When X-Men Origins: Wolverine hit theaters, many fans didn't care for it and part of that reason would be how it didn't match up with the timeline of the other films. People pointed out this problem even more with the prequel X-Men: First Class. With the upcoming film The Wolverine being about Logan's time in Japan, coupled with the 'after credits sequence' of Logan in Japan from the previous film, we've all assumed that this next entry will be a follow-up that leads into Bryan Singer's X-Men. We were wrong. If you don't want to know anything else, don't read further due to potential spoilers.
In an interview with Empire, director James Mangold said that this film is not a prequel at all. "Where this film sits in the universe of the films is after them all," revealed Mangold. "Jean Grey is gone, most of the X-Men are disbanded or gone, so thereís a tremendous sense of isolation for him."
Now, there will be prequel elements in the film as we already know some scenes will take place in World War II, but after that it will presumably jump to the present day.
"Thatís something that for me was very important, that I land in a very specific place in his timeline," says Mangold. "I wanted to be able to tell the story without the burden of handing it off to a film that already exists and having to conform to it. The ideas of immortality reign very heavily in this story and the burden of immortality weighs heavily on Logan. For me thatís such an interesting part of Loganís character that is nearly impossible to explore if you have a kind of league or team movie."
And before you start to think of this movie as an action adventure, Mangold gave his two cents on its categorization: "Japanese noir picture with tentpole action in it."
Opening in theaters on July 26, 2013, The Wolverine stars Hugh Jackman, Will Yun Lee, Svetlana Khodchenkova, Hiroyuki Sanada, Hal Yamanouchi, Tao Okamoto, Rila Fukushima and Brian Tee.
Empire also unveiled a new photo from the film which you can see below.