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It is really puzzling me. In X-Men: Days of Future Past, Kitty says:

Basically, your body will go to sleep while your mind travels back in time. As long as you're back there, past and present will continue to coexist. But once you wake up whatever you've done will take hold and become history. And for the rest of us, it will be the only history that we know. It will be like the last 50 years never happened. And this world, and this war, the only person who will remember it is you.

However, in the future where the sentinels are almost killing them, Kitty doesn't interrupt her magic and Wolverine doesn't wake up, but they all disappear before being killed. How could Wolverine's actions become history and change the future if he didn't wake up from Kitty's power?

  • I don't remember exactly, but maybe Wolverine did something in the past, something that changed the present situation of them and that resulted in them being in a different location at that present time. – HardikT May 18 '18 at 6:41
  • That is for sure, he managed to change the past so that the future is now peaceful and without sentinels. But my problem is, for any change to take effect, Wolverine has to first wake up in the future where the sentinels exist, and only after he wakes up everything can change and the peaceful future can exist. But he doesn't wake up before the sentinels arrive to kill them, so nothing of what he did can actually take hold and become history. – alexb May 21 '18 at 18:08
  • My guess this has to do with the semantics of "conscious" time travel, in which he did wake up in another future and in that future's body of himself. If you watch something like Fringe for instance, Blue Olivias have an instance where the one from the 1-3 timeline's conscious takes over the conscious of the season 4 Olivia and seemingly pushes the other one out! So what KP tells him is somewhat falls, possibly not knowing that they would either be erased and replaced and/or have branched off a new timeline where "Wolverines" can "switch out". – Darth Locke Jun 10 '18 at 20:49
  • he does wake up, but because his actions cause a change to the past, he wakes up in an alternate future. The future where all the x-men are still alive. His consciousness travels back to the future but since the path has changed, he wakes up in an alternate future. which is why he doesn't know anything w.r.t what has happened in the timeline that he woke up in. – atm Dec 17 '18 at 13:48
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You seem to be misunderstanding Kitty's phrase:

... once you wake up whatever you've done will take hold and become history. And for the rest of us, it will be the only history that we know.

Wolverine is just required to "wake up", not "wake up in the future where the sentinels exist" as you mention in your comment below the question.

If he does go back in time and alter history, so that Trask's sentinel project gets shut down in 1973 itself, there would be no sentinels in the future. Hence, in the future, or more precisely, in the year 2023, the X-Men and Magneto would not be taking refuge from sentinel attack in the Chinese temple that they gathered in at the start of the film. Rather, the entire history between 1973 and 2023 would stand altered: there would be no mutant-sentinel wars in these 50 years. As a consequence, when the same day in the year 2023 comes, all these characters would be at a different location altogether. This is the reason why people interpret this movie to split the original X-men timeline, since Wolverine altered the original timeline to create an alternate future.

As is revealed in the last part of the film, that 'different location' is just the X-mansion. The sentinel-free future is the happy future, where everyone is alive and well, and the senior X-men have all become teachers/mentors to the younger mutants in the Xavier school.



As a bonus, let me give you an alternative, unrelated analogous story, which explains the situation more clearly:

  • Let's assume a scientist couple Alice and Bob are leading a peaceful life in Chicago, in the year 1973 with their child Chris, and a fourth person, Duncan, wants to kill Bob.
  • As Bob goes to work on February 23, 1973 at 8:45 AM, Duncan stabs him in front of his office entrance.
  • Duncan flees, doesn't get caught, and despite family's insistence, there's no evidence to establish that Duncan killed Bob. Duncan walks off free.
  • On March 1, 1973, a grief-struck Alice resolves to erase these events, and resumes working on a time-machine that she and Bob were working on prior to Bob's death. To keep this a secret, Alice relocates her lab to the outhouse of an uninhabited mansion in the outskirts of the city, and visits the lab all heavily disguised.
  • On September 19, 1980, a grown-up Chris avenges Bob's murder, by murdering Duncan. Chris gets caught by the police, and is imprisoned while being under trial.
  • On September 22, 1980, after years of effort, Alice is finally successful in making the time-machine. But this time machine won't send back Alice as a person, but rather, her conscience, to a specific date and time, to convey the message.
  • Alice sends back her conscience to February 22, 1973, and alerts old Alice about what's going to happen next morning. Old Alice convinces Bob about the fore-warning, they both get Duncan nabbed by the police as Duncan is just about to stab Bob at 8:44 AM.

As a consequence of these developments, the post-1973 timeline changed for both families. Chris never murdered Duncan, and therefore, never went to jail. When September 22, 1980 arrives, Bob is alive, Chris isn't in jail, the family is doing fine in their regular house (unless something else untoward happened), Duncan is imprisoned, and no one is present at the outhouse.

That's just what happened in X-Men DOFP, after Wolverine altered the timeline.

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Wolverine does wake up.

Wolverine, having altered one of the pasts (that is, as long as he's asleep, there are effectively two pasts co-existing: the one that determined the current future in which Logan goes to sleep, and the one that will determine the alternate future (i.e. the new only future [ignoring multiverse theories]), has to awake in order to cause his changes to the past to take hold. This means, he is, at the time of sleeping - at the time of altering the past - like Schrödinger's cat: potentially in two places. Waking up in the 'original' future would mean that he had been unable to change the past sufficiently; ergo, he awakes in the improved timeline, with the X-Men around him, alive and well.

As a side note: obviously there is a multiverse, since the timeline we have seen take shape throughout the film is still there, but without the X-Men there (remember how Kitty says "and for the rest of us, it will be the only history that we know"). This means that the sentinels are looking for the X-Men who must have literally entirely disappeared from that point onwards in this timeline. Must be quite the disappointment.

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