[Warning: Spoilers for the post-credits scene ahead!]
It's a time-honored Marvel tradition to tease fans with a cheeky post-credits scene, setting up the next few movies and, coincidentally, ensuring we sit through every single one of their names. X-Men: Apocalypse, of course, is no different, and if you wait right until the end of the credits you're in for a treat of cryptic hints that at first glance don't seem like much, but really? The implications of this short scene are huge. Let's dissect this.
The post-credits scene takes us right back to the haunting subterranean corridors of the Alkali Lake base, as a mysterious man saunters in and snatches up the a phial of Weapon X blood, first glimpsed during Wolverine's awesome cameo. He then puts it in a briefcase that contains several other phials. But that's not the interesting thing — the briefcase is marked "Essex Corp," prompting fans to flood Google in their thousands, demanding answers.
Well, you need look no further. It's highly probable that this "Essex Corp" is hinting at the entrance of one Nathaniel Essex (a.k.a. Sinister), a formidable villain from the Marvel comics.
As a character, Sinister is pretty much just another supervillain, albeit one of Marvel's creepiest characters yet. But it's what he does that has potentially immense consequences for this fictional universe.
Yup, Sinister is the one responsible for cloning Wolverine to create X23 (and we can't really blame him there, who wouldn't want their own version of Hugh Jackman?). But there's a twist: X23 is actually a female clone of Logan, and she later takes up the title of Wolverine herself.
X23, otherwise known as Laura Kinney, is a very popular character from the Marvel comics. Raised in captivity and trained only to kill, X23 is a terrifying opponent and a vital ally to the X-Men. She's been a member of several teams, like X-Force, but generally prefers to work alone. Her relationship with Logan is very interesting, as the two are kindred spirits, but are equally contentious.
So, what about Wolverine 3? Well, rumors about X23's appearance in the film have been circulating for a long time now, although nothing is confirmed yet. Recently, a new actress (Elizabeth Rodriguez from Fear The Walking Dead) was rumored to be in talks to take up a leading role in the film, leading many to wonder if she would play X23.
Considering Wolverine 3 is Hugh Jackman's final outing as Logan, it seems highly likely that Fox wants another character to take up Wolverine's mantle and continue the franchise. And our money's on X23.
Cloning Jean Grey, Creating Cable
Sinister's all about that cloning trend, and he definitely didn't stop at Logan. He also cloned Jean Grey and manipulated Scott Summers into fathering a child with her. That child grew up to become the grizzled, growling, perpetually-at-the-end-of-his-tether mutant we love so much — Deadpool's bff, Cable.
As Wade Wilson himself so gleefully informed us in the Deadpool post-credits scene, Cable is already confirmed to appear in the sequel. Of course, it's difficult to work out exactly how Sinister's presence in the Fox movies will connect to this film; is this just a hint about Cable's backstory? or will we actually see this (frankly very creepy) plot play out on the big screen?
It seems most likely that Sinister will be introduced as Wolverine 3's main villain, bringing X23 into the story and setting her up to be the next Wolverine. There could be plenty of hints about Sinister cloning Jean in Wolverine 3, giving some context to Cable's entrance in Deadpool 2.
And then we have two options: Either Sinister will cross over as a villain for Deadpool 2 (seems repetitious), or Cable will just make an allusion to his weird conception, and with the context of Wolverine 3 we'll understand what he means.
Phew! That's a lot of information to get from one little scene, and yet thanks to Marvel's vast, vast history, this proves once again that as innocuous as it might seem, everything means something. So, when you settle down to watch X-Men: Apocalypse, be sure to stay right until then end to catch all those hints — and to laugh fondly at the blissfully ignorant muggles who leave right after the film ends.