It seems like just yesterday I was gawking in the theater watching the end of X-Men Days of Future Past. It was not only the highest grossed X-Men movie to date, or the highest rated X-Men movie on RottenTomatoes, but it's also the best story and action sequences for the franchise yet! 2016's Apocalypse has a lot to live up to and every week with new announcements and casting tidits I'm getting more and more excited!
So far we have fifteen well known X-Men confirmed to be either returning, or entering the franchise with three others rumored to be returning, so a total of eighteen which makes Apocalypse bigger than any other superhero cast yet, even the cast of next year's Captain America: Civil War!
Confirmed Returning Characters
Xavier, Magneto, Mystique, Beast, Havok, Moira and Quicksilver.
Xavier is the founder and leader of the X-Men, and after what we saw in Days of Future Past it looks like Wolverine has put him back on the path to restoring the school a earlier than the previous timeline, and he gave him names of a few key players of who Xavier must find and protect. I think we'll see him start there, he'll be looking for Jean, Cyclops and Storm and founding what will be known as the future of the X-Men. We'll probably see him take more of a backseat role in this film as well so that if he doesn't come back for the next installment the characters who do will be well developed.
We left Magneto after a failed attempt to murder the President of the United States when he made a passionate speech on live television telling mutants they must stand together and join his Brotherhood. That one key word is a huge tease at what we'll see from Magneto in the future. Although he and Mystique have parted ways we'll likely see Magneto putting together a fresh new Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, although it's likely in the end they'll have to work with the X-Men to defeat the common enemy Apocalypse.
Jennifer Lawrence's younger version of this character has had some wonderful growth, especially at the end of DOFP where we saw her change the future with her decision to not assassinate Trask, could it be that she's not becoming a super assassin like we saw in the original trilogy? She wasn't a teacher at the Xavier Institute in the future Wolverine saw when he woke up, so there's a chance Mystique's hero/villain status is still up for debate, and with Jennifer Lawrence admitting that Apocalypse will be her last film is it possible Mystique will be a casualty? Plus we saw her posing as Stryker, it would be very cool to see what she did posing as him at the Weapon X facility. Would she have ran the programs and experiments on mutants or freed them similar to how she did with Havok, Ink and Toad?
In the original trilogy Beast only appeared once but it was established that he was an original member of the X-Men and knew the others well. In the prequels he's been an aid and guide to Xavier, even helping him start the school the first time before it was shut down due to the students being drafted for the Vietnam War.
Beast was still at Xavier's side in both the past and future events in DOFP so I'll be willing to bet good money he'll still be at his side when we see the newly established school and students in Apocalypse. Beast will become a leader and teacher among the young team.
Havok played a pretty large role in X-Men: First Class but was mostly absent from DOFP other than a scene where Mystique rescued him from being sent over to be experimented on Trask Industries. He rescued along with other mutants we recognized: Toad and Ink, both of which were shown watching Magneto's live broadcast to the nation encouraging his mutant brothers and sisters to join him in fighting back. It was strongly insinuated that Quicksilver and Toad would be joining him to create his Brotherhood, and I would love to see Havok join Magneto's team to and fight against his brother (or son since they seem to have a 25 years difference) Cyclops at first until he joins back up to Xavier's.
We saw Moira in First Class where she recruited Xavier, Magneto and a team of mutants to work for the FBI and take down Sebastian Shaw. In the end she helped bring together the X-Men, watched Magneto betray them and form his Brotherhood. She and Xavier also had a short lived romance, and then he wiped her memory of the everything.
There's no release about how big her role will be or what she'll be doing, but it's very likely we'll see her on Muir Island where she has a facility that does safe research to mutants. She has mutant assistants and becomes one of the world's most knowledgeable humans on everything mutant. She originally created the lab to help her destructive but powerful son Legion. In the Ultimate comics it was she and Xavier's son was named Proteus and used his enormous psychic abilities and body snatching power to discredit his absentee father.
Quicksilver was considered breakout character in DOFP last summer where he stole the movie in the best comedic scene in the franchise's history. He was only in the movie for a short time and at the end of the movie we saw him back in his home watching Magneto's speech on television. Quicksilver was an original member of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, so it's likely that this tease was hinting towards him joining up with Magneto again, which would be awesome for many reasons but most exciting of all will be exploring the relationship between this father and son dynamic as they learn who each other is and the often disappointed attitude that Magneto has for his only son.
Rumored Returning Characters
Wolverine, Gambit and Blink
Even though Wolverine has only been rumored I thought it was pretty well confirmed and with how he was turned over to Mystique posing as Stryker I am so curious to see where that goes so hopefully we'll at least get a small cameo.
If we get to see him I'm fairly certain he'll have no memories of the events that took place while his future self was in his body, so he wouldn't recognize Xavier, Magneto or even Mystique and it would be very cool to see what happens when he wakes up in a Weapon X facility with Mystique in charge. It would also be pretty awesome to see Wolverine as a Horsemen of Apocalypse.
I do think it would be a pretty amazing comparison to see a 1980s Wolverine in and compare it to Wolverine in the present after he wakes up in DOFP. I'm assuming that The Wolverine movie set for 2017 will be in the future where Wolverine has grown and experienced so much. We'd get to see more of a mature mentor and teacher than the animal he used to be.
Although unconfirmed it's very likely we'll see the newly cast Channing Tatum as Gambit make some sort of appearance even if it's a small cameo to set up the Gambit solo movie.
If we are lucky enough to see more than just a cameo of this rebooted character I think it would be amazing to see him as a member of either Magneto's Brotherhood or a Horsemen of Apocalypse. He was the Horsemen Death in the comics at one time, but it's more likely that the role of Death will go to Angel.
Blink had a small role in DOFP where she used her portals to fight against the Sentinels in the future with the original X-Men cast. She has such a unique look, and powers that look amazing on the big screen it would be a shame if we don't see her again, and unlikely since she signed for six films. The contract doesn't necessarily mean much, usually these actors get locked in for several movies at an original pay rate, just so that if they do want to use the character in the future they don't have to re-negotiate on pay.
We know the main villain will be Apocalypse, and he'll have his Horsemen, and since he's a time traveler it would be a way cool if we got to somehow see Blink pulled into the story. She would make a great addition to Team Apocalypse!
Psylocke, Apocalypse, and Jubilee
Even though we saw a version of Psylocke in X3 I have a feeeling that we're going to have to forget that ever happened.
I'm excited to see what kind of character she turns out to be. Her comic counterpart is a little confusing as she originally had precognitive powers so she could see the future, but her mind was eventually transplanted into the body of a ninja gaining not only her martial arts abilities but her telepathy, telekinesis and personality.
I am very excited to see the original spin the movies put onto her character. I just want to see her sweet psi-sword which is a physical representation of her mental powers and she uses it to "stab" and disrupt the thoughts and nerves.
Again, like Psylocke, Jubliee appeared in the original X-Men trilogy in the bakground, and just like her I think we'll see a complete reboot of the character as if that never happened.
Jubilee is mostly known for being the youngest X-Men in the 90s cartoon, and her character is a fan favorite. The "mall-rat" has original powers that would be really sweet to see on the big screen; she can create and launch pyrotechnics that she can project at enemies or objects. In the pilot of the cartoon she used her powers to single-handedly take down a large Sentinel. All of her teammates were very impressed.
Assuming she's more than just a cameo appearance I'm hoping we get to see her as a young kid afraid of her powers, but confident and angry at the humans who have mistreated her it would make her seem like she would need to be part of the Brotherhood, but disapproving of their motives she would go over to be with the X-Men, but it would be unique to see her still hate on the regular humans even as a part of the X-Men.
Obviously Apocalypse is going to be the main villain of the movie, but I'm thinking it'll be more subtle than that, at least it'll appear more subtle to our heroes. It would be really cool to see the X-Men and the Brotherhood at odds, and some big event happens that makes it more obvious that the world hates mutants more than ever. Enter Apocalypse appearing to be the immortal mutant savior, it would divide both teams and mutants from everywhere. We could then see him experimenting on mutants, killing others and whatever he plans could be so huge that both the Brotherhood and X-Men come together to take him down.
Ultron was an amazing villain with good humor and a great story and for me the expectation for Apocalypse is equally high. He needs to be totally amazing.
Confirmed Re-booted Characters
Jean Grey, Cyclops, Storm, Angel, and Nightcrawer
Are you excited as I am to see Sophie Turner as Jean Grey? The Game of Thrones actress has certainly proved herself over the four seasons. Her character isn't too physically demanding, but the things that girl has been through have proven how emotionally demanding the role has been for Turner which will especially tie into her X-Men character.
I'm excited to see an early version of Jean Grey when she's struggling to control her enormous telekinesis and telepathy, a young girl who is so afraid of herself and her surroundings that when she meets Xavier and begins to grow into her powers she becomes more powerful than anyone else he has met, it's likely that her enormous power will be key to defeating Apocalypse.
Cyclops is a wild card, his character could either turn out really amazing, or really annoying. The hard part is that his power doesn't translate well to the movie screen. He just stands around and shoots things while touching his visor, and in the original trilogy James Marsden was written as a whiny and self doubting leader. I want to see a kick-ass leader; fight scenes like what we saw at the beginning of Captain America: Winter Soldier mixed with optic blasts from his visor. I know this kid is young, and will turn into that character, that it's far more likely we'll see a timid kid who is afraid to use his powers because he can't even open his eyes without destroying everything around him. We'll almost certainly see Beast create the iconic visor that helps him maintain his energy, and we'll most likely see the beginning of Cyclops becoming the leader we know him to be. I'm imagining Xavier being out of commission somehow and Cyclops is forced to take command find a way to defeat Apocalypse.
If we stick to the comics we'll find Storm being worshiped as a goddess in Africa where she's brought rain to a terrible drought. Even if they spin it that she's being worshiped as a queen because of what she's done for the village I think it would be believable. Or in the Ultimate comics Xavier finds her as a thief who steals cars and she's a thug who doesn't like being part of a team. Either of these characters would give Storm an extremely confident attitude which would be a great contrast to the fearful and dangerous Jean and Scott.
Angel probably has one of the most obvious story lines for X-Men Apocalypse, in the introduction of Apocalypse in 1986 "Apocalypse Rising" Angel was kidnapped and violently experimented on until he was mutilated, brainwashed and turned against the X-Men. He became the Archangel of Apocalypse, his Horsemen of Death. Eventually he realized he was and turned against his new master and helped his friends defeat the villain. I'm sure we'll see some similar story in the film, although it's possible he won't first join the X-Men before Apocalypse. I could see Angel escaping his mutant hating father's clutches and with no where to go Apocalypse offers him a safe place.
One of the most exciting, and surprising, additions is Nightcrawler. He became a fan favorite in X2 in what was probably the most well received X-Men movie until DOFP but than never did come back!
How will his story tie to mother Mystique? Knowing that about twenty years has passed since the events of First Class where Magneto organized his original Brotherhood with Azazel (the red teleporter) and Mystique . We know from DOFP that Azazel was killed by Trask. When Mystique found photos in his office of Azazel's broken body she became extremely emotional. I think this was a sign of their relationship. So we're assuming that somewhere between First Class and DOFP she gave birth to Nightcrawler and abandoned him.
I'm hoping we see the broken orphan on the run, someone who has always had a obvious mutation so he's been a freak his entire life. I wouldn't be surprised if Magneto or Apocalypse used that to persuade Kurt to join their side. It would also give Mystique a reason to fight along side Xavier in hopes that her son can be rescued, and in the end we get a tear jerking scene where she leaves him with Xavier but can't bare to tell him who she is, or she dies to save his life.
BONUS: Three Unconfirmed characters who are important to the Age of Apocalypse storyline.
Even though these characters are unconfirmed it's very likely they'll still show up because they're essential to Apocalypse's story.
Sinister was not only one of Apocalypse's Horsemen, he's Apocalypse's original sidekick. He's also one of the biggest X-Men villains ever. He captures Jean and Scott, clones Jean, and was responsible for the creation of Cable.
Mr. Sinister would be a great villain for future X-Men movies too if he somehow survived this movie and came back seeking revenge.
Nathan Summers is from the future, he's the child born of Jean Grey clone Madelyne and Cyclops. He was born in the present but was sent into the distant future. He has his mother's powers of telekinesis, telepathy but his techno-organic body that was enhanced in the future possesses enhanced strength, durability, and technopathy which allows him to control machines.
Cable came from the future solely with the purpose of stopping Apocalypse's rise to power. He had seen how the villain had changed the world and came back to stop him.
In my opinion Cable's best story is during the Messiah War and Messiah Complex where the mutant population has stopped growing and the first mutant child in years was being fought over by the X-Men, Sinister's Marauders, and the religious Purifers fanatics who want to murder her. Hope, as he calls her, eventually goes into the future with her adoptive father to hide. A few years later the two come back from the future and Hope is now a teenager.
I would love Cable to take Wolverine's place in the X-Men universe as the angry anti-hero. Cable could easily start X-Force, the dark team of X-Men who go around protecting other mutants. The team has consisted of big characters like Archangel, Warpath, X-23. Domino, Bishop, Cannonball, Deadpool, Psylocke, and of course Wolverine.
Bishop is from a future where mutants have been rounded up into internment camps and branded with an 'M' across their eye. As a child he heard stories of the X-Men, their heroics and all they attempted to do for mutantkind. While in what used to be the Xavier Institute he finds a recording of Jean Grey and she says she suspects a traitor to be among the X-Men. Bishop is accidentally sent back in time where he encounters the original X-Men and becomes part of the team. He assumes the role of Xavier's bodyguard because he doesn't know who the traitor is.
Eventually when Xavier's evil son Legion goes back in time to assassinate Magneto history is changed into a world that Apocalypse rules. During this time Bishop was unsure of who he could trust; former allies were now villains and former villains were now heroes fighting for freedom.
I know the Age of Apocalypse story is going to be quite different than this story from the comics, but because Bishop is such a huge part of the story and because he's already been cast AND because he was so freaking awesome in the first film I'm still holding onto hope that he'll be making an appearance!
So there you have it! The X-Men universe is getting HUGE! The mutants have always been some of my favorites and with so many characters coming into the shared universe I can only hope that this means we're being introduced to new mutants so that we can start to get more solo movies!