Once upon a time, sequels to major blockbusters were a bonus, not a given. Now, studios enter into long-term negotiations with actors, directors and screenwriters to map out multi-part storylines knowing that it’s not enough just to deliver a hit movie – you have to build a franchise. 20th Century Fox understands that about the current X-Men series, which is riding high on the back of X-Men: Days of Future Past. Yet, even before a minute of that movie had screened in theaters, the studio already had plans in place for the next film: X-Men: Age of Apocalypse.
What do we already know about the next X-Men movie? A decent amount, actually, as the cast and crew behind Days of Future Past have been open and candid about the progress of the sequel while working the publicity circuit for this current X-Men movie. So let’s slip on our cinematic Cerebro and scan the Internet for up-to-the-minute updates on X-Men: Apocalypse, starting with:
Fox circled the release date of May 27, 2016 for the next X-Men movie, X-Men: Apocalypse. That means it will occupy the same Memorial Day slot that worked so well for X-Men: Days of Future Past this year. It also means that X-Men: Apocalypse will face off against Disney’s planned Alice in Wonderland 2 (according to BoxOfficeMojo), in a similar way to how Days of Future Past is battling Maleficent at the box office at the moment. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Speaking of things “staying the same,” a familiar face will be guiding Marvel’s mutants through their next adventure…
After a multi-year absence from the franchise he helped launch back in 2000, Bryan Singer made his triumphant return for X-Men: Days of Future Past. And by reuniting his original X-Men with the younger X-Men: First Class team, Singer appeared to have laid the groundwork for multiple sequels that could utilize various members of the massive mutant ensemble. Then, Singer found himself in a difficult legal quandary, one that has yet to be resolved. His future with the X-Men franchise was in doubt… until X-Men screenwriter Simon Kinberg confirmed that the plan is to have Bryan Singer stay on board as the director of X-Men: Apocalypse, continuing the storyline that he helped trigger in X-Men: Days of Future Past. We are thrilled, as we made it clear in our review that Singer understands how these heroes operate, and knows how to translate their powers to the big screen (in ways that, say, Brett Ratner does not).
This could change. Bryan Singer’s legal problems could continue, causing him to have to pass the X-Men baton to a different director. But for now, Singer’s still in control of X-Men: Apocalypse, and will be developing the next major mutant movie, due in theaters in 2016.
So, who will the X-Men have to combat? After locking horns with Magneto over the years, and finally coming face to face with Bolivar Trask and his dastardly Sentinels, the X-Men are ready to battle Apocalypse, and we got our first sight of the powerful antagonist in the end-credits sequence of X-Men: Days of Future Past. That brief clip, which showed Apocalypse using his powers to manipulate the Great Pyramid in ancient Egypt, was included to suggest that this mutant has been around for a VERY long time… and at one point in this existence, he was viewed to be a god.
Who is Apocalypse? The Marvel Comics Database reveals that his given name, En Sabah Nur, translates as “The First One,” suggesting that Apocalypse might be the first mutant in existence. He was born with grey skin and blue traces around his features, and had powerful gifts from the time of his birth. Apocalypse’s various powers include flight, invulnerability, superhuman strength, teleportation, telekinesis … basically, he’s invincible. His roots trace back to ancient Egypt (hence, the setting of the Days of Future Past clip), and his difficult lifespan included bouts of enslavement, and fierce battles for power. Along the way, he created his Four Horsemen – Pestilence, Famine, War and Death – who were seen in silhouette in the X-Men: Days of Future tease. So while we don’t know how deep into Apocalypse’s rich history the movie will plunge, as there are countless volumes of X-Men comics on which the film can draw (literally, at one point, Apocalypse fights and kills Dracula in the X-Men books), we assume that the evil mutant’s plan to conquer and enslave unworthy mutants will be part of the villain’s on-screen motivations.
Just introducing Apocalypse into this world opens them doors to so many new possibilities – from Cable or X-Factor to the Alliance of Evil – that our heads are swimming with X-Men ideas that easily could keep Fox in business for the next 10 years.
Source: Marvel Cinematic Universe.