Our heroic band of Marvel mutants explode back onto screens next year in X-Men: Apocalypse. Here are 21 facts we've gleaned about the epic superhero adventure...
1. Bryan Singer is back in the director's chair.
That's no surprise given that this is the sequel to his narratively daring, time travelling, cast-uniting critical and commercial hit X-Man: Days of Future Past. This will be Singer's fourth X-Men film as director. He said that his intention was to explore the origins of the mutants as well as the "true birth of the X-Men".
2. It's written by Simon Kinberg
Kinberg is a veteran of the series: he also wrote The Last Stand and Days of Future Past and is heavily involved in the new Star Wars films. So we know that Apocalypse is in good hands.
3. It's a period piece (sorta)
Kinberg has revealed the film will be set in 1983 – a decade after the events of Days of Future Past – and is the final part of a trilogy that began with X-Men: First Class.
4. There's more continuity...
There was an early clue as to where the storyline is going in the Days of Future Past post-credits sequence. Set in ancient Egypt, this depicted a vast crowd chanting the name En Sabah Nur while a cloaked boy used telekinetic powers to build the pyramids, observed by a quartet of mysterious horsemen.
5. It features a classic X-Men villain
So who's this En Sabah Nur fella, then, and how does he fit into the story? Well, in X-Men lore, En Sabah Nur (aka "the first one") is the original immortal mutant, also known as Apocalypse. Hence, presumably, the title. If the can knock up a pyramid as a nipper without apparently breaking sweat, just imagine how formidable a foe he's likely to become as an adult.
6. Oscar Isaac plays Apocalypse
If that name isn't familiar, it will be before very long. Isaac (pictured below) played the lead roles in the Coen brothers' Inside Llewyn Davis and the well-received crime drama A Most Violent Year. He also stunned in this year's sci-fi Ex Machina and has a major role as X-Wing pilot Poe Dameron in the upcoming Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
7. Comic Con got there first
San Diego audiences got an exclusive first look at the purple-faced supervillain with the unveiling of an exclusive trailer, which was subsequently leaked online. This shows the messianic Apocalypse attempting to recruit the mutants to his cause, telling them: "You are all my children and you're lost because you follow blind leaders."
8. Old faces return
Charles Xavier (James McAvoy), Magneto (Michael Fassbender), Beast (Nicolas Hoult) and Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) are all back for Apocalypse.
9. But certain others won't be back
After much online will they/won't they speculation, it now appears that neither Patrick Stewart nor Ian McKellen will be reprising their roles as the older Professor X and Magneto.
10. It's X-Men: the teen years
What we can look forward to are younger versions of characters we've previously seen only as adults. These include Kodi Smit-McPhee as Nightcrawler (see below), Sophie Turner as Jean Grey, Tye Sheridan as Scott Summers/Cyclops, Alexandra Shipp as Storm and Ben Hardy as Angel. 11. Kinberg has insisted that these will not simply be cameos but are key members of the main cast. He told Empire: "Scott is not yet the squeaky-clean leader. Storm is a troubled character who is going down the wrong path in life. And Jean is complex, interesting and not fully mature. It’s fun to see someone struggling with their powers when you know one day they’ll become the most powerful person in the world.”
12. There are a host of new characters
Eagerly anticipated new characters making their X-Men movie debuts include Psylocke and Jubilee. Played by Mortdecai female lead Olivia Munn, Psylocke is a telekinetic badass. Lana Condor is cast as Jubilee, who has the cool ability to shoot pyrotechnic plasmoids from her hands.
13. There could be another villain too
Latest rumours from the film's set suggest that The Blob will be adding his, er, weight to the proceedings. In the Marvel comic books, the blubbery blob was a fatty with enormous strength and his own gravity field!
14. James McAvoy goes slaphead!
Yes, those flowing locks that prompted such mirth when we first clapped eyes on them will vanish as he becomes the folically challenged Charles Xavier we know and love.
15. The X-Men have scattered
In the ten years that have elapsed since we last saw them, it appears that our estranged heroes are now located across the globe. The Prof is still working hard at assimilation while Mystique takes a rather more hardline approach to humankind while rescuing mutants. Magneto, meanwhile, is trying to live a normal life in Poland.
16. The story begins in Egypt
To be more specific: Apocalypse awakes in his Egyptian tomb after a 5,000 year snooze, has a nice long stretch, and then casts a disapproving eye over the war-torn 1980s. Naturally, he concludes that mankind could do with a little smiting.
17. Expect an apocalyptic quartet of villains
Even Apocalypse isn't powerful enough to accomplish this on his own, which is where those horsemen we glimpsed at the end of Days of Future Past come in. Now he needs to recruit a new quartet. Storm, Angel and Psylocke are swiftly tracked down. But his big prize is Erik Lehnsherr, aka Magneto. Now the stage is set for an almighty mutant on mutant smackdown.
18. We're getting another X-Men movie before this one...
Before Apocalypse comes along, we'll be getting the Deadpool spin-off movie. Officially the eighth film in the X-Men series, it sees Ryan Reynolds reprising the character he played in X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
19. We say farewell to J-Law
Make the most of Jennifer Lawrence's performance as Mystique. She told MTV this will be her last X-Men movie.
20. Expect a crossover movie in future
What next for the X-Men? Bryan Singer has dropped hints that there could be some truth to the rumours about an X-Men/Fantastic Four crossover. "Those ideas are in play,” he told Yahoo Movies. “That would be a natural match-up because they’re both ensemble films and there is a natural mechanism by which to do it.”
21. It's out soon(ish)
X-Men: Apocalypse is scheduled for release on 19th May 2016.
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