Search This Blog

Sunday, May 29, 2016

X-Men: Apocalypse Post-Credits Scene Explained

Edited by Robert Beach 

X-Men: Apocalypse has topped the box office for Memorial Day weekend as our third big superhero team movie of the year and 4th comic book movie overall. Ideally, I’ll have a more in-depth review of the film later on, but as we wait on that, we can talk about is the post-credits scene.  Post-credits scenes (stingers) have become the staple of superhero movies nowadays. To the point audiences have been so trained to expect stingers, it’d be weird if a superhero film didn’t have one (that was a Batman v. Superman slam.) 

The entire idea of post-credits superhero teasers originates in the X-Men franchise, first popping up with X3: The Last Stand’s ending clip of Professor Xavier mind-warping into a comatose patient to escape death. Since then, we’ve had big reveals like Nick Fury in Iron Man, funny shoutouts like Howard the Duck in Guardians of the Galaxy, and direct sequel set-up like the Apocalypse teaser in Days of Future Past. What type of scene does X-Men: Apocalypse sport? And what does it mean for the X-Men films going forward?  Let’s find out. Spoilers ahead.

No footage exists of this yet because the film just came out, but the ending credits teaser revolves around one of the film’s weirder cameo sequences. Directly before the big, 3rd act blow out of X-Men: Apocalypse, the heroes are all whisked away to a secret weapons facility to meet up with a freshly adamantiumed Wolverine. It’s not a terribly important scene and seems to have been created entirely in post-production to fit Wolverine into the movie somewhere. 

However, its importance is revealed in the post-credits scene where a mysterious man with a briefcase moves through the rubble of the facility to collect some of Wolverine’s blood. The blood sample is put in the case under the label of “Weapon X” alongside several other vials, and we see the briefcase inscribed with the name of the Essex Corporation. 

As far as reveals go, this shake-up is probably on par with the Tesseract showing up at the end of Thor; it was a big showy moment for comic nerds, but most normal audience members were left in the dark. Here’s the skinny, the name Essex is a reference to pretty much the only remaining X-Men big-name villain who hasn’t made it to the films: Mr. Sinister.  

Born Nathaniel Essex, Sinister was a Victorian geneticist with the mutant power of immortality. His research brought him into contact with the cosmic science being, the High Evolutionary. High Evolutionary took on Essex as an apprentice, teaching him secrets of the universe till Essex grew too powerful and rebelled against his master. Mutating his body further to become immortal and indestructible, he renamed himself Mr. Sinister and did more bad doings. 

I doubt most of that will translate over to wherever Sinister shows up in the X-Men films. Marvel owns the rights to the High Evolutionary, so he couldn’t show up even if Fox wanted him to. What’s more, it’s not as if the cosmic stuff was ever all that meaningful to Sinister’s character.  

Mr. Sinister’s a lot like Apocalypse that way. The actual details of his origin and motivation are secondary to looking cool and being imposing.  I don’t know how Sinister having a corporation will tie into anything as he usually does the standard super villain thing of a big secret lab facility like Cobra or Hydra might have but whatever. The blood sample collecting makes the most sense as Sinister’s main thing is genetics, usually combining X-Men DNA to create mutant combos as living weapons and experiments. 

The tricky thing here is, by all accounts, Mr. Sinister won’t be the villain of the next X-Men film. In case you aren’t up on the latest X-Men news, the next X-Men film is set to come out in 2018 and will be a reworking of the Dark Phoenix saga that was bungled so badly in X3: The Last Stand.  

It’s possible Mr. Sinister and his Essex Inc. could be part of that if the creators wanted to try and link Sinister’s cosmic origins to the space stuff that surrounds the Phoenix; it seems unlikely. The much more likely scenario would be Mr. Sinister is being set-up as the antagonist of next year’s Wolverine 3, which is apparently set to be the final outing for Hugh Jackman in the role. 

Not much is known about the upcoming Wolverine sequel except it will also feature Patrick Stewart reprising his role as Professor Xavier. This has led many to speculate it will be set in the future and could act as a reworking of the Old Man Logan comic story.  

While I’m not sure they’ll go full Old Man Logan, the future setting makes sense for getting Patrick Stewart involved, and it would fit with Mr. Sinister as his immortality means he’d still be a threat no matter when in the future the film happened to be set. A lot of the cast has been named and not identified. If it turned out that Richard E. Grant was actually playing a reworking of Mr. Sinister as a villainous corporate overlord of a dark future, it’d certainly make sense. 

The bigger theory swirling around this reveal is the question of whether or not Mr. Sinister stealing Wolverine’s DNA will lead to him creating X-23, a clone of Wolverine engineered to be a woman. X-23 has proven very popular since her inception. During Marvel’s latest rebranding initiative, she actually took over the role of Wolverine. X-23 as a replacement for Jackman’s Wolverine would make a lot of sense conceptually.  

Jackman’s been in the part of Wolverine for well over a decade now, and he’s become so synonymous with the role it’s hard for most audiences to imagine anyone else filling his boots. Skipping over the idea of recasting and going straight to a legacy character would be a good way around that issue and making it X-23 rather than Wolverine’s son Daken would help create an even cleaner break in the minds of audiences. 

However, if Wolverine 3 is meant as the starting point for X-23, I don’t see how it would fit into the current, skewed timeline of the X-Men films.  It’d be a future-set movie with the new character whereas the main movies are going to take place in the ‘90s next as to try and preserve the continuity of the first 2 X-Men films that Bryan Singer directed.  

Frankly, at this point, X-Men continuity is one of the least interesting and most thankless things to become invested in. If they just wanted to have X-23 show up in X-Men: Dark Phoenix, I wouldn’t complain.  Conversely, this could just be a set-up to do more standalone Wolverine movies with Wolverine always just being “busy elsewhere” in the main movies, which I wouldn’t be upset about either. 

At this point, the X-Men films are one of the strangest superhero blockbuster franchises man has ever constructed. This is a bizarre confederation of disconnected standalones, mangled continuity of events, and pretty much no clear plan going forward. No one seems to be wondering what’ll happen after they run out of pre-X-Men 1 eras to set their movies in; the franchise constantly links its antagonists back to Magneto regardless of how much sense it makes; and visually speaking, the X-Men have never once looked like the X-Men. 

If the creators have finally decided to just throw up their hands and do whatever as they jog in place and await the lucrative shared custody deal that Marvel/Disney will inevitably offer them, Mr. Sinister vs. Wolverine to create X-23 seems like a pretty good way to do that. 
If you liked this article, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter

1 comment: