Director James Mangold is striving for a different kind of Wolverine film. In a new interview with Empire, he reveals that the The Wolverine will not be another prequel to Bryan Singer's X-Men films. Even with the bone claws in the above image. Minor spoilers ahead...
In an interview with the magazine, Mangold stated that while his movie sits in the same bone claw backstory universe as the previous Marvel movie, it's different.
"Jean Grey is gone, most of the X-Men are disbanded or gone, so there's a tremendous sense of isolation for him." He continues on... "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."
Which, well, we're not 100% sure what he's getting at. Sounds as though it's set after X-Men: The Last Stand, but with a lot of flashbacks. Maybe. We're just not sure how else bone claws could be in the movie, since Wolverine's skeleton is permanently fused with adamantium — unless they're following the storyline from the comics where Magneto pulls the adamantium out of Logan's body. In any case, Mangold insists it's not a prequel. And just because Jean Grey is gone, that doesn't mean that she can't appear as the Phoenix, as has been rumored recently. I guess we'll just have to wait and see how a sequel can have bone claws.