It's fair to say that reaction towards the next installation in 20th Century Fox's popular X-Men franchise has been fairly mixed so far. Whilst we're pretty excited to see the big bad facing off against the X-Men in an apocalyptic showdown it hasn't quite yet garnered as much attention as the likes of DC's Batman v Superman or Marvel's Civil War.
This is perhaps partly due to fan's reservations over the odd aesthetic choice made for titular villain Apocalypse (Oscar Issac), although the first official poster and promo clips have gone some way towards allying our fears over his weird purple look.
For X-Men: Apocalypse Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Evan Peters and Lucas Till are reprising their roles as Raven Darkhölme (Mystique) Hank McCoy (Beast), Peter Maximoff (Quicksilver) and Alex Summer (Havok) respectively, and they're joined by some impressive newcomers this time around to form the team.
Tye Sheridan: Scott Summers (Cyclops)
Sophie Turner: Jean Grey (Phoenix)
Olivia Munn: Elizabeth Braddock (Psylocke)
Alexandra Shipp: Ororo Munroe (Storm)
Kodi Smit-McPhee: Kurt Wagner (Nightcrawler)
Ben Hardy: Warren Worthington III (Angel / Archangel)
Lana Condor: Jubilation Lee (Jubilee)
We've seen the new faces in the trailers and promo material to varying degrees, but it was an old face that's really been catching our attention...
Mystique Takes The Lead
Raven - better known in the world of the X-Men as Mystique - is a prevalent force in the trailers, giving even Charles Xavier / Professor X (James McAvoy) a run for his money in terms of screen-time.
X-Men: Apocalypse producer and co-writer Simon Kinberg spoke to Collider recently regarding Mystique's character arc from [X-Men: Days Of Future Past](tag:203942) to X-Men: Apocalypse, and what he said of her character goes a long way towards clarifying her large presence in the trailer:
"I think the movie explores [Raven's] struggle, which is sort of the result of Days of Future Past. If you think about the end of Days of Future Past, in front of the entire world she stops Magneto and saves the President and cabinet, and so this movie certainly explores 10 years later what it is to wear the mantle of that responsibility."
According to Kinberg Mystique will be stepping into the shoes of leadership during X-Men: Apocalypse as she returns to the group alongside her childhood friend Charles Xavier. But that's not all she's getting up this time around...
But She's Got Her Own Mission
We already know that at the beginning of X-Men: Apocalypse Raven / Mystique is out on her own mission, rescuing mutants who are "oppressed or enslaved". One of these mutants is Kurt Wagner / Nightcrawler, which could be a nice nod to the fact that she is Kurt's biological mother in the comic books.
She reportedly returns from her mission to join up with the X-Men as a direct result of Magneto (Michael Fassbender) falling under Apocalypse's control. Maybe she's feeling guilty about shooting him at the end of Days of Future Past, or maybe this means we'll finally see a resolution to the Magneto / Mystique subplot that's been teased since First Class...
And Is Looking Suspiciously Non-Blue
Whilst we will surely see Mystique in her mutant form during X-Men: Apocalypse it is a little strange that we didn't see her appearing as such in the first trailer, especially since we see more of Beast than we do Hank. Thankfully the super bowl trailer rectified this somewhat, as we saw her in full blue mode (albeit being strangled by Apocalypse, unfortunate).
Given that First Class showed Raven supposedly coming to terms with her identity and shedding her shame over the way she looks naturally this seems like an odd choice of representation; likely this has something to do with Lawrence having become such a bankable star since she signed on for X-Men back in 2010.
X-Men: Apocalypse will reportedly be Lawrence's last turn as Mystique / Raven, so the more face time Fox can get for her before she leaves the more bang they get for their buck, but does this best serve the story?