What a twist! According to director James Mangold, The Wolverine isn’t a prequel to Bryan Singer’s X-Men series like its predecessor, X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
A quick recap: X-Men Origins: Wolverine was criticized by fans for playing fast-and-loose with comic book canon and screwing up the timeline established by the Singer franchise, notes ComingSoon. Additionally, X-Men: First Class earned some criticism for the same reasons, though it was arguably a far superior film to Origins.
James Mangold’s The Wolverine was initially thought to be a sequel to Origins, given interviews on the subject and a post-credits scene in the latter film that shows Hugh Jackman in Japan. In an interview with Empire, Mangold disavowed the idea that The Wolverine will be a prequel and said that it will actually take place after the events of X-Men: The Last Stand.
“Where this film sits in the universe of the films is after them all,” revealed Mangold. “Jean Grey is gone, most of the X-Men are disbanded or gone, so there’s a tremendous sense of isolation for him.”
There will be some flashback scenes that take place during World War II, but the bulk of the action is after the third entry in the main X-Men series. Says Mangold:
“That’s something that for me was very important, that I land in a very specific place in his timeline. I wanted to be able to tell the story without the burden of handing it off to a film that already exists and having to conform to it. The ideas of immortality reign very heavily in this story and the burden of immortality weighs heavily on Logan. For me that’s such an interesting part of Logan’s character that is nearly impossible to explore if you have a kind of league or team movie.”
Mangold also explained what kind of film The Wolverine will be:
“Japanese noir picture with tentpole action in it.”
The Wolverine opens in theaters on July 26, 2013. The film stars stars Hugh Jackman, Will Yun Lee, Svetlana Khodchenkova, Hiroyuki Sanada, Hal Yamanouchi, Tao Okamoto, Rila Fukushima, and Brian Tee.