It would be easy to summarise 2016 as the year of superhero smackdowns with Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice or Captain America: Civil War, there are other highly-anticipated titles that could be dark horses. Deadpool, due to be released in February, has a genuine chance of outshining its more bravura rivals, while Suicide squad seems like it add an even darker layer to DC’s already exciting cinematic universe.
However, where’s the love for Bryan Singer’s X-Men: Apocalypse? Hot off the success of Days of Future Past, Singer is introducing several fan-favourite characters and arguably the most powerful X-Men villain of all time in Oscar Isaac’s Apocalypse in wrapping up the critically-acclaimed trilogy. Now, as the May 27th release date inches closer and closer, tons of details are being unearthed after various set visits earlier in the year.
Yes, the curtain is being well and truly drawn back on Apocalypse, so let’s delve in and see what’s behind…
1. Apocalypse Has No Body
Taking liberties with the character that appeared in the comics, Singer and producer Simon Kinberg decided that Apocalypse will have no physical form, moving from body to body as he gets more powerful: “What’s wonderful is he thinks in the beginning of the film he’s found this great body,” Singer explains. “It kind of ends up being the wrong one because he gets stuck in it for a long time.”
Forget about bodies, Apocalypse is still going to be one of the most formidable villains we’ve ever seen grace the screen.
2. Professor Xavier Will Be Hardened By The End Of X-Men: Apocalypse
What can we expect from James McAvoy’s Professor X?
“I think in this movie Charles is still really one of the main stories of the movie, but if that one was him sort of going from being hopeless to having hope, this one is in some ways him having too much hope at the beginning of the movie and becoming a little more hardened by the end of the film,” Simon Kinberg told JoBlo (via Squareeyed) during a set visit.
“Actually the Professor Xavier that we’re trying to arc toward at the end of this movie is slightly different than the Patrick Stewart Xavier we saw,” Kinberg added.
“You’re going from a guy who basically runs a school for kids and students to someone that’s gonna start a superhero fighting team. So X-Men: Apocalypse is, as Bryan Singer has said before, in many ways the origin of the X-Men and the notion of a guy who would, like I say, start a Freedom Force in the basement of his house.”
3. Cyclops and Jean Grey Haven’t Fully Grasped Their Mutant Potential Yet
Apocalypse is set in 1983, 10 years after Days of Future Past, which means we will see a Cyclops and Jean Grey in their younger days. Here’s what to expect from the iconic characters:
“They’re in a battle scene and Scott keeps taking off his glasses but he can’t see what he’s trying to hit because he doesn’t have a visor, he doesn’t have any technology,” Singer told Slash Film.
“So finally I was like ‘Okay, okay, wait, wait.’ So Jean just grabs the back of his head and starts moving him around. She’s trying to hit the enemy, I don’t want to say who the enemy is, she’s just trying to use them as target practice. So suddenly we did that and we started playing with that and having fun with it and then we were like ‘Oh sh*t, we have to service that and film the other side of it. It’s a scene now! We’re running out of time!’
“They’re kids! They don’t know what to do! She’s trying to figure out her psychic powers, which are much more powerful than she realizes. There’s some heartbreak, beautiful and climactic, again I don’t want to give anything away. But that was one beat that on the day I’m watching him do this and I’m like ‘You can’t see sh*t, you don’t even know what you’re hitting,’ so I said ‘Grab his head, use them for target practice.’ It’s so cute and it brings them together. There are many scenes that bring them together but that’s one that was like the video game version. You get Sophie Turner grabbing Tye Sheridan and using him as a point and shoot.”
4. We’ll See A Different Side Of Nightcrawler
Alan Cumming was excellent as Nightcrawler in X2: X-Men United, but Apocalypse’s iteration of the popular character will be different. According to actor Kodi-Smith-McPhee, we’ll see a side to him that we love.
“We’ll see the more vulnerable, swashbuckling, joyous, random personality that we love,” he told JoBlo.
“But he’s also grounded in his faith at a young age as well, as we went with the choice to still have the designs. So it’s a mix of things.”
5. Psylocke’s Addition
Easily one of the most exciting additions to the franchise is Olivia Munn’s Psylocke, featuring as one of the leading villains.
Munn spoke about Psylocke’s blade to ComicBook.com: “Yeah, which is why I had to learn to use a regular sword with both hands, so I can switch in between,” she said. “It’s more work for the special effects guys but it’s pretty cool. That was actually James McAvoy’s idea. He was like, “’f you can use both hands,’ he’s like, ‘Then you can go, you can switch, you can…’ Because the thing about sword work is that you’re always keeping somebody off. Like they don’t really know it’s happening. You’re really throwing people off. Your opponent. He was like, “Well, you can really throw them off if you’re going from your real sword to your psychic sword and then just switching hands and it’s just…’ I was like, ‘That sounds awesome.’”
“She’s methodical and very loyal and she’s very calm and she’s fearless,” she revealed. “Her aggression is below the surface, but it’s like, it’s bubbling … It’s right there at any moment to access. She’s a very calm, easygoing, kind of person within this world of insanity, but she’s so powerful and strong.”
6. Three Romances To Feature In Storyline
Deadpool may be opening on Valentine’s Day weekend, but Apocalypse will be where all the love’s at. According to Bryan Singer, the film will feature three significant romances.
“We rekindle romances, there’s three romances we start together. One that I didn’t really explore in Days of Future Past but I did when I wrote the story for First Classbetween Hank and Raven. We’ve got Jean and Scott. Suddenly Xavier and Moira start getting reconnected, so that’s all starting to happen,” he told SlashFilm.
“So there are a lot of rebirths. Ultimately this movie – this doesn’t answer your question but I don’t want to forget to mention because I did forget to mention at the Comic-Con panel and I felt bad about it because you only get one shot to say one thing and then you’re done — but this movie is about the story of the formation of the team. That’s really what this is.”
7. The Extent of Apocalypse’s Powers
We know that Apocalypse is an immensely powerful character, but Singer revealed the true extent in comparing him to ‘the God of the Old Testament.
“To me he is the God of the Old Testament and all that comes with that,” director Bryan Singer said to press.
“I started from there. When Oscar and I met, we began discussing, since he isn’t really God, he’s the first mutant perhaps, he’s imbued with certain unique powers. Some of them may or may not be from this Earth,” Singer elaborated.
“Then we started looking at cults and the nature of cults. True cult leaders develop god complexes, and the old God always traditionally had four horsemen. So I thought a cult has traditionally four factions to it that interest me. It has a political faction, and I’d always felt Magneto could fill those shoes. It always has a military faction, so Archangel could fill those shoes as the guardian.
“There’s also a youth faction, those that you’re trying to seduce and grow into your cult, the young whose minds are malleable, and lastly the sexual component because cult leaders tend to sexualize their position and have sex with half the people in their cult. And the Psylocke character was a very bright character in the comic but is always looking for guidance and leadership. Always trying to find the right guy, so she starts with one and ends up with Apocalypse in this one. I always thought there was a mixture of ancient religion and cultism combined in the character of Apocalypse.”
8. The Timeline
Days of Future Past made good use of the complicated plot device of time travel, wiping away the events of previous movies and establishing a new timeframe. However, that doesn’t mean Apocalypse will lead up to the events of the original X-Men movie.
“The intention at the end of Days of Future Past was that final future we saw was the destination for the characters. So barring another time travel or something else that would upset the timeline, that would be the fate of those characters.”
Hmmm, even though this is an enormous, climactic chapter, in a sense, the future of X-Men movies is still very healthy.
9. The X-Mansion Will Be Destroyed
The destruction of Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters is regular occurrence in the X-Men comics, and while we’ve seen attacks on the mansion before now in the movies, it’s set to be blown up Michael Bay-style in the upcoming film!
Apocalypse is obviously the one who brings the iconic building crashing down as part of his enormous destruction on the world. Specifics on how the scene plays out haven’t been revealed, though it will include Mystique, Beast, Quicksilver, Moira MacTaggert, Cyclops, Nightcrawler, and Jubilee, along with around a hundred teenage extras.
Singer revealed he employed an array of innovative filmmaking techniques including Go-Pros, the Phantom camera, stunt work, choreography, and visual effects to complete the scene, so we’re excited to see just how visually stunning it will be.
10. Jubilee’s Powers
Lana Condor will make her cinematic debut as the much-beloved character Jubilee in X-Men: Apocalypse — but a couple of things about her character have changed from the comics. For starters, she won’t be shooting off fireworks. Condor explained to Joblo that “in this film, I can safely say that her power is more fire-plasmoid, electricity type.”
“She is a student at the X-Mansion and she’s been here for about 10 years. So she’s not new, unlike some of the other characters who have just arrived. She’s mostly with Scott, Jean, and Kodi [Smit-McPhee, who plays Nightcrawler].
“They’re like her good core friend group. And, I think in this film she serves as a timepiece, ‘cause you’ll never really forget that you’re, like, in the ‘80’s. Because if you’ve seen my costume, like I’m straight out of the ‘80’s, like, they literally took me out. And, she also serves as kind of comedic relief at times where things are-might be a little more tense and real S-H-I-T is going down.”
11. Why Magneto Serves Apocalypse
During Screen Rant’s on-set conversation with Michael Fassbender, the actor revealed that his character Magneto is at a low point, eventually seeing Apocalypse as the thing to bring together his masterplan of bringing judgement to “close-minded” mortals that was started in First Class.
“Well I think he’s serving his family, you know. He does what he does so he can provide shelter and security for his family. In a way you’re right, he’s serving a new master, and I think from before we know obviously that he loses his parents in a concentration camp, but there was always that story of Magda that I thought was pretty interesting. That sort of confounds his mistrust in human beings, so that was a sort of big influence on this story, where we find him.”
“But yeah, this was another thing that I was discovering through talking to Oscar and talking to Simon Kinberg, and this idea of Apocalypse sort of being like a god, the original mutant. Talking to Oscar about that I was thinking, at that moment where things are being taken away from him again in Poland it’s almost like he’s looking for an answer, or he’s challenging God, it’s like, “What do you want from me? I’ve tried everything. I’ve tried to lead a good life. I’ve tried to do it correctly, whatever that is, and now you do this to me so what do you want?” It’s sort of like a challenge to God, if he’s out there, and then Oscar’s character arrives.
“So in a way, tied in with that I thought it was a nice link. He arrives and it’s like, “Okay well something much more powerful than me has arrived,” in a way kind of like a god; he’s the original mutant. And I think, like you were saying before Magneto doesn’t really follow anyone, so it was kind of a hard thing like, well how does he just become one of Apocalypse’s Horsemen, and is he cool with that? But he appreciates that this guy is going to do what he couldn’t do. He’s got just so much more power than him, he’s such an immense force. In a way, it’s like that classic thing of joining any cult or radical group, he’s caught him at a very low, vulnerable point where he doesn’t really care anymore whether he dies or not or what happens, so he’s like, “Yeah I’ll join this guy. I’ll go on this path of judgment.” Apocalypse is sort of bringing judgment to the Earth.
“Again we know him as somebody that doesn’t like to form relationships that much, in the previous ones that I’ve done certainly. So yeah, it’s just like, “This could work.” He hasn’t seen a power like anything like Apocalypse, and the more the better in terms of if you look back to when he was trying to form his own armies, he realizes he can’t do it alone. That was the thing about Days of Future Past, he was kind of a singular, going out there on his own. But this is more about we need numbers to do damage.”
12. Quicksilver’s Father Confirmed
While X-Men: Days Of Future Past hinted at Magneto being Quicksilver’s father, it seems that X-Men: Apocalypse will confirm that connection.
“I have learned that he’s my father at this point and I am trying to … I don’t know what I can say,” Quicksilver actor Evan Peters told JoBlo. “Yeah. It’s like an adoptive child or any kind of child who has a strange father trying to … He knows who he is now so he is trying to find him. He’s been searching for him. It’s been 10 years and he hasn’t found him and then something happens.”
Peters also said that fans haven’t seen the best of Quicksilver, despite his scene-stealing cameo in X-Men: Days of Future Past.
“Yeah, I think that’s been the hardest thing,” Peters explained.
“Can we top it? They did such a f—ing awesome job. The special effects team is amazing. Bryan Schmears over at Second Unit, everybody just made that whole sequence awesome, I thought. I was just a minion. They just told me what to do so I didn’t really have much to do with it but I was curious to see how they were going to top it and if they could and I think they have. I’m very excited to see it myself. I’m excited for everybody to see it because we’ve been working hard on it.”