By now, fans of the X-Men movie franchise are well aware that the saga based on Marvel Comics’ famous team of mutants has as many convoluted continuity problems as it does entertainment value. The first X-Men movie trilogy – X-Men (2000), X2 (2003), X-Men: The Last Stand (2006) – was a major herald of the oncoming age of super hero universe movie franchising; unfortunately that also meant that it suffered the early growing pains of poor foresight, planning and execution of a consistent mythos and continuity. The X-Men spinoff film X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009) all but shattered any semblance of continuity (with a story that contradicted so much of the previous films), nearly killing fan interest in a X-Men movie universe.

Since that dark time, the X-Men movie franchise has managed to find its way back into fans’ hearts, thanks to a semi-successful quasi reboot prequel, X-Men: First Class (2011), and a sequel film Days of Future Past (2014) that used a time travel plot device to essentially put a “blank slate wipe on the X-Men movie continuity. Now director Bryan Singer (who directed the first two original trilogy films, produced First Class and returned to direct DoFP) is working on X-Men: Apocalypse for 2016 release, and in his own words, it will be the end chapter of in the X-Men movie saga we’ve seen thus far.

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Singer was recently at an event celebrating the 20th anniversary of his Oscar-winning 1995 films, The Usual Suspects, when the subject of Apocalypse came up. Singer described the movie as a culmination of the X-Men movie saga – basically an expansion on previous comments he made about Apocalypse tying off the second X-Men trilogy started by First Class:

“Usually they’re about two hours, but I might let this one be longer,” he said. “There’s even an homage at the end — it’s going to get spoiled because they decided to use it in the trailer, which comes out in, like, six months — but it’s kind of a wrap-up of the six movies.”

Ever since the first X-Men movie hit screens, there has been a contingent of the fanbase who believe that Singer’s vision for the franchise has not been a proper or faithful adaptation of X-Men. Even with the best entries in the franchise (X2, DoFP), there have been repeated criticisms of screen time balance (too much Wolverine, not enough Storm or Cyclops); major deviations from mythos (“Shy Teen Rogue,” that whole Xavier-Magneto-Mystique triangle); and of course, the lack of fully authentic X-Men comic book costumes.

Some of those issues (costumes) may be rectified by the events of X-Men: Apocalypse, but no doubt even longtime fans (like myself) are beginning to ponder the possibilities for the franchise’s (forgive the term) evolution once this film is done. A new creative team would be able to bring a new take to the franchise – something closer to the comic books, with a bigger shared universe in mind that can better incorporate upcoming X-Men spinoffs like Gambit and Deadpool.

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Plot Synopsis

Since the dawn of civilization, he was worshiped as a god. Apocalypse, the first and most powerful mutant from Marvel’s X-Men universe, amassed the powers of many other mutants, becoming immortal and invincible. Upon awakening after thousands of years, he is disillusioned with the world as he finds it and recruits a team of powerful mutants, including a disheartened Magneto (Michael Fassbender), to cleanse mankind and create a new world order, over which he will reign. As the fate of the Earth hangs in the balance, Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) with the help of Professor X (James McAvoy) must lead a team of young X-Men to stop their greatest nemesis and save mankind from complete destruction.

In addition to introducing new characters like Olivia Munn’s Psylocke, and essentially giving the core X-men characters a chance to develop into something different than what we saw in the first trilogy, X-Men Apocalypse could also blow the franchise wide open into the sci-fi genre. Read more about that below:

NEXT: Are X-Men Movies Going Cosmic?

Deadpool opens in theaters February 12, 2016; X-Men: Apocalypse on May 27, 2016; Gambit on October 7, 2016; Wolverine 3 on March 3, 2017; Fantastic Four 2 on June 9, 2017; and some as-yet unspecified X-Men film on July 13, 2018. The New Mutants is also in development.

Variety