Today, we live in the golden age of Superhero films. There are seven coming out next year alone. One such movie is [X-Men: Apocalypse](tag:1194267) which recently released a new and fantastic trailer. Before we continue, let's relive the awesomeness that was comprised in this trailer.
Now while that was awesome, I found myself asking a rather important question in regards to the upcoming movie. How exactly did we get Apocalypse to come about now, when Professor X and the X-Men never dealt with him before. The short answer is time travel. The long answer is... well, longer.
You see, time travel is as confusing, unknowable and potentially dangerous of a concept as dividing by zero. So what do we as humans do when we come across something we don't fully understand? Make theories that's what!
As far as time travel goes, we've got two main schools of thought, A-theory and B-theory, or a Parmenidean view and a Heraclitan view. These two thought processes deal with the continuity of time. A-theory (Parmenidean) states that reality is timeless and eternal, meaning that going back in time would not change anything ever. B-theory (Heraclitan) states that reality is in a constant state of flux and no point along a timeline stays the same, meaning that going back in time would change everything.
There are a few more stipulations in question here regarding A-theory and B-theory, but for the most part that's all you need to know. So, back to X-Men.
What we can gather from the X-Universe so far is that time travel is possible (that may sound redundant and a little obvious, but it's actually important) and Heraclitus was right, or at least in this world.
So, what does that mean? Well that means that by sending Logan's consciousness back in time, the entire timeline changed. As we are already well aware. After watching [X-Men: Days Of Future Past](tag:203942), I believed that that is all that was involved in our theory of time travel surrounding the series, but that is not the case.
After the release of the above trailer, something pretty glaringly obvious has come to light. Despite going back in time and preventing not only the Sentinels from being used against mutants, Logan and co. have also prevented X-Men, X2: X-Men United, X-Men: The Last Stand, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and Wolverine (all of which I'm perfectly okay with). In doing so, many, many lives were saved, both human and mutant. However, time has been altered. And according to the story being told here, something else, something more sinister, comes onto the scene to replace those losses of life. And that is where Apocalypse came in.
Now, I'm not saying that Apocalypse only exists in this timeline because Logan went back in time. Apocalypse was always there in both timelines just hanging out. In Ancient Egypt, he was revered as a God (see above). In modern times (pre-DoFP), he was in hiding. In the 1980s (post-DoFP), Apocalypse is now fed up with the way things are going and decides to take action. The only difference between this current timeline and the past timeline are that Logan traveled back in time and changed things. So by going back in time and stopping the sentinels, Logan caused Apocalypse to come out of hiding.
So what could have possibly caused Apocalypse to come out of hiding? Literally anything that followed Logan's initial jump back. I could rattle off a bunch of different theories for things that could have possibly brought Apocalypse out of hiding. But I do have one theory that I think is pretty solid, and Logan didn't actually do it.
The Sentinels are the catalyst for Apocalypse's arrival
That's right. The creation and unveiling of the Sentinels are what brought about Apocalypse's return. How is that possible if the Sentinels were unveiled in the first timeline as well and still no Apocalypse? Very good question, my curious companions!
Anyone remember what happened to the Sentinels at the end of the movie? That's right, they do get destroyed and the program does get subsequently cancelled. Meaning?
Well, in the first timeline, the Sentinels were not destroyed or cancelled. We can assume that in both timelines, Apocalypse saw the arrival of the Sentinels as a threat so he went into action. The one and only difference between the two timelines, however, is the continuation of the Sentinels. In the now canon timeline, the Sentinels are no longer around aiming to stop and kill all mutants. In the previous timeline, the Sentinels were still around and were most likely deployed to kill the biggest mutant threat ever.
The Sentinels were sent to kill Apocalypse in the last timeline. And succeeded.
Oh come on, is it really all that surprising? A super powerful mutant like Apocalypse with the ability to get at least four mutants (four of the most powerful mutants) to side with him would most assuredly be able to stop the Sentinels if given the opportunity to upgrade his physique and gather his four horsemen. If Trask learned of him, he would definitely send the Sentinels to him first to get rid of the worst threat imaginable. Not only that, but it would prove to the whole world that there are truly evil mutants out there and convince these various countries to trust Trask and the MRD with their mutant problems.
If you doubt the Sentinels capabilities, they do destroy the entire planet in one fell swoop. If they were to be weaponized and sent to an ill-prepared, un-upgraded, four horsemen-less Apocalypse, I doubt he'd survive. Plus, he'd be in hiding in a remote area away from humans and mutants alike. The only people alive who'd have heard of him would be Trask and a select few government officials.
It would also explain the once inexplicable hatred towards the mutants who never really did anything to humans in the first timeline (between the '80s and early '00s during the first timeline). The government would send out propaganda designed to make mutants appear dangerous and evil to fester anti-mutant sentiment among humans. Yes, this is greatly unfair and mean of them, but as fellow humans I think we can agree we are an unfair, mean, and dangerous lot.
So, back to the current timeline. With the Sentinels destroyed and no longer being created, Apocalypse comes forward. But he comes straight into the open without the the threat of the Sentinels coming after him. So what does he do? Well, naturally, he goes after the powerful mutants he saw taking on the Sentinels and winning. Seeing that humans were a dangerous threat to mutants, Apocalypse took matters into his own hands to save "all [his] children".
In their attempts to save everyone from the Sentinels, Logan and co. actually endangered everyone by preventing Apocalypse's death and thus allowing him free reign to destroy the world. Now, they'll have to attempt to fix this problem without anyone ever realizing that they were the ones who caused it.
But don't worry, as we saw at the end of Days of Future Past, all of our favorite X-Men make into the future. So I guess some good did come out of that venture into the past.