The X-Men universe has become fertile ground for some of the most inspired and crazy fan theories. The comics alone have had people hypothesizing for 55 years. The big screen blockbusters, and shows like The Gifted and Legion, have also opened the X-Men universe up to a whole new, non-comic book reading fan base with a slew of their own theories. Regardless of whether it's the films, comics, or television series, writers and directors drop easter eggs like bread crumbs leading the cleverest of fans to draw insightful conclusions and make predictions. From Cyclops’ mysterious second brother to the viability of the Mutant Cure and Jean Grey’s resurrection, fan theories have run the spectrum. Some, like which X-Men died in the Westchester Incident prior to Logan, will probably haunt us forever.
As we get ready for 2018’s Dark Phoenix, the eighth of the core X-Men movies and the 13th film in the franchise overall, fans are in full on speculation mode. After all, coming up with theories is some of the most fun a fan can have, and the X-Men universe creators know it. Theorizing is not only a favorite pastime of fanboys and fangirls, it has become a part of their culture. While most theories turn out to be just that, occasionally, someone offers up one that turns out to be right. Whether those particular fans are Class 5 mutant psychics or they have had their consciousness sent back from the future is anyone’s guess, but these 20 fan theories are not only awesome, they have been confirmed.
20 XAVIER'S TWIN BROTHER WAS IN X-MEN: THE LAST STAND
More shocking than Dark Phoenix ending Professor Xavier was Moira hearing his voice come from her brain-dead patient in the post-credits scene. It was implied that Charles moved his consciousness to the man’s body and we don’t actually see Xavier’s face again until the end of The Wolverine. He still looked like Patrick Stewart! But how?
Fans theorized that the brain-dead man was Xavier’s twin brother, which explains how he knew about him and why he was kept in Moira’s care. The theory is also somewhat based on the source material, where Xavier has a twin sister. While Xavier’s new Patrick Stewart-looking body went unaddressed in the films, Last Stand director Brett Ratner confirmed in the film’s commentary that the man was Xavier’s twin brother.
19 MAGNETO IS POLARIS' FATHER
Before being featured in Fox’s television series, The Gifted, Lorna Dane, the mutant known as Polaris, first appeared in 1968’s X-Men #49. Dane’s mutant ability allows her to control magnetism, a power reminiscent of the X-Men’s famous antagonist, Magneto. Unlike Magneto, however, Polaris was almost always fighting alongside the X-Men or one of their related groups.
Both fans and Polaris herself long speculated that Magneto was her biological father, but the theory remained just that for over 30 years. In 2003’s Uncanny X-Men #431, comic books fans holding onto the idea that the two were related were reward as this father-daughter relationship was confirmed.
18 JEAN GREY IN X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST AS A CHILD
In the Rogue Cut edition of Days of Future Past when Magneto lifted RFK Memorial Stadium to surround the White House, we saw children playing below him, one a girl with red hair. As she looked up in wonder at the spectacle, fans instantly began theorizing that the young girl was Jean Grey, but nothing aside from her hair provided any clues.
Nevertheless, the theory held that it was Jean. In the film’s commentary, director Bryan Singer and writer Simon Kinberg confirm that the young girl in was, in fact, Jean Grey. “Of course this was a moment that I liked with young Jean Grey watching what she will ultimately be able to do.” He is of course referencing the telekinetic power Jean would display in other films.
17 WOLVERINE AND SABRETOOTH ARE RELATED
Wolverine and Sabretooth have a lot in common -- almost too much. They share a dark past, somewhat similar mutations, and they’ve been around for over a century. It takes little imagination to see why comic book readers began theorizing they were related. Ideas ranged from them being brothers to father and son. Depending on your preferred X-Men medium, both theories are correct.
Chris Claremont John Byrne initially intended Sabretooth to be Logan’s father in the comics. However, they both went on to other projects before making this canon and the planned relationship was never established. However, familial ties was again created in the 2009 film X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Here, Sabretooth is Logan’s half-brother and eventual enemy.
16 THE LAST STAND WAS SETTING UP A DAYS OF FUTURE PAST FILM
The Danger Room sequence in The Last Stand seemed right out of 1981’s “Days of Future Past” comic story-arc. It was complete with a Sentinel and a grouping of X-Men from the original comic plot. Bolivar Trask also appeared later in the film. Fans posited that the groundwork was being laid for a Days of Future Past movie.
Those who theorized the film was foreshadowing Days of Future Past were right. Director Brett Ratner confirm in the film’s commentary that the presence of the Sentinel and Trask was setting up any future X-Men movie that may be made. “The idea is that some sort of Sentinel program is going on in the background during The Last Stand that we don’t even know about,” Ratner said.
15 THERE ARE TWO DIFFERENT PSYLOCKES IN THE X-MEN FILMS
As with many other characters in the X-Men movies, Psylocke appeared twice in different roles with different actresses. Most would blame Fox’s famous disregard for continuity, but after Apocalypse, some argue that the vaguely Psylocke character in The Last Stand was actually Kwannon, a ninja whose body Betsy Braddock, the original Psylocke, later inhabited.
This seems plausible as there are two Psylockes in the comics. Whether or not it was Betsy or Kwannon in X3 was argued over until scriptwriter Zak Penn validated this theory during a 2013 Q&A. He admitted that, "There was discussion that she was Kwannon or possibly other characters too, but I can't comment on the final choice made.” It may be a technicality, but the theory holds up.
14 ADAM-X WAS THE THIRD SUMMERS BROTHER
Family drama plays a big role in the X-Men comics and speculation was through the roof when, in X-Men #23, Mister Sinister implied that Cyclops had yet another brother. One fan theory held that the recently created Adam-X was the lost sibling. Jean Grey even sensed a connection between him and the Summers family. While it ended up being Vulcan, the original fan theory was actually right.
Adam-X creator Fabian Nicieza intended him to be the third Summers brother. The implication was that, after being captured by D’Ken, the Shi'ar emperor, Scott and Alex’s mother, Katherine, had his son, Adam-X. Unfortunately, he abandoned the character and, as with Logan and Sabretooth, the original plot was changed by new writers before becoming canon.
13 NIGHTCRAWLER RETIRED AFTER X2: X-MEN UNITED
After his premier in X2, we thought for sure Nightcrawler would appear in the next installment. However, when The Last Stand arrived, he was nowhere to be seen and his absence was not addressed in the narrative. Given his gentle demeanor and religious nature, many speculated that unlike his comic book counterpart, being a superhero wasn’t for him.
While the films didn’t address Nightcrawler’s absence, X-Men: The Official Game confirmed the fan theory. In the game, Nightcrawler is haunted by visions of Jason Stryker, who he left to die in X2. Before he leaves at the end of the game, Kurt tells Professor Xavier that the lives of the X-Men are too violent for him and his peaceful ways.
12 ICEMAN WAS GAY ALL ALONG
When the young, time-displaced Iceman came out in 2015, many fans cried, “Told you so!” Since 1994, some readers have theorized Bobby was gay. In Uncanny X-Men #319, Bobby brings Rogue to dinner at his parent’s house. It’s strongly implied that, since Bobby’s father doesn’t accept his “differences,” Rogue was his beard. Fans argue that the narrative suggests Bobby’s mutation was a metaphor for bing gay. He brought a woman he couldn’t kiss or touch, after all.
Today, several X-Men are openly LGBTQ, but for the original five created in the '60s, that wasn’t an option. Older Iceman explains this, confirming what readers had speculated for 21 years. Though some disagree, and a few argue young Jean Grey made him gay, the overall theory proved true.
11 MAGNETO GAVE LOGAN NEW METAL CLAWS AFTER THE WOLVERINE
There is no forgetting that Silver Samurai severed Logan's claws in The Wolverine. His bone claws regenerated, and he had them two years later when Xavier and Magneto found approached him in the mid-credit scene. However, in Days of Future Past, Logan is inexplicably back to adamantium claws. Given that Erik was now part of the X-Men team, fans speculated that he gave Logan his new claws.
Bryan Singer all but confirmed this theory prior to the film’s release, stating that the Master of Magnetism could “reconstitute the adamantium claws... [Wolverine] has a different relationship with Magneto, and perhaps Magneto could forge them." The film later hinted at this theory again when young Magneto sees Logan’s bone claws and says, “Imagine if they were metal.”
10 MUTANT EXTINCTION IS INEVITABLE
At the end of Days of Future Past, all the X-Men were alive and well. Fans wanted to believe extinction was averted, but it seemed too good to be true. Beast’s ideas on time being immutable haunted us. “It's like a river, you can throw a pebble into it, create a ripple, but the current always corrects itself. No matter what you do, the river just keeps flowing in the same direction. What I'm saying is, what if the war is inevitable?” This incited a theory that mutant extinction was inevitable.
Two years later, Logan proved them right. No mutants have been born since 2004 due to a virus created by Transigen that wiped out the X-gene. Whichever timeline you look at, mutants are doomed.
9 THE CURE WAS TEMPORARY
Fox greatly emphasized the Last Stand’s mutant cure, even reducing the “Dark Phoenix Saga” to B plot status for it. Magneto, Rogue, and Mystique were all exposed to it and it appeared to work. However, fans weren’t completely sold, especially after Magneto seemingly moved a metal chess piece in the last scene. Those who believed the piece moved argued the cure failed.
The theory was confirmed when a recovered Magneto appeared in The Wolverine. It was further confirmed in Days of Future Past where Rogue’s abilities were also restored. It’s unlikely they were both genetically powerful enough to overcome the cure. The failed experiment would also explain why the Sentinels were introduced to remedy for the mutant “problem.” All signs indicate the cure was temporary.
8 LOGAN'S FATE FORETOLD IN THE WOLVERINE
Perhaps the most well-known of the confirmed X-Men fan theories stems from 2013’s The Wolverine. In the film, Yukio, a mutant who has premonitions of people’s deaths, saw Logan's. She described the vision, saying, “I see you on your back, there's blood everywhere. You're holding your own heart in your hand." We thought this would happen in the film, and it sort of did, but Logan didn’t die.
Fast-forward to 2017’s Logan, and the titular hero meets his end. As he passes, he is on his back, covered in blood, holding his “daughter” Laura’s hand (read: heart) in his. Had Yukio been right after all? When the theory was presented on Twitter, director James Mangold confirmed Logan’s death was accurately foreshadowed four years prior.
7 MUTATIONS IN DAYS OF FUTURE PAST
During the assault on the X-Men at the Chinese temple, Trask’s Sentinel robots demonstrate a slew of mutant powers, some seemingly intended to be throwbacks. Despite the scene’s fast pace and cross-cutting, eagle-eyed fans theorized that two of the Sentinels exhibited Emma Frost and Lady Deathstrike’s mutation.
As Sunspot showers an approaching Sentinel in flames, its exterior shifts into diamond just like Emma’s in X-Men: First Class. Another Sentinel with a rock-like exterior similar to Darwin’s in First Class appears and kicks Sunspot who is then skewered by a Sentinel with claws just like those of X2’s Lady Deathstrike. Bryan Singer and Simon Kinberg confirmed in the film’s commentary that these were, in fact, homages to Emma Frost and Lady Deathstrike.
6 CHARLES XAVIER WOULD DIE IN LOGAN
Once the promotional material for Logan was released, fans began to wonder if Professor Xavier would survive the film. The plot summary described a weary Logan caring for an ailing Professor X, who looked deathly in the released photos. The inevitable theory was that mentally the 90-year-old telepath would die.
Not only did Xavier die, but it was more tragic than we could have imagined. Charles tells whom he thinks is Logan that he remembers the Westchester incident: “Until today, I didn't know. You wouldn't tell me. So, we just kept on running away from it. I think I finally understand you.” Then, X-24, Logan’s identical clone, drives his claws through Xavier’s chest. Sometimes being right isn’t all it's cracked up to be.
5 JEAN GREY WOULD RETURN IN DAYS OF FUTURE PAST
Once original X-Men alumni were being added to the Days of Future Past roster, it was hoped the film would rectify past franchise wrongdoings. Based only on the official plot summary, fans theorized that if the X-Men succeeded in saving Trask, it would create a new timeline where Jean was alive, and the events of The Last Stand would be erased. It was as much a wish as a theory.
Despite no signs of Jean in the film’s marketing or trailers, and Famke Janssen denying any involvement, the theory stood. Covertly, however, Janssen was approached about reprising her role and was secretly flown in for a scene while filming was well underway. Come opening night, the theory was confirmed, making fans, and Logan, very happy.
4 X-MEN: APOCALYPSE FORESHADOWED THE CREATION OF X-23
X-Men: Apocalypse brought us back to Wolverine’s Weapon X roots where, in the post-credits scene, fan theories about Logan’s clone, Laura Kinney/X-23 began. In the scene, men in black suites appear at the Weapon X lab at Alkali Lake and take Stryker’s research including mutant x-rays and a vile of blood marked “Weapon X.” The items were placed in a suitcase engraved with the name Essex Corporation.
Some raised questions about Mister Sinister’s possible involvement, but most theorized that X-23 would be in the next Wolverine installment. The following year, Logan premiered sans Sinister, but with X-23 in tow. Producer Simon Kinberg further confirmed the X-23 theory, stating that the Apocalypse post-credits scene was how Laura was later created by Essex Corp. subsidiary Transigen.
3 THE STEPFORD CUCKOOS WERE IN THE LAST STAND
Before Emma Frost made her franchise debut, her clones, the Stepford Cuckoos, appeared in The Last Stand. Walking in the distance behind Professor Xavier and Storm there are three identical blonde girls. It was a blink-and-you-miss-it moment early in the film, but it was enough to get a theory going.
Though the three girls were never mentioned in the film, they were addressed in its novelization. Written by Chris Claremont and based on Simon Kinberg and Zak Penn’s screenplay, the book reads: “It was the Cuckoos, of course, blond triplets, Polo poster girls, telepaths. They dressed in white, following the style of their headmistress at the incredibly pricey Massachusetts Academy, and they loved to pry, perpetually trolling for any stray or wayward thought.” Case closed.
2 JEAN GREY WOULD BECOME PHOENIX IN X-MEN: APOCALYPSE
As Apocalypse approached, many believed only Jean Grey, with the aid of the Phoenix, could defeat the world’s most powerful mutant. Of the characters revealed, Jean was the most likely victor. Before the film’s release, Bryan Singer described Jean, saying, “[...] she has not only her telekinesis and her telepathy, but she also knows inherently that something darker and more powerful is growing inside her and she doesn’t quite know what it is.”
In the fight again En Sabah Nur, Xavier called on Jean to release her power. In the most stunning and accurate display of the Phoenix, Jean incinerated Apocalypse. While this confirmed the Phoenix theory, Apocalypse’s last words, “All is revealed,” started a new one: was Jean the real apocalypse the title was referencing?
1 KITTY PRYDE'S SECONDARY MUTATION
Days of Future Past failed to explain a few things, particularly Kitty’s new power to send someone’s consciousness back in time. Historically, she can only phase through matter. Hardcore fans proposed Kitty experienced a secondary mutation, a common occurrence in the comics.
Writer Simon Kinberg later confirmed this, saying: “[...] the way I [would] explain it if I really was attacked is that there’s secondary powers that a lot of the mutants have in the X-Men universe, secondary powers that evolve and emerge later in life. So who’s to say that Kitty, who is capable of touching people and having them phase with her through space, why can’t it be that they also phase through time if she evolves her powers?” Sounds like a solid answer.