The ninth instalment in 20th Century Fox's X-Men franchise, [X-Men: Apocalypse](tag:1194267), is due to land May of 2016 and will pit the First-Class X-Men team against one of their oldest and deadliest enemies - Apocalypse.
Who is Apocalypse exactly?
Apocalypse is an ancient, immortal, supervillain, mutant, and one of the primary antagonists to the X-Men team. He's got a long and complex history with them and has appeared in more X-Men titles and series than you can shake a stick at.
Born 5000 years ago, Apocalypse may have been the first being with the mutant X-gene. He was abandoned as an infant because of his unusual appearance, a side effect of the X-gene. He is rescued by a raider, Baal, who names him En Sabah Nur. He later takes on the name Apocalypse when rage causes his mutant powers to emerge and he enslaves the warlord Ozymandias, General to Rama-Tut/Kang the Conqueror.
He travels the world for millennia, posing as a God, causing wars to 'test' and encourage civilisations to grow, destroying them if he deems them unworthy. He has a habit of recruiting or enslaving mutants as part of his personal guard, known as the Four Horsemen, including prominent X-Men characters.
His powers include a total control over his molecules, allowing him to totally manipulate his own form. He can make himself impenetrable or flexible, change size, transform his limbs into weapons or wings, regenerate from fatalities and emulate pretty much any power he can conceive of. He can also project energy, has displayed telepathy and telekinesis, is a super-intelligent scientific genius and a master strategist, oh and his blood can heal other mutants.
With all that it doesn't really seem like he needs much help, but here we are.
What about his Horsemen?
Last month's Comic-Con panel confirmed which mutants we're going to be seeing forming the Horsemen guard in X-Men: Apocalypse, and some of them may surprise you.
Magneto's character tends to be a bit more shades of grey (no, not that kind) in the comics, usually walking a fine line between being wholly good or wholly evil (more like the young Magneto we saw in First-Class). His actions are usually driven by his desire to protect mutants from a humanity that would see them destroyed, a deep rooted desire that stems from the young Magneto (then Max Eisenhardt) being imprisoned in Auschwitz, and later the death of his daughter at the hands of a frightened mob.
Thus far in the movies we've usually seen Magneto leading the bad-guy team but this time it looks like he's going to be following orders rather than giving them. Likely Magneto will be drawn to Apocalypse due to his genocidal tendency to wipe out races that he deems unworthy, which is pretty much Magneto's line of thought for humanity.
Angel (Warren Kenneth Worthington III) is a bit of an odd fish as his character has gone through a lot of changes over the years. Angel was originally a bit of an egocentric spoiled brat, son of billionaires Kathryn & Warren Worthington Jr. As a teenager wings started growing from his back, making him feel like a freak (as seen in X-Men: First Class). However he soon gets over himself and realises he can use his powers to help people as the Avenging Angel. He's later recruited into the X-Men by Xavier.
At one point Angel has his wings amputated (against his will) and almost dies in an explosion. Apocalypse rescues him, and restores his wings on the basis that he'll serve him as the Horseman Death. With his new organic metal wings and extensive mental conditioning Angel becomes the head of the Horsemen and proves a deadly foe against his friends. Later he becomes the heir to Apocalypse following the villain's apparent death.
Psylocke (Betsy Braddock) appears in many different version in the comic books, and even made an appearance in X-Men: The Last Stand. Initially she was a powerful telepath, able to control minds, project illusions and affect other mutants' powers. She was also able to occasionally see the future through precognition, though she had no control over this. Later her mind was transplanted into the body of a ninja assassin and she gained expert martial artistry and fighting skills. She's able to manifest psychic swords and knives with which she can destroy the minds and nervous systems of others. Basically, she's pretty badass.
Psylocke has generally been a hero rather than a villain, operating as part of the X-Men. However she also had an ongoing relationship with Angel. When he ascended as the heir to Apocalypse she was unable to kill him, and so he turned her into the Horseman Death to serve as his protector.
Storm (Ororo Munroe), one of the most prominent members of the X-Men, first appears in the comics as an orphan surviving as a skilled thief in Cairo, where she encounters Xavier. At the time she's working for the Shadow King Amahl Farouk, a being of physic energy who can possess the bodies of humans. At this time Xavier saved Ororo from him. She later becomes a 'goddess' when her powers emerge and they meet again years later, when she is recruited into the X-Men.
If you take the young Ororo, swap out the Shadow King for Apocalypse, add a dose of wayward teenage angst, it looks like we've got our Horseman Storm. Likely over the course of the film she'll end up changing sides and join up with Xavier. It's also worth noting that Storm has actually appeared as a Horseman before, in the non-canon comics What If Legion Had Killed Xavier And Magneto? and in the TV series X-Men: Evolution.