When you're dealing with decades worth of storylines and multiple versions of different characters, it's hard to keep track of how everything fits into place. This is the case when it comes to movies based on comic book characters, especially when franchises and stories are being rebooted right and left. For example, this year's The Amazing Spider-Man has absolutely nothing to do with its predecessors, the Sam Raimi-directed trilogy.
In contrast, other Marvel properties have been weaved together to create a seamless story. Thor, Iron Man, Captain America and even The Incredible Hulk, to some extent, serve to put pieces into place for The Avengers.
So it's no surprise that the latest film to feature Hugh Jackman's Wolverine needs to find its place among all the other pictures he's appeared in. Many people assumed that this movie would be a prequel, seeing as it's partially being filmed in Japan where a good deal of Wolverine's backstory takes place.
However, according to ComingSoon.net, that isn't the case. Director James Mangold reveals that The Wolverine is set after the original X-Men trilogy, as well as X-Men Origins: Wolverine. While some sequences take place during World War II, these are allegedly just flashbacks and aren't part of the main story that's set in the present day.