*Warning: This post contains spoilers for X-Men Apocalypse. Read on at your own risk*
The expansive world of a fictional shared universe is one of the cornerstones of a number of Hollywood's top franchises, and for good reason; not only does it afford the chance for studios to created deep rooted story arcs and comprehensive character development, it also provides the opportunity to link events that may initially seem innocuous.
The post-credits scene for X-Men: Apocalypse is a perfect example of the butterfly effect within shared universes. It's one of the most obscure references Fox has planted at the end of an X-Men movie, yet with a little digging, it turns out the scene could link to Deadpool 2. Seem too good to be true? Well, let's take a look.
A Sinister Link Between Apocalypse And Deadpool
On face value, the Apocalypse post-credits scene doesn't give too much away. We see a sharp suited and clandestine man purposefully striding through the Alkali Lake base — the setting for Wolverine's violent and gory cameo. The man then takes a vial of Logan's blood, placing it in a briefcase along with other mysterious vials.
The most important part of the scene lies in the imprint on the briefcase, "Essex Corp," and how this links in with Deadpool. Essex Corp was launched by a 19th Century scientist, Nathaniel Essex. In the comics, his alter ego, Mister Sinister, is a twisted and powerful X-Men villain.
Essex — who made a pact with Apocalypse to become Mister Sinister — discovered the mutants' genetic process, allowing him to alter his own DNA and essentially inherit a spectrum of superpowers to aid his evil deeds. Which explains why one of his henchmen has the suitcase at the end of Apocalypse.
He was also responsible for the creation of another popular Marvel character. Sinister cloned Jean Grey, and manipulated Scott Summers (Cyclops) so that he'd have sex with her and create a baby, Nathan Summers, who later becomes Cable. I told you he was twisted.
Cable & Deadpool
Now, we know that Cable is going to appear in Deadpool 2, as revealed by blabber mouth Wade Wilson in his own post-credits scene. The two characters share a colorful history, teaming up for their own comic book series in 2004's Cable & Deadpool. Considering the pair often join forces to take on powerful villains, could this mean Sinister will feature as a villain in the Deadpool sequel?
It wouldn't be the first time Deadpool has been pitted against Sinister. In the eight issue crossover, House of M, the pair fight over an infant Cable after Deadpool enters a different dimension. Sinister was also the main villain in the hugely popular Deadpool video game.
Bridging The Gap Between The X-Verse And Deadpool
Apocalypse screenwriter Simon Kinberg confirmed the Essex Corp post-credits scene will set up Wolverine 3 and the solo Gambit movie, with the most likely outcome resulting in Mister Sinister as the villain of the former.
While Sinister featuring as the key villain in Wolverine 3 and Deadpool 2 is perhaps overkill, the common thread of Cable suggests we're edging ever so close to seeing the Merc with a Mouth crossing over into the X-verse. The prospect of melding into the "confusing" timelines may be a bit much for Wade Wilson, but for everyone else, the crossover can't come soon enough.