It's been known for a while that Logan, the third Wolverine movie, would take place sometime in the future, as evidenced by the eponymous character's older look and Professor X's mental deterioration. What hadn't been officially disclosed until today was exactly what year. It had been rumored that Logan would be set in 2024, but director James Mangold has confirmed that it will actually take place five years later, mainly to distance itself from 2014's X-Men: Days of Future Past.
In an interview with Comicbook.com, James Mangold addressed how in order to make Logan feel like a standalone and fresh entry in the X-Men movie franchise, he needed to free himself from most of the continuity restrictions, thus necessitating the move forward half a decade to 2029. He explained:
There's an epilogue scene in Days of Future Past which is 2024, or 2023, something like that. I just wanted to get far enough past. My goal was real simple: it was to pick a time where I had enough elbow room that I was clear of existing entanglements. Part of the way I think this films stop being fresh (these films being franchise comic book movies) is when you find yourself making essentially a television series with $200 million episodes where you're literally just picking up where the last one left off and you're making a mini-series. Then, it's impossible to do something fresh, meaning essentially you're just a director on the 14th episode of a television show picking up where the last one left off and people are going to be really startled by any discontinuity or changes.
X-Men: Days of Future Past revolved around Wolverine traveling back to the early 1970s to stop the rise of the mutant-killing Sentinels and prevent 2023's apocalyptic future from occurring. He was successful, and when Wolverine's mind returned to his future body, Professor Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters was still flourishing and his friends were still alive, including Cyclops and Jean Grey. Sadly, it looks like the good times didn't last long, as a mere five years later, the X-Men are gone, Wolverine is taking care of the elderly Professor X near the Mexican border and mutants all over the world are disappearing.
Logan will see Wolverine protecting a young girl named Laura, who is "very much" like him, from the forces of Transigen. The movie will be Hugh Jackman's final appearance as Wolverine, and although the franchise is continuing with spinoffs like Deadpool 2 and New Mutants, Logan definitely marks the end of an era, making it all the more important that James Mangold tell a personal story that felt different from the ones that have come before in this universe rather than something akin to a TV episode.
Logan slashes its way into theaters on March 3.