X-Men: Apocalypse catch up guide

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With the new X-Men movie hitting cinemas soon, we guide you through the complex maze of past movies, comics and storylines so you’re up to speed and ready for the Apocalypse…

[Spoilers ahead]

Spoiler alert - giphy.com                                      giphy.com

A complex web

The X-Men cinematic universe is a much more complex one than its comic cousins Marvel. Following on from a fairly linear original trilogy, it splintered off with solo outings for Wolverine that adjusted the timeline slightly. Things were further complicated with a semi series re-boot in the form of X-Men: First Class, which acted as a new origin story.

After that, things got crazier – 2014’s X-Men: Days of Future Past was a sequel to First Class, but also introduced characters from the original trilogy while creating a new timeline through a time travel story.

Then, to further complicate the matter Deadpool came along, with Ryan Reynolds once again playing the character he’d played in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. The problem? It wasn’t the same character – they’d changed everything and started again.
Which brings us to the latest instalment – X-Men: Apocalypse. The best way to look at it is as a direct sequel to Days of Future Past that follows on from the new timeline and pretty much ignores Deadpool.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens star Oscar Isaac plays the mighty Apocalypse in the latest cinematic instalment of The X-Men
Star Wars: The Force Awakens star Oscar Isaac plays the mighty Apocalypse in the latest cinematic instalment of The X-Men

What’s the story?

Fortunately, the story seems fairly straightforward. Apocalypse is one of the original mutants who has been around for thousands of years - taking powers from other mutants.

He awakes from a 1,000-year sleep in the 1980s and doesn’t like what he sees. Therefore, he decides to destroy everything and start again with the help of his Four Horsemen – Magneto, Angel, Storm and Psylocke.

It’s up to the X-Men, led by alternative timeline baddie Mystique and Professor X, to stop them.

Which comics to read?

The X-Men movies have taken inspiration rather than storylines from the many comics, so it’s hard to point to one run that covers the ground in the film.

The character of Apocalypse was introduced in 1986 as the behind-the-scenes villain during a run called X-Factor. So happy were the bosses at Marvel with the new character they retroactively revealed he was behind a number of previous plots in older runs of the comic.

If you want a bit of history, we suggest: 

  • Age Of Apocalypse: A massive arc involving time travel and Apocalypse’s plans to wipe out the human race. But the similarities to the film end there as it has Magneto leading the good guys and no Professor X.
  • X-Factor: The first proper appearance of the big bad. Here his powers are laid out – and they’re pretty impressive. From telekinesis and telepathy to rapid healing and shapeshifting, he’s one mighty foe.
  • The Twelve: One of Apocalypse’s main powers is his ability to absorb other mutants’ powers. In this run, he identifies and targets 12 key mutants.
The prequel timeline X-Men
The prequel timeline X-Men

Which films to watch?

To get the best story arc, we suggest sticking to the new blockbuster’s direct prequels – First Class and Days of Future Past. Not only do they set up the story to Apocalypse, they’re also the best X-Men films since the first two.

Who will be in it?

Not only does it bring back characters from Days of Future Past­ – including the hugely popular Quicksilver – it also introduces a few new names and provides younger versions of old favourites.

The main new face is Olivia Munn’s Psylocke. On top of that there will be new actors playing Nightcrawler, Jean Grey, Storm, Cyclops and Jubilee. And a rumoured possible first glimpse of Channing Tatum’s Gambit.

Oh, and who could forget Wolverine. Despite playing a big part in Days of Future Past, he was pretty much missing in First Class so don’t expect it to be a large role.

Game of Thrones's Sophie Turner plays a young Jean Grey
Game of Thrones's Sophie Turner plays a young Jean Grey

What to wear for the screening?

Why not dress up as your favourite character – though we’d suggest something a little less revealing than Psylocke’s outfit - or don a retro X-Men tee.

As the film is set in the 1980s and the decade is currently on-trend, you could go for bright colours, big hair and bleached denim.

And don’t forget your X-Men socks.



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