"X-Men: Days of Future Past" is great many things. It's almost a sequel to "X-Men: The Last Stand"; it's almost a sequel to "X-Men: First Class"; it's almost a sequel to "The Wolverine"; it's almost a prequel to "X-Men." Set during two time periods -- a post-apocalyptic near future and 1973 -- and featuring 14 years of "X-Men" stars, "Days of Future Past" is the biggest X-Men movie yet. It's also the most confusing, especially if fans don't remember their Kitty Prydes from their Jean Greys.
Vulture recapped the "X-Men" franchise in video form, but below, here's a brief rundown of some specifics that everyone should remember before buying a ticket for "X-Men: Days of Future Past" this weekend.
"X-Men: The Last Stand"
Brett Ratner's "X-Men" movie came out eight years ago, but it kind of feels like 80 years ago. That's because despite a worldwide box-office tally of $459 million, "X-Men: The Last Stand" is an afterthought. It's not good enough to consider among the best "X-Men" efforts, but not bad enough to rank alongside the worst superhero movies ever made. As such, it might be difficult to remember how thoroughly outrageous "The Last Stand" really was for fans of the comic book. To wit: Professor X (Sir Patrick Stewart) and Cyclops (James Marsden) are killed by Jean Grey (Famke Janssen) during her Phoenix phase, and Grey herself is killed in an act of mercy by Wolverine (Hugh Jackman).
Hinted at in the final moments of "X-Men: The Last Stand," Professor X is back to life in the post-credits scene for "The Wolverine." In fact, that entire sequence -- in the present day, Professor X and Magneto (Sir Ian McKellen) visit Wolverine to tell him they need his help -- leads directly into "X-Men: Days of Future Past."
"Days of Future Past"
First published in "The Uncanny X-Men" issues No. 141-142 in 1981, "Days of Future Past" depicts a dystopian future where mutants are captured and/or killed by Sentinels, giant, mutant-hating robots. To fix this timeline, Kitty Pryde sends her mind back to the past to stop a fatal moment that turns humankind against the mutants.
Owing to the fact that Hugh Jackman is the franchise's most-famous star, Wolverine gets sent back in time in "X-Men: Days of Future Past" and not Kitty Pryde, who's played in the series by Ellen Page.
"X-Men: First Class"
At the end of 2012's "X-Men" prequel movie, Professor X (James McAvoy) is left paralyzed by Magneto (Michael Fassbender) who has successfully recruited Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) to the dark side or Brotherhood.
Played by Evan Peters in "X-Men: Days of Future Past," Quicksilver is the son of Magneto in the X-Men comics. He can run really fast.
The evil general, played by both Brian Cox (above) and Danny Huston in the X-Men films, performed experiments on Wolverine and gave the mutant his Adamantium skeleton. Josh Helman plays Stryker in "X-Men: Days of Future Past."