X-Men: Days of Future Past was a game changer for Fox's X-Men films, rebooting the series by completely rewriting its timeline. With the stakes of that film having been as high as they were, the question for the next film is: How will they top it?
The answer for X-Men: Apocalypse is right there in the title: by raising the threat of an apocalypse. Sure, the X-Men have faced threats to humanity and mutantkind before, but this time the threat is of total extinction. Fans who saw Days of Future Past might be asking, "But isn't that basically what they were facing the last time around?" Well this time it's different, according to writer Simon Kinberg.
In a new fan Q&A video posted by 20th Century Fox, Kinberg, said of X-Men: Apocalypse, "I think in some ways it’s the biggest X-Men film we’ve ever done." How so? Kinberg explains:
"We’ve never done one of these movies where the whole world — there’s like an extinction-level threat to the world. The whole world’s at stake. And I think it's the biggest emotionally, too, partly because the situation is so heightened, the dynamic between the main characters is as heightened and intense as it's ever been."
Some of that emotional heightening is on display in the trailer that was released back in December, which showed Apocalypse's powers affecting the X-Men's two resident psychics, Charles Xavier and Jean Grey, as well as exerting control over his Four Horsemen: Magneto, Storm, Psylocke, and Archangel. Fans of the comics know that Apocalypse is one of the X-Men's most powerful adversaries, and that does not look to be any different in the world the movies are set in. His master plan also remains largely the same:
"This is a character who is way more powerful than any of the characters we've ever seen in the franchise. He’s more interested in the sort of survival of the fittest. The strongest, no matter what they may be, surviving and making essentially a better world."
Apocalypse's methods for "making a better world" could certainly be called into question. However, so can Kinberg's claims that an "extinction-level threat" to the world is something new. Setting aside all of the end-of-the-world or end-of-the-universe scenarios in other recent superhero movies, the Sentinels of Days of Future Past certainly had an endgame of extinction in mind and were powerful enough to make that threat a serious one. Still, with the addition of Apocalypse and a number of other mutants to the X-Men universe, Apocalypse will certainly expand on what came before it. Whether that's for better or for worse may depend largely on how much blue makeup audiences are willing to put up with.
Deadpool opens in theaters February 12, 2016; X-Men: Apocalypse on May 27, 2016; Gambit sometime in 2017; Wolverine 3 on March 3, 2017; and an unannounced X-Men film on July 13, 2018. The New Mutants is also in development.