With X-Men: Apocalypse just on the horizon (May 27th here in the US), there is a lot of hype building as our anticipation grows. So with that in mind, let's set the stage: The year is 1983, the events of X-Men: Days Of Future Past past happened roughly 10 years earlier. Thanks to Mystique's very public saving of President Nixon from an attack on Magneto, the world now knows and, for the most part, accepts mutants into society. There is still a rather unsettling and hidden prejudice against mutants, regardless of their acceptance, so there are still a collection of mutants who are suffering.
During this time of public acceptance, a great evil awakens. Apocalypse, portrayed by Oscar Isaac, who is considered the first mutant, arises after thousands of years to find his race of mutants belittled and berated rather than worshiped as the deities he believes them all to be. As you can imagine, Apocalypse wants to set the record straight and he recruits four powerful followers to enact a Biblical cleansing that only the strong will rise from the ashes.
That's some pretty next-level stuff right there. With the stage set, let's look at some of the key things to know before the premiere in May.
1. Apocalypse IS A Badass Mutant!
Let's be clear, Apocalypse is badass. Even though not all the fans are "in love" with his physical appearance, that shouldn't detract from the idea that Apocalypse is a seemingly immortal mutant with incredible powers.
During a Comic-Con panel, Bryan Singer had some of the following things to say about Apocalypse's powers specifically, such as the fact that he could "heighten the powers and abilities of other mutants beyond anything imaginable" as well as shield himself from psychic attacks, making it difficult for mutants like Xavier to reach into his mind. Singer clarified that Apocalypse himself is not a psychic.
Singer also went on to explain that:
"His [Apocalypse's] ability to physically damage, destroy, or build in is the non-biological world. That's in the physical world. He can change... the inorganic molecules of things and so, you know, these are some of the powers that we're exploring."
Along with that idea of a massive power to manipulate inorganic molecules, Singer says that "Apocalypse himself is not a physical form. He's an energy. He moves from body to body." His powers have accumulated over the millennia even though he may seem like the God of the Old Testament, he's not really a deity. He is imbued with unique powers and some of those could have been from birth, but we aren't sure.
2. Magneto Will Not Be The Same Character When We First Met Him
Magneto, Erik Lehnsherr(portrayed by Michael Fassbender) has suffered under the Nazis. He's become a leader, a terrorist, a freedom fighter (to some) and a being of pure vengeance. In all that time we haven't seen him become a follower.
When we meet Magneto in X-Men: Apocalypse, he's been living off the radar for about the 10 years after the events of Days of Future Past. Even Quicksilver, his biological son, hasn't been able to find him. Magneto is laying low in Poland, and attempting to make a new, normal life for himself working at a steel mill (ironic) and in love with his comic book baby mama, Magda — but he will be a broken man.
When Apocalypse arrives, Magneto will see him as a Biblical being who opens Magneto up to go against his nature and become a follower. He sees the potential for Apocalypse to do what he never could: free the mutants from servitude and oppression.
3. There Are No Guaranteed Survivors
Most people assume that even though we witnessed a potential glimpse into the future of a new X-Men timeline through Days of Future Past, that we know what's in store. Yet, in truth characters can still die, meaning that we aren't necessarily heading towards the X-Men from X1 (Patrick Steward and Ian McKellen). Simon Kinberg, writer and producer of Apocalypse had this to say:
"There are some things obviously that lead in that general direction that was part of sort of the philosophy I guess at the end of Days of Future Past is that you cant fully change the course or current of the river but you can just divert it a little bit. And that’s what we diverted a little bit. So some things will be surprises and some things — you know, people could die that were alive in X1, 2, and 3, or people could survive that had died in X1, 2, and 3."
Bryan Singer even teased this idea, "what says [that] the awakening of a being [who] has such power can't acquire the power to destabilize that [timeline]?" Considering that the movie and character are named after the end of days itself, it seems very likely that not everyone is walking away from this. Only the strong will survive.
4. Stryker Is Back!
It's been revealed that William Stryker is back in X-Men: Apocalypse, and it was a big surprise, even to actor Josh Helman. Helman shed some light on where Stryker has been:
"The last time you saw Stryker he was under the employment of Trask and was very, I think, dedicated to what Trask was doing and interested in all of his studies. And I think in 10 years after that is just, I think he’s been developing his own plan for exactly how he wants to proceed and, I think, learning from the mistakes of what happened."
So with Stryker biding his time in a sense over the last 10 years, he's been crafting his own ideas about mutants and their unique abilities and possibly how he could use or remove them. We know that a set was being built for the film that was specifically Stryker's Alkali Lake underground base, so we can only imagine what he's already doing down there.
5. Psylocke Is In The Capable Hands Of Olivia Munn
There was a great deal of doubt/speculation at Olivia Munn's ability to bring this fan-favorite character to life, but in truth there really isn't anyone more qualified to portray Psylocke. Originally she (Psylocke) wasn't even going to be in the movie. When Kinberg and Singer were meeting during the pre-production process they felt as though there needed to be a different horsemen. The two began sorting through the various Horsemen of Apocalypse in the history of the comics, then they found the character they wanted: Psylocke.
During auditions for Deadpool, Kinberg saw Munn and knew she had to do something in the X-Men world, even if it wasn't in Deadpool. Kinberg reached out and asked her about the Psylocke role; to which Munn responded with fan art of her as Psylocke. it was at that point that Kinberg/Singer knew that Munn was the perfect choice to bring her truly to life on screen.
So, there you have it. If you weren't excited for the movie before, I truly hope you are now, and just for good measure check out the official trailer to add to the hype!
'X-Men: Apocalypse' hits theaters May 27, 2016!