[WARNING: This breakdown includes potential plot SPOILERS. Read at your own risk.]
The question of whether or not Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine would appear may have dominated the conversation around X-Men: Apocalypse‘s new trailer, but there is much, much more to discuss now that it’s here. There’s a Wolverine cameo – of sorts – but in the movie’s best trailer yet, the studio has turned to some of the most epic, most explosive, and most intriguing shots and scenes from the film. And for those fans looking to catch every detail revealed or teased, we’ve got you covered.
Our analysis of the previous Apocalypse trailer helped break down the plot, closing scenes, villain’s origins, and even how some action scenes and twists aren’t all that they seem. The new trailer seems to confirms and build upon several of those ideas, while offering an even clearer look at the story, now that the placeholder backgrounds have been replaced with the finished CG effects. And trust us: serious SPOILERS are ahead.
“Things Are Better”
The trailer opens on a surprisingly hopeful note, with Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) back at work at the school, with a host of new students, and claiming that things have gotten better. Unfortunately, as has been established as the pair’s core dynamic, Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) immediately pipes in with her own pessimism, claiming that the calmest, most peaceful times can often signal a coming threat.
We know the threat that approaches, but for those who may not recall the conclusion of Days of Future Past, it’s safe to assume that over the better part of a decade since mutantkind rose up to kill, then save the President of the United States, anti-mutant sentiment has been softened (Charles is an optimist, not a fool). But during our visit on the film’s set, it was teased by a few members of the crew that after exposing herself to the world – blue scales and all – Raven has become a common symbol for the rising mutant population living in secret.
Unsurprisingly, that’s not a role or sense of hope that Raven is personally comfortable with, which explains why she, more than anyone, is at unease with the world around them. She can’t know about Apocalypse just yet, but the fact that she is one of the few to see the world for its threats and forces sets her up quite nicely as the central figure of the film (a fact clearly suggested by this new trailer).
Prior trailers had offered a glimpse of the Great Pyramid – constructed by Apocalypse a.k.a. En Sabah Nur thousands of years ago – but had not featured the clear symbol shining from its zenith. The significance of the symbol itself (if it has any beyond the triangle and ankh-ish shape) will probably only be gleaned from the movie, but the scene taking place inside of it may suggest something interesting. For starters, the images on the exterior faces are repeated on the inner sides of Apocalypse’s chamber.
The glowing symbols also resembled the glowing gold energy that is crawling across the machinery (and people) inside, the origins of which are still, also, a mystery (Alien? Magical?). Could the shining symbols on the pyramid signal the event taking place inside of it, allowing everyone surrounding the structure – possibly Apocalypse’s followers, known as the Clan of Akkaba in the comics – to take part in their god’s next stage of life?
Apocalypse Takes (Becomes?) a New Host
The previous trailer revealed the strange ritual that allows Apocalypse to take on new bodies, passing from one to the next in the form of blue energy (again, unclear if it is alien or magical in nature). This shot from the new trailer fills in the gaps of the procedure, with the blue energy carrying the strange markings of the villain, engraving them into the body of his new host (Oscar Isaac) as he turns from human to the blue mutant before our eyes.
The narration also spells out Apocalypse’s nature, gathering mutants together over time, and hopping from one body to the next, absorbing their powers as he goes. Why his transition into this host was the last he apparently made – until now, at least – is also unclear. But we have to imagine that mystery hinges on the mutant power that the host possessed – anyone’s guess, for now.
“I Buried It With My Family”
It wouldn’t be an X-Men movie without Charles urging Erik to see reason, and give up his murderous cause in the name of peace and unity. Here, Charles looks to be making the plea while captured, with Erik responding that he is finally beyond Charles’ reach; that whatever good his friend saw in him was extinguished, and buried “with my family.” The producers haven’t kept quiet about the fact that, when Magneto is rediscovered following his embarrassment in Washington, D.C., he has started a family and ceased using his powers.
But this trailer offers our first look at what appears to be the death of his wife (and possibly children). It’s then that Apocalypse shows up, turning this former villain with nothing left to lose into his brutal Horseman. And while it may seem strange for Magneto to finally find peace and isolation, not to mention love, the comic books are acting as the main inspiration. In the comics, it was the loss of his daughter, Anya, that drove Magneto to murder an assembled crowd around the scene of her death – an act that terrified his wife, Magda, into abandoning him.
There seem to be images of both a child and a woman in these brief shots (when Erik is clutching some necklace or pendant), so it’s possible that director Bryan Singer is making significant tweaks to his original story, casting Magneto as a widow to a dead wife, and father to a dead child. What caused their death, or who, and why? We’ll need to wait to learn that.
The End of The Friendship?
As mentioned above, the scene between Charles and Erik looks to take place on the same location that Apocalypse and his Horseman assemble at, before launching their attack in Egypt (Charles’ wardrobe looks to be the one worn when he is presumably kidnapped from the mansion).
If true, then it raises several questions, the most pressing being “why has Apocalypse brought Charles Xavier halfway across the world?” The earlier scene of Apocalypse taking a host may offer an answer, but if that’s his plan, it’s likely too big a plot beat to be fully revealed.
What is hinted at is the reason for Apocalypse choosing this time – or at least this location, it seems – to gift Magneto with a new helmet, capable of drowning out Charles’ words. If Erik’s comments about his dead family are as final as they sound, then choosing this moment to permanently keep Charles from intervening – as a friend, not an enemy – could carry particular weight… even if Magneto already had a helmet to begin with.
Fans can probably deduce the explanation (or several) for Apocalypse’s amplified powers, tearing an entire city down to dust, and sending water, steel, and concrete sky high. But this trailer relies on a familiar landmark – the Syndey Opera House in Sydney, Australia – to show that his attack is truly launched around the planet, not in one country or another. And we mean launched, since the single still image above shows entire city blocks being destroyed, pulled through the air in flowing streams of debris.
Why? How? We don’t yet know, but as the trailer goes on, we are offered some clues as to what all this rubble is being used to build, at least. How Earth’s nations recover from this attack is another matter entirely.
Mutant Fight Club Rescue
It turns out there one special guest on hand to see the fight between Angel (Ben Hardy) and Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee) in the strange underground mutant fighting ring. Donning some era-appropriate clothing (and, we learn later, taking out a security guard or two), Raven infiltrates the operation to apparently pull Nightcrawler out to safety. Again, it’s impossible to tell if Raven appeared with the intention of saving him, saving Angel, or simply saving whichever fighter happened to be in the ring. And those who know the relationship between these two characters in the comics, there could be an entirely different reason at work (but we wouldn’t hold our breath).
But after getting her hands on the blue-skinned mutant and BAMF-ing out of the action (with a straggler), we learn that Raven’s face has truly become a famous one for mutants unable to hide in plain sight.
Since Nightcrawler recognizes Raven (accent confirmed?) as the face of the first mutant to go public, we can assume that she wound up in her street clothes – not the more risque number she arrived in – by first changing into her normal blue appearance, then back into human. At least, that’s the best explanation we can currently come up with for the young mutant recognizing a famous mutant by her human face… which he’s never actually seen before.
Son of Magneto
It was a secret heavily alluded to in X-Men: Days of Future Past, and teased by actor Evan Peters on set, but the marketing for the film has made it known to all fans: Quicksilver is the son of Magneto. Ever since he witnessed the metal-moving mutant on national television, Quicksilver a.k.a. Peter has been trying to track him down. When he finally does, his path inevitably crosses with the mutants trying to stop him from once again wreaking havoc on an entire government (or planet). Since the previous trailer showed that Quicksilver would stick around as an official X-Man by the movie’s end, it’s safe to say that Magneto’s relationship to Charles Xavier’s superhero team is about to get even more complicated.
What’s That Structure?
It’s easy to get distracted by Storm’s lightning attacks, but it’s what’s standing in the background of this shot that has our attention. The newest trailer reveals that the grey, blurry backgrounds of several key scenes was not a lack of CGI budget, but a choice made to keep some secrets under wraps. Now that’s all changed, with the trailer giving a full look at the massive stone structure that, we’re willing to guess, wasn’t standing there a few hours before the scene takes place. The same designs as seen on Apocalypse’s armor, and that of his Horseman is visible etched into the structure itself, but what purpose it serves, or the role it plays in the story, is less clear.
Later shots of buildings and cars being reduced to dust sheds some light, since it looks like they are actually being used – on a molecular level – to build the structure, one spire at a time. The actual rules are hard to pin down, since this is the same effect used to reduce other cities and famous landmarks to dust as well. We would imagine that a structure built out of entire countries‘ worth of material would be bigger than the one seen in the brief shots, but suppose anything is possible. But let’s be clear: if the pyramid structure at the beginning of the film was being used to put Apocalypse into a new body, his construction of an even bigger one can’t be good news for anyone.
Cerebro is The Scene of The Crime
Previous trailers, TV spots and clips had hinted at the cause of the explosion that turns Xavier Mansion to tinder, but it seems like the studio is no longer interested in keeping it quiet. Cerebro is ground zero for the detonation that sends Quicksilver rescuing every student at super-speed, and considering the only other scene shown to take place in the location features Charles, Havoc, Moira, Hank and Raven, they’re the ones in harm’s way.
Most of them have been accounted for in other scenes clearly set after this disaster, but… not all.
The shot of Hank (Nicholas Hoult) teary-eyed, looking on a bright light – clearly standing in the hallway outside of Cerebro – leaves only a few conclusions to draw (and none of them good for comic fans).
Havoc remains the only character not seen in the following battle, and if the image above is showing the X-Men retreating as an explosions starts to build inside Cerebro – before the explosion blows the doors open, and takes the school with it – well, we don’t like to say it, but one veteran of First Class may have seen his last.
Could This Be The Phoenix Force Emerging?
The very first trailer for Apocalypse teased fan curiosity by setting Jean Grey at the center of the spotlight, envisioning a world destroyed, accompanyied by her own screaming face. For movie fans, it seems like a nightmare. But for those comic fans who know what power has resided in Jean Grey’s body, it was all the hint needed that Bryan Singer might finally adapt the tale of the Phoenix Force, and the colossal toll it takes on Jean, Scott, and every other character.
We won’t go too in-depth on the subject while it’s still just speculation, but considering the threat Apocalypse poses, the damage he wreaks, and the total lack of any way of ever defeating him, we would say that a shot of Jean Grey losing control in favor of furious rage could be very telling. Especially combined with the other shots surrounding it (in which a city sits in a state of near-total destruction). And then there’s this:
Granted, this movie seems to have plenty of explosions, and one more set among the ruins in which most of the third act action seems to take place is nothing special. But this is a massive explosion, with the focus put on it, not any character nearby, and characters trying to escape, or avoid it. In fact, the only other image that seems to pair up with this detonation is one in which Magneto guards himself from it amidst a storm of metal debris.
Take a closer look, and it’s clear that the debris isn’t flying from the expanding explosion, but is being pushed by Magneto towards it, likely in an attempt to contain whatever energy is erupting from the source. It’s still just speculation on our part, and probably a bit of wishful thinking (seriously, the Phoenix Saga remains the biggest X-Men story we still can’t believe Bryan Singer hasn’t approached).
But with no other evidence of what kills Apocalypse, what stops the other Horsemen, or why these images of Jean Grey screaming are important, an early release of her true power seems a plausible explanation.
A Familiar Fist
And finally, the highly-anticipated appearance of Wolverine (Hugh Jackman)… or his arm, at least. Following the clues gathered from our previous trailer analysis, the scene that triggers his cameo takes place within Stryker’s base, where the young X-Men have infiltrated and rescued their team leaders.
Apparently, Wolverine has found his way into Stryker’s grasp… despite the Stryker who took possession of him at the close of Days of Future Past revealed to be Mystique in disguise? Best not to think too much on that point.
It would appear that the team either intentionally, or accidentally lets Wolverine loose as well – or their infiltration just happens to coincide with his breakout. Either way, it leaves the door open for Jackman to return and do what he does best. Even so, considering that he may not have a role to play either before or after this plot beat, his cameo could still be very much on the ‘tiny’ side. Just don’t tell him we said that.
Those are the shots, frames, suggestions, hints, and theories we think are most worth discussing, but what did you think of the trailer? Does this rank as the best trailer for the movie yet, or do you have bigger questions that haven’t yet been answered?
X-Men: Apocalypse will see theatrical release in the U.S. on May 27th, 2016, followed by Wolverine 3 on March 3rd, 2017, and unannounced X-Men films on October 6th, 2017 (possibly Gambit), January 12th, 2018 (possibly Deadpool 2), and July 13th, 2018. The New Mutants is also in development.