[SPOILERS for X-Men: Days of Future Past ahead.]
Marvel Studios skipped San Diego Comic-Con 2015, but film adaptations of the organization’s comic book properties nonetheless got their share amount of time in the sun at the event, with reveals for 20th Century Fox’s Deadpool, Fantastic Four, and X-Men: Apocalypse.
All three of Fox’s Marvel titles take place within the same extended cinematic universe (or so we think – that’s the theory right now, anyway). However, following the critical and commercial rejuvenation of the X-Men franchise provided by director Bryan Singer’s X-Men: Days of Future Past, it is Singer’s follow up Apocalypse which will determine the future of every other X-Men movie.
Most of the cast of X-Men: Apocalypse recently appeared on Conan (watch the whole video above), including James MacAvoy (Professor X), Michael Fassbender (Magneto), Olivia Munn (Psylocke) and Nicholas Hoult (Beast). During a discussion of the cast’s preferred past times during the film’s production – hitting each other and firing BB guns at one another – Hoult mentioned that Logan/Wolverine’s (Hugh Jackman) greatest nemesis will also return, as he named Josh Helman as one of his BB gun victims.
As any casual fan of the X-Men films knows, Stryker is the man responsible for Wolverine’s on-again, off-again amnesia, adamantium-laced skeleton, and general discontent with daily life in general. He was first played by Brian Cox in Bryan Singer’s X2; then by Danny Huston in X-Men Origins: Wolverine; was referenced in X-Men: First Class; and was most recently portrayed by Helman in Days of Future Past.
Given the somewhat head-scratching cliffhanger featured at the end of DoFP, it’s no surprise to hear that the character will return for Apocalypse. All the same, Hoult’s apparent slip of the tongue is the first semi-official word that Helman will reprise the role.
The question now is just how large that role will be. X-Men: Apocalypse has a lot to accomplish during its running time: justify the resurgence of fan goodwill toward the brand in the wake of Days of Future Past; make good on the franchise-resetting promises that film’s plot seemed to be making; and deliver a worthy new introduction to core characters with new actors (Storm, Cyclops, Jean Grey). The Stryker mention does align with a long-held rumor: the appearance of Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine.
The next solo Wolverine movie is expected to be the last hurrah for Jackman in his signature role, but this news is a strong indication that the Ol’ Canuckle Head – who was last seen safe and warm in the Xavier School during the “present” time period and hauled up from the bottom of the ocean by Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) masquerading as Stryker in the past – will show up in Apocalypse, and potentially in a more significant capacity than expected.
After all, for a time in the comic books Wolverine ends up as Death, one of Apocalypse’s Four Horseman. There is no evidence of misdirection as to the film’s horsemen… but that doesn’t mean Jackman’s incarnation of Wolverine won’t get caught up n the inevitable confrontation between the ancient mutant and his riders. Expect more details on the matter soon.
Fantastic Four opens August 7th, 2015, Deadpool on February 12th, 2016, X-Men: Apocalypse on May 27th, 2016, Gambit on October 7th, 2016, Wolverine 3 (not the official title) on March 3rd, 2017,Fantastic Four 2 on June 9th, 2017, and some as-yet unspecified X-Men film on July 13th, 2018.