Apocalypse is one of the most popular X-Men villains of all time, and it is easy to see why. The reason Apocalypse works as a villain is tied into why people read X-Men. The X-Men comic books are essentially a superhero soap opera, that mixes character drama with action set pieces. Apocalypse has an exaggerated personality that you’re not supposed to take seriously. He stands in contrast to characters like the Joker or Bane, who are scary villains due to the fact that someone could actually be like them in real life. Apocalypse is just an overly verbose cushion for the X-Men to fire all their powers into. That is why he works so well and is the reason why he was chosen to be the villain of one of the X-Men movies.
Ever since his debut in 1986, Apocalypse has been one of the X-Men’s main antagonists. We are here today to look into the bizarre history of one of the oldest mutants of all. From the Daredevil villain substitution that inspired his creation, to his manga battle against Iron Man.
Here are 15 Things you didn’t know about Apocalypse!
15. Apocalypse Was Created As A Last Minute Replacement For A Daredevil Villain
Apocalypse is the second oldest known mutant (after Selene); he was born in ancient Egypt and his schemes have been played out over centuries of human history. At least that’s what the comics say. Apocalypse was actually created at the last minute to fill in for a Daredevil villain.
When the second generation of X-Men was first introduced, the original members of the group would go on to form a new team, called X-Factor. In their first few issues, they battled a group known as The Alliance Of Evil. It was originally planned for the Alliance’s leader to be a Daredevil villain, called The Owl.
The writer of X-Factor, Bob Layton, had to leave the book before The Owl could be revealed as the villain. The incoming writer, Louise Simonson, created a brand new villain to take The Owl’s place. Apocalypse was hastily added to the final page of X-Factor #5 as a last minute replacement.
14. His Design Affected The Mummy
The fans who waited after the credits sequence of X-Men: Days of Future Past were treated to a teaser for the next movie in the series. A brief clip was shown of a young version of Apocalypse, as he stood before a crowd that was chanting his true name (En Sabah Nur). Apocalypse uses his powers to construct a pyramid, while four cloaked riders approach him.
While most fans were excited to finally see Apocalypse on the big screen, there was one person who was disturbed by this post-credits sequence. Alex Kurtzman was in the process of completing pre-production for the upcoming movie, The Mummy. He noticed that Apocalypse’s design in Days of Future Past was exactly the same as the one they were planning to use for the villain of The Mummy.
13. Professor Xavier Killed Him In The Classic X-Men Cartoon
The most well-known screen adaptation of Apocalypse comes from the ’90s X-Men cartoon. While we love Oscar Isaac as an actor, he didn’t really do much with the Apocalypse character. The Apocalypse from the movies pales in comparison to the awesome performance given by John Colicos in the X-Men cartoon. He managed to capture the ridiculous grandeur of Apocalypse perfectly.
John Colicos’ final performance as Apocalypse happened in the episode “Beyond Good and Evil (Part 4)“. Apocalypse has managed to kidnap all of the most powerful psychics in the Marvel universe (and a guy who looks just like a Guardian of Oa). He takes them to his fortress that exists beyond the boundaries of time. When the X-Men manage to free the psychics, Professor Xavier leads them against Apocalypse. As they are no longer bound by the usual rules of the universe, the psychic’s powers are vastly increased. Together, they wipe Apocalypse’s body from existence.
Apocalypse would return during the final season, where he possessed Fabian Cortez (as he can no longer assume a physical form of his own). The show ended shortly after, so we never found out whether Apocalypse was going to fully return.
12. Magneto Killed Him In One Of The Most Popular X-Men Stories Of All Time
One of the most popular X-Men stories of all time is called The Age of Apocalypse. This was series that followed a new timeline, that was created when Legion went back in time in order to kill Magneto before he could screw everything up for mutantkind. Legion screws up instead, however, and kills Professor Xavier by accident. This created a new world, where Apocalypse has taken over most of America, with Magneto leading the X-Men in a doomed rebellion against him.
Magneto and his X-Men discover a means of going back in time and stopping Legion from messing everything up. When Apocalypse learns of this, he kidnaps Magneto and takes him to his fortress. In the final issue of the series, Magneto breaks free and gives Apocalypse one of the best beatdowns in comic book history. Magneto manages to rip Apocalypse in half with his powers, leaving the supposedly immortal mutant to die on the ground.
11. Cyclops & Jean Grey Will Kill Him In The Future
For a villain who is supposed to be immortal and indestructible, Apocalypse sure does die a lot.
During his time with X-Factor, Cyclops had a son with his wife, Madelyne Pryor. The boy was named Nathan Summers, and he would go on to be infected with the Techno-Organic virus. In order to save his son, Cyclops sent him into the future so that he could be cured, even though he would never see him again.
This was proven to be false, however, during the events of the Adventures of Cyclops and Phoenix miniseries. When Cyclops and Jean Grey were on their honeymoon, their consciousness was brought into the future. They now inhabited new clone bodies and were given the task of protecting Nathan Summers from Apocalypse, who still existed in the future. Cyclops was finally given the chance to raise his own son.
In the final issue of the series, Cyclops, Jean Grey and Nathan were able to kill Apocalypse, during the period when he was transitioning into a new host body. With Apocalypse dead, Cyclops and Jean Grey returned to the present day. Nathan was left alone in the future, where he would grow up to become the mysterious soldier known as Cable.
10. He Saved Professor Xavier’s Life
In 1992, Marvel ran a crossover event between several of the X-Men books. It was called “X-Cutioner’s Song” and it followed a new villain known as Stryfe, who had a vendetta against both Cable and Apocalypse. The first issue of the story opens with Professor Xavier speaking at a concert that was intended to promote diversity. He is shot by a man who looks like Cable (it was actually Stryfe in disguise) and he is infected with the Techno-Organic virus.
As Xavier lays dying, the X-Men are drawn into conflict with Cable’s team of mutants, known as X-Force. While this is going on, Stryfe attacks Apocalypse. Due to still being weakened from his previous battle with the X-Men, Apocalypse is unable to defend himself against Stryfe. He manages to escape and flees to the X-Men’s mansion, in order to seek protection.
The X-Men wanted to refuse Apocalypse’s request for sanctuary until he revealed that he could cure the Techno-Organic virus that was killing Professor Xavier. In exchange for the X-Men’s protection, Apocalypse saves Xavier’s life.
9. He Once Fought Dracula
Dracula has been a fixture of the Marvel universe for a long time now. The X-Men have had run-ins with him on several occasions, to the point where an entire recent storyline was dedicated to them battling vampires.
It isn’t just heroes who have faced Dracula over the years. In 2006, Marvel published a miniseries called X-Men: Apocalypse vs. Dracula. It was set in Victorian England and followed the story of Dracula murdering members of Clan Akkaba (the descendants of Apocalypse). In order to stop the entire cult from being transformed into vampires, they are forced to awaken Apocalypse.
With the aid of Van Helsing, Apocalypse is able to learn the weaknesses of the vampires and destroy them. He manages to defeat Dracula, at the cost of most of the members of Clan Akkaba. Apocalypse returns to his rest, without realising that Dracula is still out there, awaiting his revenge.
8. He Was Going To Be Cyclops’ Brother
Scott Summers was the first member of the X-Men. He took on the code name of Cyclops, in order to hide his identity from the public. It was later revealed that he had a brother, named Alex Summers, who was also a mutant.
In X-Men #23, Mister Sinister hinted that there was a third Summers brother out there, that neither Scott nor Alex was aware of. The identity of this third sibling was planned to be several different individuals over the years, such as Gambit and Adam X. The third brother was eventually revealed to be a new character, called Gabriel Summers.
Robert Weinberg intended to reveal the identity of the third Summers brother during his run on Cable. He had planned for Apocalypse to be the third sibling. Apocalypse was going to be Cyclops’ half-brother, who was born when their father had a fling with another woman. The baby Apocalypse would have been sent to the past, where he would fulfil his normal role in the timeline. This was meant to parallel the events surrounding the birth of Nathan Summers, as he was sent to the future in order to survive a disease that was given to him by Apocalypse.
7. Oscar Isaac Went Through Hell To Play Apocalypse
As Magneto is the main X-Men villain, it was only fitting that he be the antagonist of the first X-Men movie. When talk of a sequel began, the fans began asking for Apocalypse to appear. They had to wait almost fifteen years, but Apocalypse finally took centre stage in the 2016 movie X-Men: Apocalypse.
Apocalypse was portrayed in the film by Oscar Isaac. His performance was… not good. This isn’t totally his fault, however, as Oscar Isaac was completely covered in prosthetics for the role. These can take hours to apply and are very claustrophobic for the actor wearing them. Jim Carrey needed a Navy Seal to counsel him on torture techniques, in order to endure the makeup he needed to wear to play the Grinch.
The Apocalypse outfit was also incredibly hot to wear. A special cooling tent needed to be assembled for outdoor shoots, so that Oscar Isaac could cool down between takes. While his acting as Apocalypse may not have been impressive, his dedication to his craft certainly is.
6. Apocalypse Can Create Omega Level Mutants
Apocalypse believes that only the strongest are fit to survive. In The Age of Apocalypse, he intended to start a nuclear war, just to see who could survive it. When Clan Akkaba awakens him in order to seek his help, he will always kill the weakest member, as a price for his aid.
Despite his beliefs, Apocalypse has been known to spare those who have earned his respect. He formed an alliance with Van Helsing in London and allowed him to go his own way, once Dracula was vanquished. In the Age of Apocalypse, he allowed several humans (like Wilson Fisk and Norman Osborn) to serve him as soldiers.
The most significant relationship Apocalypse had with a human was a man named Nathanial Essex. After being impressed by Essex’s knowledge of genetics, he transformed him into the being known as Mister Sinister. This was an impressive feat, as Mister Sinister is one of the most powerful (and difficult to kill) beings in all of the Marvel universe. Apocalypse might have created more servants like this… if Sinister hadn’t betrayed him on a number of occasions.
5. Apocalypse Has Descendants
Just because Apocalypse is a monstrous looking man who is obsessed with Darwinism, it doesn’t mean that he doesn’t have needs.
Apocalypse has procreated with numerous women throughout the centuries. Those children of his who carry some of his abilities are welcomed into Clan Akkaba. These are the descendants of Apocalypse, who act as protectors during the periods when he needs to rest.
There have been several descendants of Apocalypse who have become members of the X-Men, and their trainee team, Generation X. Jonothon Starsmore, also known as Chamber, is one such mutant. He was offered membership into Clan Akkaba, but refused, and joined the New Warriors instead.
The Apocalypse vs. Dracula series also revealed that Blink is one of the descendants of Apocalypse. She was a prominent member of the Exiles and was the teleporting mutant who appeared in X-Men: Days of Future Past.
4. Apocalypse Uses Stolen Celestial Technology
Apocalypse was born in ancient Egypt. When his mutant powers first developed, he grew strong enough to survive even death itself. This raises some issues, however. If Apocalypse was such a powerful mutant, then why hasn’t he taken over the world by now?
The reason for Apocalypse’s tardiness is due to the Celestials. These are mysterious alien beings, who are users of the power cosmic. Apocalypse discovered an abandoned Celestial ship and spent years trying to uncover its secrets. One piece of Celestial technology that he managed to recreate was a rejuvenation chamber. This allowed him to rest for extended periods of time, in order to become stronger. That is why he was not around for large parts of history.
It was later revealed that Apocalypse’s discovery of the ship was no accident. The Celestials wanted him to find the technology but made him promise to perform a favour for them in the future. They made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. The Celestials did actually follow up and have since stolen Apocalypse from the world, for some unknown purpose.
3. Apocalypse Was The End Boss Of A Fighting Game
Marvel Comics and Capcom have had a close relationship since the early nineties. When the fighting game genre was at the height of its popularity, Marvel worked with Capcom to create an X-Men game. This was so well received that Capcom pushed for a crossover between the X-Men and the characters from their Street Fighter series. This lead to the creation of X-Men vs. Street Fighter in 1996.
Capcom decided that a Marvel character would be better suited as an end boss for the game. As such, Apocalypse was chosen as the final battle. At the start of the fight, he shapeshifts into a giant form, that takes up most of the screen. He is nice enough to leave an arm on the stage (as if he is leaning against it) for the player to hit. You have two characters to use as you fight Apocalypse. Not only will he strike you with his giant fist, he will transform his arm into a number of weapons (like a giant drill) in order to defeat you.
2. Apocalypse Is A Drug Addict
One aspect of Apocalypse that has appeared in most X-Men adaptations is his need to rest for years at a time. This is due to the Celestial technology making him stronger during his hibernation periods. His time within the rejuvenation chamber seems to be changing him, as he awakens each time with a stronger focus on his cause.
In Uncanny X-Force #18, it was revealed that Apocalypse has gone on opium binges in the past. This is given as a reason for some of his more idiotic decisions. It is possible that Apocalypse needs drugs in order to survive the many centuries of existence. Despite his power, he is still just a mutant like any other. Unlike other immortal beings in the Marvel universe (like the gods of Asgard), Apocalypse was not born an immortal. He might need opiates and other substances in order to keep what little of his sanity remains.
1. He Once Fought Iron Man In A Giant Robot Battle
In the year 2000, Marvel decided to cash in on the increasing interest in anime & manga in America. This led to the creation of the Marvel Mangaverse series. These were Japanese style interpretations of the classic Marvel characters. While the series was not successful, there have been several other Marvel anime projects in recent years, as well as other manga-inspired series, like X-Men: Misfits and Spider-Man Loves Mary Jane.
The Mangaverse version of Apocalypse was actually an enemy of the Avengers, rather than the X-Men. His goal remained the same, however, as he still wanted to rid the world of humans. He gathered four mutants to be his horsemen and decided to take out the Avengers first, as they would present the most resistance to his plans.
Apocalypse discovers the location of the Avengers storage facility and decides to destroy it. He transforms into a giant form and tries to smash the building. Apocalypse is disappointed to find only Iron Man suits within the facility. When Iron Man shows up, the suits all form together into one giant robot. Iron Man uses this suit to engage Apocalypse in a giant mecha battle. Iron Man is victorious, leaving Apocalypse defeated on the ground.