Does X-Men: Apocalypse have a post-credits scene? YES! So stick around through the credits for a little tag which teases something major coming to future X-Men movies.
Needless to say, this article contains spoilers for the post-credits button for X-Men: Apocalypse. We're going to explain what's shown and how it fits into X-Men continuity as we currently know it, and more importantly, how it could setup and connect multiple upcoming features in the works at Twentieth Century Fox.
What's In The X-Men: Apocalypse Post-Credits Scene?
During the film, after En Sabah Nur a.k.a. Apocalypse has recruited his new Four Horsemen, he managers to overtake the mind of Charles Xavier and uses his power and Cerebro to dismantle the military might of the world, causing significant casualties in the process. To the world it is only known at this time that Xavier was in their heads and so the U.S. Military sends in Colonel Stryker, the leader of what we'll describe as the the country's secret mutant science division, to find out what's going on.
Stryker comes to the X-Mansion, just after it explodes, and captures all the key mutant characters he knows or believes are important with the goal of locating Xavier and finding out what he's up to. Stryker, like the rest of the world at this point in time, doesn't know of En Sabah Nur/Apocalypse's existence and that he's behind the attack.
This turn in the plot sees the protagonists return to the all too familiar Alkali Lake Weapon X facility where of course, Logan a.k.a. Wolverine has undergone experimentation that erased many of his memories and grafted adamantium metal to his skeleton and claws. With the help of Jean Grey, Cyclops, and Nightcrawler, Wolverine (sporting his full Weapon X garb from the comics) is unleashed and goes berserk on Stryker's army leaving behind only bodies, blood, and bullets. This sets the stage for the X-Men: Apocalypse post-credits scene where it's that very blood (Wolverine's) which is extremely valuable in the right hands.
The extra tag scene shows the clean-up crew vacuuming up bullets and bagging bodies as a well-dressed mysterious man walks through the halls of the Weapon X facility with a briefcase in tow. He heads directly to the room with the files on Wolverine, examines some X-Rays, and takes a vial of Logan's blood, adding it to a collection of other vials. And in this briefcase the Essex Corp logo is revealed.
Here's what this means, what we know, and what it could be leading to.
Nathaniel Essex a.k.a. Mr. Sinister
Essex Corp refers to the character Nathaniel Essex a.k.a. Mr. Sinister, a long time antagonist of the X-Men in Marvel Comics. Sinister was first introduced in Uncanny X-Men #221 (Sept. 1987) by writer Chris Claremont and artist Marc Silvestri but his history in the canonical timeline has him existing for centuries prior.
A genius-level biologist from 18th century Victorian London, Essex is best described as an extreme Darwinist, believing in self-improvement and evolution without moral limitations. Through experiments, he's augmented himself with a lengthy series of powers and is essentially immortal though unconventional means. He's most well-known for cloning various mutant characters, but more on that later. He wants to craft the perfect people and perfect society.
Mr. Sinister could very well be the primary antagonist of the X-Men: Apocalypse followup, whatever it may be called, but he could also be used in any or all of the other X-Men movies currently in development. It's quite perfect timing to introduce Mr. Sinister considering that next the film will be set in the '90s where the character skyrocketed in popularity (thanks to the X-Men animated series and several key events in Marvel Comics in the '90s).
Sinister played a major role with Apocalypse stories in the comics (and Ultimate Marvel Comics line) and is obsessed with the Grey and Summers families which is why we find it interesting that the focus of post-credits scene is on Wolverine's blood. Of course, the films decided to introduce Apocalypse before getting into Mr. Sinister, so we're not expecting upcoming movies to follow the X-Men comic book timelines. Nonetheless, this is a character whose role in the comics makes him the perfect plot device to bring back and/or alter any character. Not just Wolverine-related.
But let's start there as we examine what Essex Corp and its founder are really up to from the brief teaser. Why do they want Wolverine's mutant blood?
The Logan Bloodline
The still-untitled third Wolverine movie has already begun shooting and rumors last month pointed towards the possibility that it may include a "female Wolverine" which of course refers to X-23, the younger, female clone of Wolverine who currently is a member of the X-Men and who uses the "Wolverine" callsign in modern Marvel Comics.
X-23 (real name: Laura Kinney) was uniquely introduced on television first (similar to Harley Quinn on the DC Comics side) having first appeared in 2004's X-Men: Evolution. A result of a successful attempt to replicate the Weapon X program, X-23 quickly made her way over the comics side where her role has evolved into her becoming one of the most important characters in the comic books, a staple among the modern X-Force and X-Men teams.
It's possible Essex Corp will use Logan's blood to attempt to clone Wolverine (Mr. Sinister's specialty) and craft the "perfect assassin" or at least a perfected version of whatever the Alkali Lake facility and Colonel Stryker were trying to do in the first place with the original Wolverine.
With Hugh Jackman claiming he's done playing the character after this final Wolverine solo movie, it'll soon be time for another self-healing, adamantium-enhanced (or bone-clawed) brawler to take his spot on the X-Men roster for the long-term future, especially since by the end of X-Men: Apocalypse Professor X, Beast, and Mystique are training their students to be battle-hardened soldiers for the new world. That's X-23's speciality.
X-23 is the obvious Wolverine replacement and a female variant who's arguably even more dangerous offers an interesting spin on the character archetype, especially if we first meet her as a potential antagonist. And with more R-rated movies on the way (Wolverine 3 is R-rated) including a new script for X-Force (which may also be R-rated), X-23 can be a member of that team as she is in the source material. Producer and writer Simon Kinberg already hinted as much about the X-Force movie and X-23.
The other option when it comes to Logan's blood is to introduce a version of Daken from Marvel Comics, the son of Wolverine. Daken's a far less popular character and since we're dealing with blood in vials, it's unlikely (read: definitely not happening) Kinberg and the other creative teams working on Fox-Marvel movies would go this route over X-23.
The post-credits scene is important to the future-set story of Wolverine 3 which is important in and of itself, given that it is indeed set in the future. That means whatever Essex Corp is doing in the '80s has long-term implications. Mr. Sinister could very well be a long-term villain.
Note: There are multiple vials in that Essex Corp briefcase - and as we know from the comics, Mr. Sinister is far more interested in certain other characters...
Summers & Greys
Longtime readers of X-Men comics know full well why Mr. Sinister is one of the greatest X-Men villains of all-time; not just for his ruthless cunning, genius intellect, and nefarious plans - but his role in many key story arcs throughout the decades. A through-line of these is Mr. Sinister's obsession with the Summers family that led him to trying to produce the perfect, all-powerful offspring of Scott Summers (Cyclops) and Jean Grey. In one of the most notable (and applicable) stories, the cloned Jean Grey, creating the nearly identical Madelyne Pryor (sans the mutant powers), just as the real Jean became The Dark Phoenix which ultimately led to her death.
This is especially relevant given the happenings of X-Men: Apocalypse, since it seems obvious that the next sequel will explore and re-tell The Dark Phoenix saga (X-Men: The Last Stand tried to). How could it not after the unleashing of the Phoenix during the film's final act!?
That uncontrollable cosmic power will also explain why director Bryan Singer continues to hint that this next X-movie could also be set in space, given the Phoenix's origins. But that's all to say Jean Grey will be intensely powerful, and with Mr. Sinister in the mix, that puts her on his radar alongside the Summers family.
Essex a.k.a. Mr. Sinister, who's already shown to be collecting blood, could be cloning a lot more than just Wolverine. Essex could also be a way to have Alex Summers a.k.a Havok return after seemingly disappearing into the fiery explosion of the X-Mansion (the movie does not explicitly show him die), and how Scott and Jean (or a clone of Jean) can eventually have a child who becomes Cable. Yes, the same time-travelling mutant soldier Cable who's already confirmed to appear in Deadpool 2. More on that here.
Cable's a major player in the New Mutants (which also has a movie on the way, shooting early next year) and the founder of X-Force. See how it's all connected? Or at least, it could be depending on what producer-writer Simon Kinberg has planned. He's the overseer/lead storyteller of the entire X-Men movie universe, brought in by the studio to tell larger stories that span multiple movies. There's a plan unfolding and this Essex Corp tease could be the beginning of something major.
But wait, there's more...
There's Also Gambit
That other new solo character movie in development (planned to shoot this fall) is that of Channing Tatum's Gambit. Mr. Sinister could have a part to play in this movie as well based on the complicated history the pair share in the comics. It involves a bit of time-travel too, so get ready.
Gambit's (real name: Remy LeBeau) mutant powers were borderline controllable when they first emerged and so he sought out assistance from Mr. Sinister - who in standard Mr. Sinister fashion, removed a part of Gambit's brain that allowed him to control his abilities better. In exchange, Gambit had to complete a few evil-esque tasks for Essex, including forming his own super-powered mutant team known as the Marauders.
Here's where it gets interesting -When talking about the X-Men: Apocalypse post-credits scene during the press junket a few weeks ago, Kinberg specifically mentioned the Gambit movie for where Essex could show up.
“It’s a nod toward potentially a lot of different movies. I mean certainly the Wolverine movie is related to what happens at the end of it, but there’s also another character that’s introduced, at least in name, in the tag and he could show up in any host of different X-Men films. Maybe a Gambit movie, maybe another X-Men movie.”
What It Could Be Leading To
Depending on the long-term goals of the franchise, Mr. Sinister is the type of villain who's worthy of a multi-picture role. He might be the perfect villain to follow Apocalypse, and the right type of character who fits in or at least could have a major impact on Gambit, Wolverine 3, X-Force, New Mutants and the next core X-Men movie.
Where do you want to see Mr. Sinister show up? Should he be kept largely behind-the-scenes for a while, pulling the strings on multiple movies? Want to see mutant clones or is that a plot device you'd rather see avoided? Share your thoughts, desires, and theories in the comments!
Directed by Bryan Singer, X-MEN: APOCALYPSE is produced by Simon Kinberg, Hutch Parker and Lauren Shuler Donner, and stars James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Oscar Isaac, Nicholas Hoult, Rose Byrne, Tye Sheridan, Sophie Turner, Olivia Munn, Lucas Till, Evan Peters, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Alexandra Shipp, Josh Helman, Lana Condor and Ben Hardy.
X-Men: Apocalypse is now playing in theaters. Wolverine 3 opens in U.S. theaters on March 3rd, 2017, followed by unannounced X-Men films on October 6th, 2017 (possibly Gambit), January 12th, 2018 (possibly Deadpool 2), and July 13th, 2018 (possible New Mutants). X-Force is also in development.