In 1973, Bolivar Trask unsuccessfully attempted to lobby Congress to approve his Sentinel program and thus attempted to seek the support of Communists during the Paris Peace Accords. However, Mystique infiltrated the meeting and assassinated Trask, starting a chain of events that led to her capture, Trask made into a martyr and eventually a dystopic future ruled by Sentinels who oppress mutants.

In a desperate attempt, Kitty Pryde sends Wolverine's consciousness back to 1973 so he could recruit young Charles Xavier to stop Mystique and avert the dystopic future she would indirectly create. However, in saving Trask, they inadvertently exposed the existence of mutants to the world. Trask then convinces President Richard Nixon into approving the Sentinel program, with the assurance that his Mark I Sentinels were made of a non-metallic polymer that were immune to Magneto's abilities. However, Magneto intercepted the shipments carrying the Mark Is and secretly inserts pieces of metal inside the robots so he could control them.

At the Sentinels' unveiling in Washington D.C., Magneto takes controls of them, using the machines to scare away the audience before dropping a stadium around the White House, the Sentinels guarding the perimeter. When Beast and Wolverine attempted to intervene, Magneto unleashed one of the Sentinels on them. Eventually, Beast injects himself with an overdose of a serum that reverted him to human form, causing the Sentinel to ignore him and focus on Magneto and Mystique, who was in disguise as Nixon, forcing Magneto to destroy it. Mystique then revealed herself by shooting Magneto in the neck with a plastic gun, stunning him and causing the Sentinels to shut down. As she turns her gun on Trask, Xavier talks her out of it and she spares his life. This leads to the Sentinel program being shut down, Trask arrested for selling military secrets and the dystopic future averted.

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