Fans of X-Men who saw the latest two movies — Logan and last summer’s X-Men: Apocalypse — probably noticed something kinda weird about one recurring character. Despite offering no continuity or explanation as to why it happened this way, the mutant Caliban showed up in both, in Logan played by Stephen Merchant, and in Apocalypse by Thomas Lemarquis. Despite a bit of an accent on Lemarquis’ part, they both looked mostly the same: albino, weird eyes, bald. There was just a weird lack of continuity, and James Mangold recently explained why.

The Logan director was asked by Nerdist exactly what happened with that character, and whether Mangold had collaborated with the rest of Fox’s X-Men team. In short, he hadn’t.

It’s a funny, messy story of how so often these things are not as coordinated as everyone thinks. I actually had written him into our movie, and they didn’t know [he was] in Apocalypse, and then they kind of wrote it in their movie, and they cast someone in their movie and I had not seen it and was working away on mine.

The continuity of the X-Men universe is pretty weird — basically, Days of Future Past retconned everything that happened from X2 until First Class, buuut then the Wolverine movies have their own sort of continuity, taking some cues from the original X-Men trilogy and building upon their own mythology, with even the ending of Logan foreshadowed in The Wolverine way back in 2013. So Caliban’s appearance in both Apocalypse and Logan was a complete coincidence (that honestly could have been avoided with a little back-and-forth between studios).

It doesn’t completely ruin the X-Men timeline — Logan’s Caliban’s past isn’t addressed, so it’s not like Apocalypse added in some weird interlude that should have informed his character, but didn’t — but it shows a strange miscommunication within a studio whose franchise is already confusing enough as it is. Probably something Deadpool can make a joke or two out of later.

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