I realized while writing up the hero datafiles that casual fans of Marvel may be a little confused on how the Young X-Men work in the marvel timeline. I’ve seen quite a few comments on videos and articles on X-Men Blue where people are shocked and confused by the Young X-Men still being in the present.
All of it makes sense, trust me, and I’ll explain briefly.
The short answer is that they were originally linked to the present timeline X-Men, but that changed at some point.
The long answers follows from here.
When Cyclops went rogue and started a mutant extremist group, Beast lamented how easy and simple things used to be when the X-Men first started. This gave him the idea of how to fix things: he went into the past and retrieved their past selves to try and talk sense to present Cyclops. Beast hoped that seeing his young, idealist self might shake sense back into Cyclops.
They were confirmed to be from the same reality as their future selves during the Battle of The Atom min-event. During it, young Cyclops’ heart stops and he almost dies. When this happens, modern Cyclops vanishes and they realize that, if they don’t stop this, then time will be changed forever. Thanks to help of a mutant healer, young Cyclops is saved and time goes on as normal.
This renews efforts to send the young X-Men back to the past. However, there appears to be some kind of time-travel block that is stopping the X-Men from doing so. Despite the combined Beast’s efforts, they cannot find a mean to time-travel with science, despite being able to do so previously. Something has changed.
It doesn’t help that the young X-Men are still torn on going back due to their fear of the future.
Hank McCoy, feeling insecure about his lack of knowledge and eager to find a solution, seeks out Doctor Strange for tutelage in magic. With magic, he finally breaks the time travel block and can return to the past.
However, things are not as they seem.
When he brings the team back, they are first happy to find everything exactly as they left it. They even try to go fight Unus The Untouchable from X-Men #8, which would have been the next issue after they were taken to the future.
But, that’s when this happens:
They find their past selves (future selves? present selves?) there already, acting exactly as they did in X-Men #8.
There are a few theories how this happened. It could be the machinations of a yet unnamed cosmic entity that has plans for the young X-Men. It could be the result of Secret Wars as Reed Richards remade the multiverse and could have decided to fix this paradox while doing so. It could just be the time stream acting on its own to preserve itself. This revelation only happened this March so it’s still open on how it exactly happened.
The real reason it happened, however, is that the young X-Men are popular and their comics were one of the highest selling books marvel was selling at the time. Marvel didn’t want to shoot themselves in the foot by writing out a popular team of superheroes. Considering X-Men Blue and the Jean Grey single’s high sales, it seems like a good decision so far.
The young X-Men take this news rather well.
After all, after finding out all those awful things about the future, after finding out all the things they suffer through and how broken and terrible things turned out, they were told they would never have to go through it and now have a chance to live their own future. Talk about a relief.
Of course, that doesn’t free them from all the stress and pressures. Many of them still worry about falling down the same path as their future selves did. Jean Grey is on a journey of self-discovery because the Phoenix Force wishes to use her as a new vessel, Scott is still beating himself up over his future selves actions and is terrified of becoming him, and on and on.
Just because they know they are free, doesn’t mean they are immune to making the same mistakes and following the same path, if they’re not careful. This is why their milestones still reflect their fear of the future in their datafiles. They know they won’t have to live it beat-by-beat, but they also know they easily can if they are not careful and make the same screw-ups.