory loss has been one of the most defining aspects of the character and was even a significant motivation for his joining the X-Men in both movies and the comics (though Xavier’s vague promises and attempts to help the partial amnesiac never amounted to much). In 2005 Wolverine finally got his memories back thanks the reality warping of the Scarlet Witch, but the revelations of his past only left him with more pain and self-hatred and nearly as many questions as before, significantly affecting his comics from that point onwards.
According to The Wolverine the titular character left the X-Men sometime after The Last Stand due to his incessant guilt over killing Phoenix/Jean Grey, who regularly haunts his dreams. It also becomes almost immediately apparent that Wolverine has suddenly regained a crystal clear recall of the Nagasaki bombing and his time as a POW. Years later in the dystopian future of Days of Future Past Wolverine also seems to have some memories of his time in the 70’s pre-time travel. Finally, in Logan his restless dreaming and frank talk with Laura about the toll killing hints that nastier, war-time memories may be resurfacing, and he the very least pretends to have remembered killing Zander Rice’s father. At no point in any of these movies does Wolverine express surprise, happiness, or dismay that his memory is improving, and the fact that it was a major plot point in the OG trilogy seems to have been dropped completely.
Wolverine’s Adamantium Claws
An even bigger plot hole than Wolverine’s amnesiac status is his adamantium claws. At the end of The Wolverine they had been chopped off and his original bone claws had regrown in their place. Yet in the next movie, DOFP, the adamantium has clearly returned with no explanation. True, it takes place many years after Wolverine was in Japan, and it doesn’t take much imagination to figure out that Magneto could have been involved in this reacquisition. It would certainly make the clawed mutant more effective in fighting Sentinels, after all. But the fact that not even a throwaway line or hint was given towards answering this mystery continues to irritate many fans.
Where is Sabretooth?
I know we’d all like to forget Origins was a thing, but it did establish that Wolverine’s half-brother Victor (aka Sabretooth) was a near-constant presence by his side for over a century up until the end of their time in the Vietnam War and subsequent recruitment by Stryker. Aside from an arguably unrelated cameo in the first X-Men movie, however, Sabretooth has made no other appearances or even been mentioned in any X-Men or Wolverine film. This absence is particularly apparent in DOFP when Wolverine travels back in time to the 70’s, presumably a time when the brothers were still fairly close. He also makes no appearance in Logan, despite several rumors stating otherwise and an early draft of the script that included the character.
The Mystique Retcon
Rebecca Romijn’s Mystique was a stone-cold badass who only seemed to care about herself and, to some extent, Magneto and his cause. One of her most vicious acts in the first film was to take out Xavier by tampering with Cerebro, temporarily putting him into a coma. As this was also the two mutant’s only real, if indirect, interaction, it came as something of a surprise when First Class revealed that surprise! they were old friends and pseudo-siblings, tragically separated by the moral divide between Magneto and Professor X’s ideologies. Additional hints of Mystique feelings for Beast, Magneto, and Xavier himself left many fans (or at least myself) feeling even more confused and unsettled. Oh, and lets not forget the random inclusion of Azazel, the demonic character who fathered Nightcrawler on Mystique in the comics!
Colossus Turned Russian
Few fans are foolhardy enough to walk into a Deadpool movie without expecting some light retconning at the very least, but the inclusion and transformation of Colossus was something of a surprise in 2016. The metallic mutant (portrayed by Daniel Cudmore) first appeared as an older student and helped the majority of the kids escape Stryker’s raid on the mansion. Later, ‘Peter’ was part of the second-gen X-Men team in The Last Stand along with Rogue, Bobby Drake, and Kitty Pryde, and appeared once more in DOFP as part of the team protecting Kitty and Wolverine. This version is notably different than the one that appears in Deadpool; the original was noticeably younger, American, and only in metal form a fraction of the time. Theoretically, this could be explained by the new timeline created in DOFP, but it’s hard to see how events could have changed so drastically to affect Colossus’s nationality, birth date, and power set.
The Rest of the Timeline Discrepancies
Colossus is probably the most dramatic and noticeable example of this, but many other characters experienced drastically altered backstories after the new timeline was set. Storm suddenly had naturally dark hair that only became it’s iconic shade of white when Apocalypse enhanced her abilities. Angel/Archangel went from being a young American billionaire in the 2000’s to a British cage-fighting punk in the 80’s. While it’s possible characters could have been born at different times and paces in a new timeline, these and a number of other changes are just too drastic to really be explained this way.
What Happened to Mariko and Yukio?
Mariko Yashida (Tao Okamoto) and Yukio (Rila Fukushima) in The Wolverine (2013)
Seriously, what happened to them?? Were the events of The Wolverine completely erased by DOFP? How long did Wolverine and Mariko stay a couple? What wacky adventures did he and Yukio get into together? It seems like we will never know.
In The Last Stand Xavier’s death at the hands of one of his oldest and most beloved students (albeit one he had been psychically hijacking without consent for years) was one of the most poignant moments of an otherwise terrible movie. His eventual return to life left audiences mystified, however, when it was acknowledged briefly in The Wolverine as a happy miracle but never truly explained.
The answer lies in an easily dismissed scene from The Last Stand, as well as some DVD commentary and a brief deleted scene. In an ethics class, Xavier shows students a clip of Dr. Moira MacTaggert talking about a patient who was born with no brain functions but was otherwise completely healthy. The DVD commentary reveals that this patient is actually Xavier’s unnamed, identical twin who the professor was able to transfer his consciousness into. Outside of this and the deleted scene where MacTaggert is startled by her patient suddenly addressing her in Xavier’s voice, no reference to a twin or this transfer of consciousness is ever made again.
JFK Was a Mutant???????????
In one of the most bizarre scenes of the franchise Magneto reveals in DOFP that he was not responsible for the assassination of President Kennedy, but had in fact been trying to save him (how exactly the Master of Magnetism screwed up diverting a single bullet and then allowed himself to be taken into custody is never explained). Why? Because the President was one of ‘them.’
Aside from a moment of shocked silence, this is never followed up on or explained in any form in the rest of the movie. Luckily for baffled fans answers of a kind were available in the large amount of supplementary world-building material released for the movie’s promotion. According to it a number of Kennedy’s were mutants or suspected mutants, including the President’s brother RFK. The brothers were both empathic telepaths; JFK also had the ability to influence people’s actions through physical contact, while RFK was constantly absorbing the emotions and memories of those around him. The promotional material and faux-documentary (see above) are all pretty cool, and at least it gives us more easily accessible info than the Xavier resurrection one. But still, the fact that such a monumental fact is dropped in the middle of the movie and then never touched on ever again on-screen…it’s just confusing and annoying.