The latest issue of Empire has gifted us with a new image from James Mangold's 'The Wolverine,' (which you can see after the break) but perhaps more importantly is a straight-from-Mangold revelation regarding where exactly this film fits into the 'X-Men' movie universe. Is it indeed a direct follow-up to 'X-Men Origins: Wolverine' as previously believed? And will it be consistent with the mythology presented in the other 'X-Men' flicks?

Speaking with Empire, Mangold squashed all of our notions that this is a prequel to the 'X-Men' films, which comes as quite the surprise. Here's a quote that lays it all out:

Where this film sits in the universe of the films is after them all. Jean Grey is gone, most of the X-Men are disbanded or gone, so there’s a tremendous sense of isolation for him."

The "Jean Grey is gone" bit casts an even more mysterious light on this week's rumor that Famke Janssen visited the film's Australian set to shoot a quick cameo. If that ends up being true, one would have to assume that her appearance comes via flashback.

Regarding the pic, it's interesting to note that Hugh Jackman's Logan is sporting bone claws as opposed to his trusty adamantium. This would indeed suggest that flashbacks are in play, but as no details are available, we can only speculate.

As for the film itself, Mangold calls it a "Japanese noir picture with tentpole action in it," which just about sounds like the coolest thing ever. He also says that it doesn't cross-over into any of the other 'X-Men' films, that he "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." So we can evidently wipe out any ideas of a tie-in with 'X-Men First Class: Days of Future Past.'

To read more from the director, head over to Empire.

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