*CAUTION: Major spoilers for X-Men: Apocalypse*
With Bryan Singer's epic X-Men: Apocalypse officially out in cinemas, it's finally time to talk about that post-credits scene, and what it implies about the future of the X-Men universe.
It's a sequence that's as oblique and confusing to the casual viewer as, unfortunately, much of Apocalypse itself; but there's some big news here, with just a little extraction to be done for the full weight of its significance to land.
First off, you'll have to sit through the entire credits here - Fox is seemingly a little less generous to its viewers than Marvel; but it all finally fades into a suited man strolling through a very high-tech, militaristic-looking facility.
This, of course, will be instantly recognisable to audiences as the facility Jean Grey, Nightcrawler, and Cyclops operated their rescue mission; soon revealed to be the facility the Weapon X programme was housed in after one of its subjects, Wolverine, was unleashed out of his cell. Indeed, the figure here is forced to step between the bodies and carnage left behind by Wolverine during his escape from the facility.
The man is then seen to retrieve a vial of Wolverine's blood, labelled Weapon X, before it placing inside of a briefcase alongside other, differently coloured vials of blood. The briefcase is then closed, to reveal the ominous words, 'ESSEX CORP.'
Essex what? Here's where the expertise comes in: the name refers to one Nathaniel Essex, or Mister Sinister, one of the most formidable villains of the X-Men universe. In the comics, Essex is the one responsible for awakening Apocalypse; a geneticist, he believes the mutant had the potential to unlock the secret of perfecting the evolution of the human race, and is granted agelessness from Apocalypse himself.
He also has telekinesis abilities, as well as the powers of shape-shifting and regeneration; essentially making him an ultimate combination of major X-Men characters, and a perfect foe for any upcoming X-Men movies. His obsession with creating the perfect mutant being would also tie back into the suitcase filled with serums, though it's hard to tell exactly which upcoming X-Men film Sinister would feature in.
He could very well be the villain of the upcoming, '90s-set X-Men sequel; though the sight of Wolverine's blood vial could be hinting at the rumoured introduction of the character's female clone, X-23, in Wolverine 3. Or, is this a hint at the delayed, but still apparently in production, Gambit movie with Channing Tatum? In the comics, Gambit spent his days before the X-Men under the employment of Mister Sinister as a skilled thief.
Or could this even be a look forward to Deadpool 2? Sinister had a particular obsession with Scott Summers (Cyclops) and Jean Grey, creating a clone of the latter who eventually married the former and had a son, Nathan Summers AKA Cable. Of course, anyone who sat right to the end of Deadpool's credits will know that Cable has been prepped to feature in the sequel. Or maybe all these options are true, and Sinister is about to become a major player in the X-Men universe?
Producer Simon Kinberg is keeping quiet on that front, telling Collider; "It’s a nod toward potentially a lot of different movies. I mean certainly the Wolverine movie is related to what happens at the end of it, but there’s also another character that’s introduced, at least in name, in the tag and he could show up in any host of different X-Men films. Maybe a Gambit movie, maybe another X-Men movie."
Meanwhile, we've argued why Apocalypse is hitting cinema screens 10 years too late.
X-Men: Apocalypse is in cinemas now.
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