Hopefully those of you who went to go see The Wolverine this weekend did yourselves a favor and stayed through the credits. As has become popular in comic book movies, the end of the new film features a little teaser of what’s to come in the franchise and is highlighted by a couple of cool cameos – but what exactly is going on in the scene? We’re here to break it down.
WARNING: If you haven’t seen The Wolverine yet and don’t want to have the post-credits scene spoiled for you, I would recommend clicking away right now..
The credits end abruptly and we see Logan back in an airport about to go through security – a title card on the bottom of the screen tells us that it is two years later. Logan moves forward in line and looks up to a television screen where he sees a commercial playing for Trask Industries. Logan calls to airport security that he would like to opt out of the scans – no way is he getting through a metal detector with that adamantium skeleton – when he begins to notice that something is very wrong. The metallic objects that people are sending through the X-ray machine begin to float. Logan spins around but is forced to immediately freeze when he finds himself face to face with Magneto (Sir Ian McKellen). Rather than coming on a mission of evil, the master of magnetism is actually looking for Wolverine’s help. We see everything freeze around them as the hero asks why he would ever help Magneto. He then realizes that everything around him has stopped moving and we then see who is responsible: Professor X (Sir Patrick Stewart). Wolverine is flabbergasted and doesn’t understand what is happening, as he was there when Phoenix ripped Xavier apart in X-Men 3 The Last Stand. Rolling up in his wheelchair, Professor X responds, "It’s as I told you when we first met, Logan. You're not the only one with special gifts."
Taking a page out of Marvel Studios’ book, this scene is added on to the end of the film essentially to set up the next big event within the universe, namely Bryan Singer’s X-Men: Days of Future Past. Jackman, McKellen and Stewart are all coming back for next summer’s blockbuster, which sees both good and evil mutants teaming up to try and survive an apocalyptic future while also working to prevent it from ever happening.
The reason why Wolverine looks so surprised throughout the entire scene is that both Magneto and Professor X have undergone some major changes since Logan last saw them. In X-Men: The Last Stand both characters meet unfortunate ends, with Magneto’s mutation seemingly "cured" by a weaponized vaccine, and Professor X being torn apart by Phoenix. The very last scene of that movie, however, sees the villain start getting his abilities back when he is able to lightly move a chess piece, and the post-credits sequence suggests that Xavier has placed his consciousness in the mind of a coma patient seen earlier in the film. We still don’t know how Magneto got back to full strength or how Xavier got his body back, but presumably those questions will be answered in the next sequel.
The most on-the-nose hint about Days of Future Past is the Trask Industries commercial playing in the background of The Wolverine’s final scene. For those unfamiliar with the comic book lore, Trask Industries is the company responsible for building the giant, mutant-hunting robots known as Sentinels that help bring a real "end of days" vibe to the world. The head of the company, Bolivar Trask, is being played by Game of Thrones star Peter Dinklage in Singer’s movie. As of now it’s not entirely clear how his character arc will play out, but we do know that Wolverine, Magneto and Professor X are going to do everything in their power to stop him – even if that means going back in time and stopping the event that led to the Sentinels’ creation in the first place. Word is that it's Wolverine who will be sent back into the past, by transferring his current-day consciousness into his 1970s-self.
Mixing together the casts of both the original X-Men trilogy and X-Men: First Class, the next sequel in the comic book movie franchise will also star James McAvoy (as young Professor X), Michael Fassbender (as young Magneto), Jennifer Lawrence (as Mystique), Nicholas Hoult (as Beast), Halle Berry (as Storm), Anna Paquin (as Rogue), Shawn Ashmore (as Ice Man), Daniel Cudmore (as Colossus) and Ellen Page (as Kitty Pryde). New additions to the franchise include Omar Sy (as Bishop), Booboo Stewart (as Warpath), Evan Peters (as Quicksilver), Josh Helman (as young William Stryker), and Fan Bing Bing (as Blink). Adam Canto is also in the movie, though his part has yet to be identified.
X-Men: Days of Future Past is currently in production and will be in theaters on May 23, 2014.