Posted on Monday, May 26th, 2014 by Russ Fischer
It is standard procedure for a comic book movie to end with a post-credits scene that points toward the next film to come. Once the full credits roll has gone by at the end of X-Men: Days of Future Past, there’s a big one. But the scene doesn’t feature anyone that casual audiences are likely to recognize, and it isn’t set in a location that is familiar to the X-Men films. So what’s it all about? We’ve got the Days of Future Past post-credits scene explained below. (Consequently, full spoilers for Days of Future Past are after the break.)
To recap, once the film’s credits end, the screen opens back up on a scene in ancient Egypt. We see a robed man atop a hill, apparently controlling the movement of giant blocks, which are building a pyramid. A great many people bow to him as they intone a rhythmic chant. The camera swings around the figure to reveal a smooth-faced young man with grey skin and blue lips.
So who’s that guy?
You may have heard that the next X-Men film is called X-Men: Apocalypse. Well, that’s Apocalypse as a young man.
Is he one of the big classic X-Men comic book foes?
Kind of. He’s a bad guy introduced in the mid ’80s when the original five X-Men (Cyclops, Jean Grey, Iceman, Beast, and Angel) were brought back together in the book X-Factor. That’s the same book that featured the newly-not-dead adventures of the previously-dead Jean Grey.
What are the people chanting?
His real name, En Sabah Nur, which means “the first one.” (Or that’s what the comic books tell you his name means; in fact, the intended translation doesn’t quite match what the words really mean in Arabic. But hey, close enough.)
He’s building a pyramid, right?
Mutant powers, duh. Thing is, Apocalypse is essentially the first mutant. He’s also stupendously powerful. Perhaps even stupidly powerful, depending on which iteration of the character is used. He can do just about anything: change his shape and size; move stuff — a lot of stuff — telekinetically; fly; resist just about any damage; absorb energy to make himself more powerful; project energy to make others more dead; safely text and drive at the same time.
Oh, and he’s essentially immortal. And also a genius.
Will he be as powerful in the film as he is in the comics?
Hopefully not! (In the past it has taken incredible effort to defeat him in the comics; how will the movie X-Men do it in two and a half hours?) But it’s difficult to say. The X-Men movies take some pretty big liberties with characters, so there’s good reason to expect that creators Singer, Simon Kinberg, and others are going to cherry-pick the whatever suits them.
He’s going to be crazy powerful, isn’t he?
He is named Apocalypse. So, yeah, probably. Here’s what Bryan Singer said not long ago about the next movie. The character he alludes to here is presumably Apocalypse.
We’re going to deal the the notion of ancient mutants – the fact they were born and existed thousands of years ago. But it’ll be a contemporary movie – well, it’ll take place in the ’80s… The ’80s is a period now – it’s hard for me to believe that! ‘Apocalypse’ will have more of the mass destruction that ‘X-Men’ films, to date, have not relied upon. There’s definitely now a character and a story that allow room for that kind of spectacle.
One thing that interests me is the notion of ancient mutants. What would people thousands of years ago, without the benefit of science, think mutants were? And more importantly, what would mutants thousands of years ago think they were? Gods? Titans? Angels? Demons? And if such mutants did exist thousands of years ago, what became of them? Did one survive?
Why didn’t Apocalypse just take over the world thousands of years ago?
That’s complicated. He got some technological knowhow from a time-traveler from the future who was ruling ancient Egypt as Rama-Tut, and used it to essentially hibernate for periods of time. Each time he woke, he’d be more powerful. And there was a lot of wandering the Earth, checking stuff out. At one point he became obsessed with finding the source and secrets of other extra-terrestrial technology, and that kept him busy for a while. He eventually got around to attempting full control. That’s all in the comics, but as mentioned above, his movie history might be different.
Will Apocalypse bring anyone else along with him?
It’s too early to say. But the end of Days of Future Past means that future X-Men films can recast any characters except for those who appear in the 1973 parts of the story. Sure, there are established cast members for characters like Cyclops and Jean Grey, but those actors can be the “old” versions of the characters, while new, younger actors take the roles for stories set in the ’70s or ’80s. So we might see stories featuring the original five X-men (Cyclops, Beast, Iceman, Angel, and Jean Grey), and Angel’s story is eventually tied closely to that of Apocalypse.