Way way back when [X-Men: Apocalypse](tag:1194267) was still in pre-production we were treated to a little glimpse at one of the new(ish) characters being introduced - Warren Worthington III; better known as X-Men team member Angel, and later Archangel. And now we've got another look at Angel via a promo poster for X-Men Apocalypse at the Brazilian Comic Con.
Originally a bit of an egocentric spoiled brat, Warren Worthington III is the son of billionaires Kathryn and Warren Worthington Jr. During his teen years wings started growing from his back, making him feel like a freak (as seen in X-Men: The Last Stand). However he soon gets over himself and realises he can use his powers to help people as the avenging Angel, and is later recruited into the X-Men by Charles Xavier / Professor X (played by Patrick Stewart and James McAvoy in the films).
In the upcoming X-Men: Apocalypse Angel is set to be portrayed by British actor and model Ben Hardy, but this isn't the first time we've seen him on-screen. A version of Warren Worthington III appeared in 2006's [X-Men: The Last Stand](tag:3567583), portrayed by another Ben - Ben Foster this time round.
Angel doesn't exactly have what you would call a starring role in The Last Stand, but he is an important character in illustrating the ideological war between the mutants and humans as he resists his fathers efforts to make him "normal".
He appears briefly during the climactic battle of The Last Stand, and marketing materials for the last instalment in the franchise, [X-Men: Days Of Future Past](tag:203942), revealed that his character was killed by the Sentinels prior to the events of the film, so he doesn't appear there.
So the juncture at which we stand post- Days of Future Past is a little confusing. When Logan / Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) stopped the Sentinel-dominated future from happening, Angel's death never happened.
Because of this the Angel that we've seen before existed in a different continuity - the same continuity in which Jean Grey / Phoenix (Famke Janssen) and Scott Summers / Cyclops (James Marsden) died. So the Angel we're going to meet during X-Men: Apocalypse will be an entirely new version from what we've seen before.
This makes sense, Angel / Warren Kenneth Worthington III is a bit of an odd fish in the comic book continuity anyway as his character has gone through a lot of changes over the years so introducing another new version shouldn't pose too much of a problem here.
For X-Men: Apocalypse we've been promised a darker take on the character, according to director Bryan Singer:
"Ben Hardy is Angel – I shall confirm it for you! But he’s not a very nice Angel! And that’s all I’ll say…"
All signs point to the new film being faithful to the comic book continuity here, especially when it comes to Angel becoming a Horseman to the big bad Apocalypse (Oscar Isaacs).
So at one point in the comics Angel goes down a pretty dark path, ultimately leading to the amputation of his organic wings (against his will) when they become gangrenous. If that wasn't bad enough he's then almost killed in an explosion, but Apocalypse rescues him from the blast and restores his wings on the basis that he'll serve him as the Horseman Death.
With his new organic metal wings, blue skin (and a dose of mental conditioning) Angel becomes the head of the Horsemen and proves a deadly foe against his former friends.
We see these metallic wings in the concept art and again in the recent promo image where they've taken on a more organic form. This also correlates with the turn Warren takes away from the Angel persona and towards the darker, more sadistic Death/Archangel under the watch of Apocalypse.
He's turned against his friends and uses their own weaknesses to fight against them. He eventually snaps out of Apocalypse's mental control when he believes he's killed his friend Iceman / Bobby Drake (Shawn Ashmore in the films) but refuses to rejoin X-Factor (the mutant group, not the TV show) in the aftermath, considering himself now unworthy to be a hero.
A lot of other things happen, but he does eventually rejoin X-Factor and embraces the codename Archangel - a symbol of his "death" and rebirth over this dark period in his life.
Though he was never referred to as such during The Last Stand, Ben Foster was credited under the codename "Angel", but Ben Hardy sounds like he's going to be bringing a much darker take on Angel when he comes to the screen next May as Warren Worthington III.
Does this mean we'll get to see his fall as Angel and redemption as Archangel? Let's hope so, because if any character needs better development in the films it's Angel, and we're pretty excited to see what Hardy does with the role.