Days of Future Past

Days of Future Past
"Days of Future Past"

Cover of X-Men vol. 1, 141 (Jan, 1981).Art by John Byrne.
Publisher Marvel Comics
Publication date January – February 1981
Genre Superhero
Title(s) X-Men (vol. 1) #141
The Uncanny X-Men #142[1]
Main character(s) X-Men
Brotherhood of Evil Mutants
Creative team
Writer(s) Chris Claremont
Penciller(s) John Byrne
Inker(s) Terry Austin
Collected editions
Trade paperback ISBN 0785115609
Graphic novel ISBN 0871355825
Essential X-Men Vol. 2 ISBN 0785102981

"Days of Future Past" is a popular storyline in the Marvel Comics comic book The Uncanny X-Men issues #141 and #142, published in 1981. It deals with a dystopian alternate future in which mutants are incarcerated in internment camps. An older Kitty Pryde transfers her mind into the younger, present-day Kitty Pryde, who brings the X-Men to prevent a fatal moment in history which triggers anti-mutant hysteria.

The storyline was very popular at the time and was produced during the franchise's rapid rise to popularity,[citation needed] which was largely due to "The Dark Phoenix Saga" and "Days of Future Past" writer/artist team of Chris Claremont and John Byrne. As a result of this popularity, the dark future seen in this story was revisited on several occasions. The first issue of this storyline was voted the 25th greatest Marvel Comic of all time by the fans in 2001.[2]

This reality has been designated as Earth-811.



The storyline alternates between present day, in which the X-Men fight Mystique's Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, and a future timeline caused by the X-Men's failure to prevent the Brotherhood from assassinating Senator Robert Kelly. In this future universe, Sentinels rule the United States, and mutants live in internment camps. The present-day X-Men are forewarned of the possible future by a future version of their teammate Kitty Pryde, whose mind traveled back in time and possessed her younger self to warn the X-Men. She succeeds in her mission and returns to the future, but despite her success, the future timeline still exists as an alternate timeline rather than as the actual future. (The Official Handbook to the Marvel Universe: Alternate Universes 2005 gave the numerical designation of "Days of Future Past" Earth as Earth-811).

Company Crossover References

There are two sets of cameos/in-jokes in the depiction of the Senate hearings: appearing in the background as the fight between the X-Men and the Brotherhood breaks out are a man and women not identified but clearly meant to resemble Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen. The woman has the blue-highlighted hair and familiar haircut as she was drawn for many years by Kurt Schaffenberger and the young man has orange hair and freckles, and is wearing a green sportcoat and bow tie with a camera around his neck. After the fight breaks through the wall to outside the building a red-bearded man is seen yelling to a blonde-haired woman as he starts to run, "Joanie, that's the X-Men! I've got to call the paper!", with the implication that these are Joanie Caucus and Washington Post reporter Rick Redfern from Doonesbury. The artwork itself is its own reference as the characters are clearly recognizable to anyone familiar with comic art from the period and the period preceding it.


Rachel Summers, who was a key player in the original storyline, traveled through time from this alternate future, Earth-811, to the present day and joined the X-Men. Nimrod, the "ultimate Sentinel", followed her to the present and became a foe of the X-Men and the Hellfire Club. Another supervillain, Ahab, later followed her to the present in the Days of Future Present crossover.


Days of Future Present

Ahab kidnapped the children Franklin Richards (son of Mister Fantastic and the Invisible Woman and, in the future timeline, Rachel's love) and Nathan Summers (son of Cyclops and Madelyne Pryor) but was defeated by the X-Men, X-Factor, the New Mutants and the Fantastic Four.

Meanwhile, Rachel joined the European mutant team Excalibur, whose series twice revisited the "Days of Future Past" timeline. The first time was in a story by Alan Davis entitled "Days Of Future Yet To Come," in which a time-traveling Excalibur and several Marvel UK heroes overthrow the Sentinel rulers of future America. This storyline also revealed that Excalibur's robotic "mascot" Widget had been possessed by the spirit of the future Kitty Pryde.

A similar but distinct reality[3] was seen in a vision by her teammate Captain Britain. This story, "Days of Future Tense," revealed the final fate of that timeline's Excalibur team.

A prelude to Days of Future Past was produced in a three-part mini-series entitled "Wolverine: Days Of Future Past." This three-issue mini dealt with ramifications between the catalyst for the creation of the alternate future up until the main storyline in Uncanny X-Men 141-142. The prelude explains why Logan leaves for Canada and why Magneto is in a wheelchair in the main two issue story.

Another view of this reality was presented in the second issue of Hulk: Broken Worlds. A short story, "Out of Time," examines the life of Bruce Banner (the Hulk) in a Sentinel prison camp.

In other media


  • The Days of Future Past storyline was adapted in the X-Men animated series. The storyline concepts were combined with another alternate future story -- that of Bishop and the idea of a traitor within the ranks of the X-Men. In the original comic book version, the traitor was responsible for killing the X-Men. Bishop believed Gambit was the traitor. This story was combined into the Days of Future Past plot, and the traitor was the one who killed Senator Kelly. The traitor turned out to be Mystique imitating Gambit's form. The future that Kelly's death led to was similar to the comic's. Every mutant was put into concentration camps. Eventually the Sentinels decided they would have to take over in order to protect mankind. Under the machines' rule, the entire North American continent was turned into a wasteland with its human population living in fear of their robotic masters and its mutant population rendered almost extinct. Only a small group of mutant rebels remained free and unharmed, led by an aged Wolverine. In the animated series, Bishop is not the mutant police agent that he is in his comic's future. Instead, he's a bounty hunter who captures Wolverine and his team. When the Sentinels betray Bishop, he sides with Wolverine and Forge, who has invented a time portal he uses to alter history and prevent their time from ever occurring. Bishop volunteers to travel back in time, but arrives with amnesia and being pursued by the future super-sentinel, Nimrod. After an encounter with the present-day X-Men, a battle with Nimrod and a mind-scan by Professor X, Bishop's memory returns and he implicates Gambit as the traitor he has been sent to stop. The X-Men travel to Washington to guard Kelly and fight the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Their leader, Mystique, uses her shape-shifting powers to disguise herself as Kelly's aide and lures him away. She then assumes Gambit's form and tries to kill Kelly in front of the real bound and gagged aide she impersonated. The real Gambit arrives in time to stop her, but when Bishop finds himself confronted with two Gambits, he threatens to shoot both of them for security's sake. Rogue stops him, tearing off the armband that keeps him anchored in time, hurling him back to his own future. Arriving back in his future, it first seemed to Bishop that nothing had changed and that the world was still as he had left it, but he discovers something had changed - a deadly plague has raged around the world, engineered by the ancient mutant, Apocalypse. Traveling back in time once more to stop the virus, Bishop succeeds, but the X-Men perished in the effort. This in turn caused the erasure of the future reality of 3999, home-time to the mutant mercenary Cable, who traveled back to before Bishop's arrival in the past and altered events once more to ensure the destruction of the virus, the survival of the X-Men and the preservation of both his and Bishop's timelines. When the time-portal-generating mutant Trevor Fitzroy was assigned the task of traveling back to the mid-20th Century and killing a young Professor X, his actions created an alternate present (analogous to the comic book's Age of Apocalypse). Bishop and his sister, Shard traveled to this time and teamed up with the alternate versions of Wolverine and Storm, undoing Fitzroy's actions. As the siblings returned to their own time, Shard emerged through the portal, but Bishop was cast off-course. In 3999, Apocalypse has wrested the power of time-travel from Cable, and his transit through the timestream clashed with Bishop's, hurling them both into Limbo, the "axis of time." There, Bishop was pestered by the maniac "janitor of time," Bender (actually the disguised form of the Avengers foe, Immortus) while Apocalypse mastered the axis' ability to touch all times, forming a complex plot to rewrite time using the combined power of captured psychic mutants. Bishop was instrumental in stopping this scheme, liberating some of the psychics at a key juncture, who used their powers to banish Apocalypse from the timestream. As of the end of the series, the storyline remains unresolved, with nothing having been shown to alter Bishop's future from the dystopia seen in "Days of Future Past."
  • The series Wolverine and the X-Men has a similar storyline. Instead of Kitty Pryde transferring her thoughts, Professor X is in a coma for 20 years after what happened in the first episode. When he wakes up, he finds that the mutants of his world are imprisoned by the Sentinels. He telepathically connects with the X-Men of the past to try to prevent that future from happening. By the end of the first season, the Sentinel-dominated future was averted. However, a future based on the Age of Apocalypse has appeared in its place.
  • The Days of Future Past reality will appear in The Super Hero Squad Show episode "Days, Nights, and Weekends of Future Past."


  • During a Danger Room session, the X-Men battle a simulated Sentinel (shrouded in smoke; the only part seen is the head after Wolverine decapitates it) in a similar background. Also, most of the X-Men (Wolverine, Storm, Colossus, & Shadowcat) were present in the storyline. It's further referenced in the caption: "The not so distant future".

Video Games

  • Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 has a Days of Future Past-inspired stage serving as an alternate to the standard Metro City stage, with an "Apprehended"/"Slain" poster similar to the famous one, featuring characters from both Marvel and Capcom that starred in Marvel vs. Capcom 2: New Age of Heroes, but did not return for the Marvel vs. Capcom 3 games. Taking the place of the playable Wolverine is Mega Man.

In popular culture

  • The cover art for Uncanny X-Men #141 was subject of an homage in a Star Wars Insider cover with Obi-Wan Kenobi standing in front of a wanted poster with Jedi Knights instead of mutants. It's been the subject of many other homages.
  • In "Genesis", the first episode of the television series Heroes, the character of Hiro Nakamura cites Kitty's traveling through time as teaching him about the concepts of time travel. Hiro states that the comic taught him that time is a circle, even though it actually insinuated that time branched. The episode "Five Years Gone" was a further homage to the story.

Collected editions

  • Days of Future Past (TPB) ISBN 0-7851-1560-9 collects X-Men (vol. 1) #138-141, The Uncanny X-Men #142-143 and X-Men Annual #4
  • Days of Future Past (Graphic Novel) ISBN 0-87135-582-5 collects X-Men (vol. 1) #141 and The Uncanny X-Men #142
  • Essential X-Men Vol. 2 ISBN 0-7851-0298-1 collects (reduced to black and white) X-Men (vol. 1) #120-141, The Uncanny X-Men #142-144


  1. ^ The arc appeared in the issues on either side of the change of the magazine title from X-Men to The Uncanny X-Men
    "X-Men #141". Grand Comics Database. Retrieved 2008-01-21. 
    "Uncanny X-Men, The #142". Grand Comics Database. Retrieved 2008-01-21. 
  2. ^ 100 Greatest Marvels of All Time, Volume 1 (2001)
  3. ^ which notes the various points of difference between the two realities, and the OHOTMU entry for Days of Future Past, which identifies Days of Future Tense as Earth-9620 and Days of Future Past as Earth-811

See also

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