Director Bryan Singer has announced that another X-Men film will follow 2014’s X-Men: Days of Future Past! Titled X-Men: Apocalypse, the installment will hit theaters on May 27, 2016.
There’s no information on what exactly the story will be like, but for comics fans that moniker can only mean one thing: a big screen adaptation of the “Age of Apocalypse” storyline from the late 1990s.
The epic “Age of Apocalypse” story spanned all X-Men books at the time and replaced the current timeline with one where Charles Xavier was killed early on in his life, resulting in Magneto forming the X-Men as a way to honor Charles’ ideals. Charles’ absence also allows a near god-like mutant by the name of Apocalypse to come to power. Apocalypse’s credo is that only the “strongest must survive” and by present day humanity has long been subjugated under his mutant rule, reduced to grist for the mill of a bleak mutant world.
Charles’ death is caused by a time traveling assassin whose original target is Magneto. A single X-Man pursues this assassin, fails, and is forced to stand by and watch as the timeline unfolds in the most incorrect way possible over the course of decades.
“Age of Apocalypse” is a big, big concept to try and translate to the screen, and it requires that viewers have a passing familiarity with a lot of aspects of the X-Men universe. But Days of Future Past could very well be laying the groundwork for making that possible by introducing time travel into the X-Men universe, along with characters like Bishop and Blink. (For those who don’t know, Bishop is the time traveling character left behind after Xavier’s death, i.e. he’s the only one who knows the timeline is incorrect. And Blink is a scrappy teenage mutant with crazy space portal powers who is just a lot of fun to watch.)
It’s possible that Xavier’s death is actually the twist ending to Days of Future Past. We don’t know how the events in that film will shake out. It could be that Wolverine thinks he’s making the future hunky-dory again when he’s actually crafting events that lead to Xavier’s death.
There’s a lot of the more confusing aspects of the “Age of Apocalypse” that you could leave out if you have Days of Future Past lead into it, as well. No need to explain Ilyana or the M’Kraan Crystal or X-Man or even just what Apocalypse is. The dramatic story being examined by both “Age of Apocalypse” and “Days of Future Past” is the various ways in which Xavier’s fight towards co-existence can be perverted through neglect or absence. From the trailer, it seems that Days of Future Past is focusing on that through the growth of Xavier’s character. It could be that X-Men: Apocalypse will do the same, but through Magneto’s perspective. The two films could provide a complete story.
There’s the added bonus in that both stories provide fun alternate takes on characters we know and love, although “Apocalypse” takes this to the extreme. We’d get to see Jean and Cyclops again! And Alex Summers, too, for that matter. Singer would get to bring back a whole host of obscure mutants. We could see Angel once more, Liev Schreiber as a much more central Sabretooth, Gambit, Alan Cumming as a Nightcrawler that will seriously mess you up (like in that awesome sequence from the start of X2), and more!
Really, you could make an entire X-Men movie universe out of the “Age of Apocalypse” storyline.
And there is an X-Force film in development….
I mean, as long as they avoid making a movie out of “Onslaught,” we’ll probably be okay.
Chris Lough lives his life like the X-Men animated series theme song is always playing. He urges you to do the same.