It's been assumed almost from the very beginning that director James Mangold's The Wolverine was going to be a prequel movie, but apparently that's not the case at all. In fact, the movie actually is set after the events in X-Men 3: The Last Stand. That's surprisingly awesome!
In an interview with Empire, the director explained the setting of the story,
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.
Of course there's going to be some prequel elements as we've seen some World War II set pieces, and there's the rumor that Jean Grey will make an appearance. But the film will actually be set in present day Japan. Mangold continues,
That’s something that for me was very important, that I land in a very specific place in his timeline. 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 that’s such an interesting part of Logan’s character that is nearly impossible to explore if you have a kind of league or team movie.
Mangold then reveals how he would categorize the film saying that it's a "Japanese noir picture with tentpole action in it." I'm really excited about this movie, and I love that it takes place after the events of X-Men 3. There's something about it that makes the movie a lot more appealing.
The film is set to open in theaters on July 26, 2013, and it stars Hugh Jackman, Will Yun Lee, Svetlana Khodchenkova, Hiroyuki Sanada, Hal Yamanouchi, Tao Okamoto, Rila Fukushima and Brian Tee.
What do you think about The Wolverine not being a prequel?