X: First Class (2011)
Frequently Asked Questions
Young Charles Xavier (James McAvoy), newly graduated from college after submitting his dissertation on mutantism, comes to realize that there are more mutants like himself in the world and sets out, with the help of CIA agent Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne), to find them. While assembling a team of young mutants, including Raven/Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), Angel Salvatore (Zoë Kravitz), Hank McCoy/Beast (Nicholas Hoult), Sean Cassidy/Banshee (Caleb Landry Jones), Alex Summers/Havok (Lucas Till), and Armando Muñoz/Darwin (Edi Gathegi), he also meets Erik Lensherr (Michael Fassbender), a young Polish man whose early years were spent in a concentration camp where his mother was killed by German scientist Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) in order to awaken Erik's magnetic powers. Charles, Eric, and their band of mutants must work together to stop Shaw from beginning a nuclear war between the U.S. and the Soviet Union in his attempt to kill all humans and take over the world.
Yes, briefly. While Xavier and Magneto are gathering up mutants, they come across Logan/Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) sitting in a bar, but Wolverine tells them to get lost.
Yes. When the young Mystique is trying to seduce Erik, he says to her "maybe in a few years." She then morphs into her "older" form, which turns out to be Rebecca Romijn, who played Mystique in the first three films.
No, for the most part. If the mutation is physical, such as with Wolverine's claws, Nightcrawler's tail and Archangel's wings, then she can superficially mimic it. However, she does not copy the mutation itself. The forms she takes are purely cosmetic like stage props and replicas. As an example, in X-Men (2000), she takes on the appearance of Wolverine and fights him claw to claw, but she can neither copy his healing ability nor replicate the indestructibility of adamantium, as seen when her claws are cut off by Wolverine's claws. As another example, if she were to mimic Professor X, she would look like him but would not have his telepathic powers.
While diamond is the hardest material on Earth, it is a common misconception that it can't be broken by other substances. Hardness is not toughness. Think of glass. It is quite hard, but it is brittle and easily shattered. Diamond can also be shattered with a strong force. It is not unreasonable for Erik to break her diamond body with household-grade metals, given he has the strength to raise an entire submarine out of the water.
Charles used his power to convince the guard he was seeing an empty truck. He not only has the ability to communicate with people non-verbally but he can also control the minds of others, demonstrated earlier when he freezes Moira's colleague at the drinking fountain and tells the Man in the Black Suit to get in the car.
In a deleted scene, Alex tells Charles that he accidentally killed one of his comrades in the field and still feels guilty about it.
Erik gives all the mutants a choice to unite with him and form a brotherhood against humans or with Charles and his plight to co-exist peacefully among them. Azazel (Jason Flemyng), Riptide (Álex González), Mystique, and Angel choose to side with Erik, while Beast, Banshee, and Havok go with Charles Xavier. Sometime later, Moira pushes Charles' wheelchair to the door of his proposed academy while talking about getting the school up and running. Moira suggests that Charles call his team "X-Men", just like government agents are called "G-Men". Because anonymity is crucial, Charles wipes Moira's mind, leaving her with no clear memory of the mutants when she later undergoes a debriefing at CIA headquarters. Suddenly a large crash is heard. It is Erik breaking into the CIA holding tank to rescue Frost (January Jones). "Join us", Erik says to Frost, while the rest of the Brotherhood waits outside the door. "Erik, I believe," she asks. Erik replies, "I prefer Magneto."
There are four previous X-Men movies: (1) X-Men (2000) (2000), (2) (2003), (3) X-Men: The Last Stand (2006) (2006), and (4) X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009) (2009). X: First Class leads to X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) (2014) and X-Men: Apocalypse (2016) (2016). Although The Wolverine (2013) (2013) and Logan (2017) (2017) do not have "X-Men" in the title, they chronologically follow on and reference the other movies, thus are considered part of the franchise, which makes nine movies total. Deadpool (2016) (2016), a loosely-related movie (and start of a cinematic series) based off the comic lines spun off from the X-Men comics, is set in the same universe or perhaps an adjoining metaverse, and references characters and elements from the X-Men franchise throughout, but it is technically not part of the series.
Bryan Singer stated they did their best to remain in continuity with the other X-Men movies, but he recognized that some liberties were taken for the sake of the plot in X-Men: First Class. Lauren Shuler Donner also stated that the Emma Frost in X-Men Origins: Wolverine is not Emma Frost, but the real Emma Frost is the one in X-Men: First Class. Furthermore, the credits in X-Men Origins: Wolverine list her as Emma/Kayla's sister and not exactly Emma Frost. So, while X-Men Origins: Wolverine initially advertised the character with diamond powers as Emma Frost, Fox technically retconned her appearance in X-Men: First Class by ignoring her appearance in the Wolverine movie and stating that the character wasn't Emma Frost. (Source: the Emma Frost Files.) Note that X-Men Origins: Wolverine has been retconned in other ways as well, but in some of those cases un-retconned. One example concern Charles Xavier's paralysis, and another involves the overall history of the character Wade Wilson.
Only some of them. X: First Class is only part of the movie franchise based off the stories and characters from comic books within or spun off from the X-Men line—The Uncanny X-Men, "Weapon X", X-Factor, The New Mutants, X-Force, "X-Calibre", "X-Ternals", "Generation Next", etc.—to which 20th Century Fox holds cinematic license. Other Marvel-based films owned by other studios are not set in the mutants/X cinematic universe, due to differing ownership. Fox also owns/owned Fantastic Four and Daredevil, but there was never an apparent connection among X-Men (2000), Fantastic Four (2005) (2005) and Daredevil (2003) (2003). The whole deal surrounding X-Men is notably separate from, for example, the titles commissioned by Marvel Studios. All cinematic material made under the Marvel Studios banner, e.g., Iron Man (2008) (2008), The Incredible Hulk (2008) (2008), Thor (2011) (2011) and (2011), are all set in the same universe (known as the Marvel Cinematic Universe), with the characters crossing over, culminating in The Avengers (2012) (2012) which ties these films together. Marvel Studios also owns/owned The Punisher and Blade, however The Punisher (2004) (2004), Punisher: War Zone (2008) (2008), Blade (1998) (1998), Blade II (2002) (2002) and Blade: Trinity (2004) (2004) are/were not in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Like the case explained earlier, other Marvel-based films owned by other studios are not set in the MCU, due to differing ownership. This includes, for example, Spider-Man (2002) (2002) and Ghost Rider (2007) (2007) (both owned by Sony).
Fans have noted a number of discrepancies that X: First Class introduced into the timeline of the other X-Men movies. There is no mention of any change in the timeline at this point (such as the one much later in 1973, in X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)), and no in-universe explanation is given for these breaks in continuity. The makers have stated that as part of a fresh start of the series, they wanted to make the best movie possible and chose to ignore established canon in some respects. So the discrepancies are meant to be retcons from artistic license. There are precedents for this earlier in the series: take, for example, the change in appearance of the lab and basin where Wolverine undergoes the adamantium grafting procedure between X2 and X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
Nevertheless, the following is a list of the main differences noted, and possible explanations from a single-universe point-of-view:
- In X2, Hank McCoy appears in human form before his mutation is manifested by the third film, whereas in First Class, he goes through his transformation for the first time as a young man. It is very likely that he used an inhibitor, as he is seen using one in Days of Future Past. Another reason is that the Hank McCoy briefly seen in X2 was simply meant to be a name-drop cameo (Remy LeBeau, a.k.a. Gambit, is also briefly seen on a computer screen in X2).
- In X2, there is an instance where Sebastian Shaw is speaking with McCoy on television. However, he is referred to only as "Dr. Shaw" and may be a different character (or simply another name-drop).
- In the beginning of The Last Stand (during a flashback) and at the end of Origins: Wolverine, Xavier has full use of his legs in the 1980s, whereas, at the end of First Class, Xavier is wheelchair bound in 1962. He has regained and lost the use of his legs time and time again in the comics. In Days of Future Past, Beast has developed a serum that can reverse Xavier's spinal damage, but it also suppresses his telepathic abilities. In The Last Stand and Origins: Wolverine, Xavier clearly has both the use of his legs and his telepathy, so maybe there is a later cure for Xavier's spine without the suppressive side effects that works only temporarily (causing resistance). Another explanation offered is that Trask Industries develops DNA-generated artificial limbs in 1976, and he abandons them after learning of Trask Industries' anti-mutant activities. Lastly, it is possible that the walking Xavier seen in The Last Stand and Origins: Wolverine isn't Xavier himself, but one of his telepathic projections, used when he meets potential new students, in order not to elicit too many questions; Xavier also shows a telepathic, upright version of himself to Mystique in Days of Future Past.
- In the opening of The Last Stand, Eric and Xavier are working together to recruit Jean Grey in the 1980s. In this film, they go their separate ways much earlier in life. They may have briefly reconciled before going separate ways once again.
- In X-Men, Professor X mentions that he created Cerebro together with Magneto; in First Class, Cerebro was already built by Hank McCoy. Of course, the Cerebro in First Class may have simply been a small prototype, and the larger version of Cerebro seen in the first three movies may have been constructed by Professor X and Magneto together. As Big Cerebro was fully built by 1973 and Magneto had been imprisoned for 10 years (as seen in Days of Future Past), it is possible that they built it in 1962 when they moved into Charles' old house, in the months before the Cuban Missile Crisis.
- In X-Men, Professor X tells Logan that he met Erik Lensherr when he was 17 years old, which would have been about 1949 given that Xavier was born 1932. According to First Class, they met in 1962. However, they could have briefly encountered each other when Erik went to New York for the first time in 1949. Or Erik may have met Charles as a student at Oxford in 1949.
-In X-Men, Professor X is surprised to learn that Magneto has a helmet which can prevent the professor from locating him with his telepathic abilities. In First Class, Xavier himself witnesses how Magneto obtains the helmet from Sebastian Shaw, and what negative effect it has on his telepathy. It should be noted though, that the Shaw helmet is a different helmet with regards to appearance. According to Days of Future Past, the Shaw helmet was taken from Magneto when he was imprisoned later. Magneto's new helmet is therefore a different one, explaining Xavier's unfamiliarity with it.
- In First Class, Professor X is childhood friends with Mystique, even before meeting Magneto (the professor confirms this in Days of Future Past). While it is clear from the other movies that the Professor and Magneto go way back, no allusion to Xavier's friendship with Mystique is made in any other movie (she even nearly kills him in X-Men). Days of Future Past, however, reveals that Mystique committed her first murder in 1973 to protect the other mutants. She was subsequently caught, tortured and experimented on before she escaped. These experiences changed her character irrevocably, causing her view of morals and her relationship with Xavier to take a turn for the worst (she may not even remember being friends with Xavier). Also, like Xavier, Mystique should be in her seventies in The Last Stand, but she doesn't look anywhere near that age. (Young Hank McCoy remarks that when she gets into her forties she would still have the cells of a teenager; she also may have improved healing abilities, since she survived a stab from Wolverine's claws in X-Men). In Days of Future Past, it is indeed revealed that Mystique's cells are extremely adaptable.
- In Origins: Wolverine, Emma Frost can cover her body with small diamonds, whereas in First Class, her body becomes one large diamond. See the FAQ entry "Why is Emma Frost in both X-Men Origins: Wolverine and X: First Class?" above.
- Lastly, Moira MacTaggart is seen as an non-mutant agent in her thirties in 1962 in First Class; MacTaggart also makes a short appearance nearly forty-five years later as a doctor in The Last Stand, but even though Professor X has aged considerably, she has not. Maybe the latter Moira is the former's daughter. This could also simply be another name-drop.
Note: Originally the plan was for there to be a spinoff anthology series of "Origin" movies made by different cinematic artists (who would naturally have different ideas about how to render the X-Men mythos), but "X-Men Origins: Magneto" wound up becoming X: First Class, somewhat of an origin story for the X-Men in general along with the Brotherhood of Mutants. In theory, the overall story line of the series would have been more succinct and involved fewer if any retcons had all movies been written by the same group of people or had the franchise's main producer, Lauren Shuler Donner, taken a slightly different approach to overseeing the screenwriting behind the cinematic rendition process.