Warning: The following post contains SPOILERS about the very, very, very end of X-Men: Days of Future Past — and possible spoilers about the next film in the franchise.
Jennifer Lawrence in X-Men: Days of Future Past
One of the most common elements of the modern superhero movie has been the post-credits teaser, a way of enticing fans for the next installment — and the one that follows the end credits for X-Men: Days of Future Past is a doozy.
The camera pans along a vast, barren desert until it comes upon a lone hooded figure standing atop a giant dune while holding his arms in the air. Soon we see a throng of supplicating worshippers chanting “En Sabah Nur! En Sabah Nur!” before him, as the slight figure seems to create the famed Egyptian pyramids in a swirling mass of giant stone blocks. The camera swings around to reveal the hooded man is a young fellow with gray-blue skin — and a pack of four cloaked men on horseback are waiting nearby.
Whaaa? Here’s everything you need to know about who this mysterious figure is, and what it all means for the X-Men franchise.
1. It’s a teaser for the next X-Men movie, X-Men: Apocalypse — which Days of Future Past’s embattled director Bryan Singer is still in line to direct.
Days of Future Past writer-producer Simon Kinberg (who also holds those titles for Apocalypse) told BuzzFeed that Singer is directing the new film — although another source close to the production cautioned that while 20th Century Fox has always planned on Singer directing, his deal at the moment is only as a producer.
2. At the least, Singer did definitely direct the post-credits sequence that is meant to introduce the upcoming movie’s ominous (and seemingly omnipotent) title villain.
While the ancient Egyptian setting suggests Apocalypse could be jumping way back in time, Kinberg (pictured above) said that the sequence is truly meant “as a tease” for X-Men: Apocalypse. “It’s backstory, history, for what will be the character of Apocalypse in the next film,” he told BuzzFeed. “It’s not necessarily a part of the main story of the movie.”
Update: Sorry Aaron Taylor-Johnson fans: BuzzFeed has learned that the actor playing Apocalypse in the scene is a young newcomer named Brendan Pedder, but he probably will not be playing the role in X-Men: Apocalypse.
3. Those worshippers are chanting Apocalypse’s real name, En Sabah Nur, which means “The First One.” And indeed, he is one of, if not the, first mutant in human history.
He was born into slavery under the yoke of an Egyptian pharaoh who was actually an alien from the future. Over time, he augmented both his body and abilities with more alien technology, becoming known as Apocalypse.
And already, the character’s backstory is far more deep-dish geeky than almost anything in the X-Men movies, so there is a fair chance that much of the details that have come to define the character in the comics books won’t make it into the film.
4. Given the teaser, however, one element that likely will make the movie are Apocalypse’s Four Horsemen (the guy is not subtle), known as Death, Famine, Pestilence, and War.
The positions come with comparable mutant powers, but the positions themselves aren’t fixed — in the comics, Wolverine, Gambit, Angel, and Banshee have all served as various Horsemen, proposing some tantalizing plot twists for the upcoming film.
5. At his core, Apocalypse is an immensely powerful mutant — so much so that he seemingly cannot be killed, only diminished to the point that he must lay dormant for centuries (or millennia) to regenerate.
Apocalypse’s driving philosophy is a belief in the survival of the fittest — the ultimate fittest being himself — and even more than Magneto, he believes that since mutants are destined to inherit the Earth, the rest of humanity is ultimately disposable. In one particularly popular comic book run known as “Age of Apocalypse,” the premature death of Professor Xavier allows the character to take over the entire world, and, in this alternate timeline, a group of battle-hardened X-Men (operating under the leadership of Magneto) must lay siege to this world in order to defeat him.
Needless to say, X-Men: Apocalypse will likely live up to its title, further escalating the globally scaled carnage seen in recent superhero movies like The Avengers and Man of Steel.
6. While rumors abound of teenage versions of Cyclops, Storm, and Jean Grey appearing in X-Men: Apocalypse, Kinberg won’t confirm their appearance.
With the film likely to start production next year, work on the script is only just underway. “We’re still working on it,” said Kinberg. “So I don’t want to say one thing, and if it changes, people think I lied.” Because if there’s one thing more dangerous than an all-powerful mutant bent on world domination, it’s misleading hardcore comic book fans.
Jace Lacob contributed to this report.
This post has been updated to reflect the name of the actor playing Apocalypse.