Post-credit scenes are becoming something of an art form these days, and in the case of superhero giants Marvel, they use them to regular, magnificent effect to tease their next major movie. It's a great plot device, something they have used numerous times, and one that keeps the fans interested and willing to come back. The Avengers team was introduced in such a scene, and Deadpool used them to creative, nostalgic effect, but with X-Men: Apocalypse, the latest movie from 20th Century Fox, they did something a little different.
Be warned, as the title of the article suggests, there are major spoilers ahead.
X-Men: Apocalypse is the conclusion to the second trio of X-Men movies, fondly known as the "First Class" trilogy, but as many will already know, it won't be the final X-Men movie. We have several spin-offs heading in our direction, some of which feature our favourite mutants in all their solo glory, and all evidence points to another collaboration in the future. However, where normal post-credit scenes normally set up the next movie in a franchise, X-Men: Apocalypse featured a scene that established the mindset for an entire phase of future installments. It leaves a couple of possibilities open, too, something that, to my recollection, has never been done before. But what does this mean for the future of the franchise? Well, read on.
The Independent explained something that many die-hard fans will already know. The scene itself takes us back to the Weapon X facility, where Jean Grey, Nightcrawler, and Cyclops were spotted in the final Apocalypse trailer. It's also the facility responsible for bonding Wolverine's skeleton with adamantium, a process overseen by William Stryker. In the new timeline ushered in by the second trilogy, Wolverine was freed from his captivity and unleashed on Stryker's soldiers. It's in the aftermath of this escape that the post-credits scene takes place. A mysterious figure appears in the facility, stepping over the dead bodies, undeterred by his findings. He looks around and soon discovers what he is looking for: a vial of Wolverine's blood, which is labelled "Weapon X." Satisfied with his findings, he places the vial in a briefcase labeled "ESSEX CORP."
Now, the name is new to the cinematic X-Men universe, but dedicated fans of the comics will get the hint and know who this man is instantly: Nathanial Essex, a.k.a. Mister Sinister.
Mister Sinister is famously aligned to Apocalypse in that he worked for the supervillain for many years. Nathaniel Essex was originally a 19th century geneticist who conducted unethical and dangerous experiments for the sake of accelerating evolution via mutation, and after a time, he crossed paths with Apocalypse, who transformed him into Mister Sinister. Thanks to the genetic alteration, Sinister adapted abilities like telekinesis, mind manipulation, shapeshifting, energy projection, and regeneration, to name a few. Combine this with his natural intellect, and it makes him one of the X-Men's most dangerous enemies.
And let's not forget the obvious elephant in the room: he took a vial of Wolverine's blood, so does that mean Wolverine will clash heads with Sinister in Wolverine 3? The film has received a lot of press lately for one reason: it will be Hugh Jackman's last portrayal as the clawed mutant. Details for the plot of the threequel are scarce, but with Richard E. Grant cast in the movie last month as a "villainous mad scientist," as revealed by the Hollywood Reporter, could this be a sign that Mister Sinister is ready to make his debut? Another rumor about the third Wolverine movie suggests that X-23, Wolverine's female clone, will make an appearance. Could this be the result of Essex Corp's post-credit findings?
It leaves a lot of questions unanswered and open, as I mentioned above, but whatever Mister Sinister does next, or first, it's sure to make a massive impact on the franchise. With Hugh Jackman heading out of the X-Men universe, and a host of new mutants being introduced, this could be the perfect time to create a new, multi-film arc for proceedings. It also raises the question of whether we've seen the last of Apocalypse? Surely their partnership will not be ignored.
There's only one way to find out.
X-Men: Apocalypse is showing in U.K. theaters now, and will be released in the U.S. on May 27, 2016.
[Image via 2oth Century Fox]