Time travel is a tricky thing. Even the smallest change in the past can completely transform the future. Not that they’re based in science, but we’ve seen this exact thing happen time and time again in movies like ‘Back to the Future’, ‘Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure’, and ‘The Butterfly Effect’. But few film franchises have used this to their advantage like 20th Century Fox has with ‘X-Men’. Thanks to ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’, the future that includes the original trilogy of films and ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’ is completely uncertain. Now in an effort to straighten things out, Simon Kinberg and Bryan Singer have spoken out about where ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ and the various upcoming spinoffs could lead.

During a set visit over the summer, Collider spoke to the filmmakers/architects behind Marvel’s mutant movies about the new timeline that they’ve established with ‘Days of Future Past’. Kinberg starts off by comparing their path in their story to a river:

“It’s not leading necessarily toward exactly where we found Patrick Stewart and the X-Men at the beginning of X-Men 1. There are some things that lead in that general direction, that was part of the philosophy we had at the end of ‘Days of Future Past’ is that you can’t fully change the course or current of the river, but you can just divert it a little bit, and we diverted it a little bit. So some things will be surprises; people could die that were alive in X-Men 1, 2 and 3, or people could survive that died during 1, 2 and 3.”

Singer goes on to take a more scientific stance on the matter by explaining that there are some points in time that cannot change. That’s why he was super adamant about including something in his last film to help illustrate that point:

“What happens when you use ‘Days of Future Past’ to erase movies like X1, 2 and 3, yes you can erase those events that occurred, but I also was very adamant about having what we call ‘The Tivo Scene.’ The scene in that room with all the video cameras in ‘Days of Future Past’, I call it the Tivo scene. ‘I developed this piece of technology that records television;’ the point is time’s immutability. The idea that time is like a river. You can splash it and mess it up and throw rocks in it and shatter it but it eventually kind of coalesces and this is, again, quantum physics theory. It’s all based in quantum physics.”

The filmmaker continued with the topic of immutability, but stressed that anything could still happen within this new continuity that they created. He even goes on to show some push and pull with Kinberg later on about the future that we saw in ‘Days of Future Past’ where Beast, Jean, Cyclops, and others are alive and well. Basically, if you think you have it figured out, you really don’t:

“So what I’m doing with these in-betweenquels is playing with time’s immutability and the prequel concept, meaning that yes we erased those storylines and anything can happen. That means the audience goes into the movie thinking that anything can happen. I mean anything, anyone could die. Any possibility could occur, but characters are still moving towards their immutable place. Jean and Scott, are they meant to be together? Is Scott, this guy who hates schools and hates authority, destined to become a leader? You don’t know. Is Jean ever going to discover the full potential of her power? You don’t know, but we move in those directions character-wise but then we have the freedom story-wise to do whatever the fuck we want because we erased those three movies.”

This whole thing is pretty genius when you think about it. Singer has managed to reboot this franchise with reinterpretations of the same iconic characters without discarding the films that came before it. At first glance, it all may be a little confusing, but once you start talking about it, it’s all pretty great. Man, I love time travel.

What do you think about the new continuity of Fox’s ‘X-Men’ universe? Are you excited to see what changes come with ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’? Head on back to Collider to see everything that Bryan Singer and Simon Kinberg had to say on the matter, then share your thoughts and theories in the comments below.