So, I’m not going to review X-Men: Apocalypse because I don’t like to write negative reviews. That said, there are a few moments that are truly excellent (the ‘Sweet Dreams’ sequence is worth the price of a 3D ticket) and a few characters that are very well done (Quicksilver and Nightcrawler, for example). I won’t speak to the rest of the film.
However, there is an after-credits scene and everyone should stick around because this moment dictates the trajectory of the direction of the entire X-Franchise. This moment; alongside news of behind-the-scenes casting shake-up; offers a very direct indication as to what the next chapter in this massive (and massively-confusing) universe may contain.
So, if you’re ready…
You were warned…
The ending features a man in a suit with glasses who walks through the Alkali Lake facility of Weapon X, carrying a briefcase, to the former location of the now-escaped James Howlett a.k.a. Logan a.k.a. Wolverine a.k.a. Weapon X (which means the program, which would eventually include a bunch of mutants, named one of its specific projects after itself? I’m with Deadpool, these timelines are confusing). The man then looks in a cooler and removes a vial that appears to be blood which is labeled ‘Weapon X’ (the name of the project? Logan’s codename? brand of energy drink? who knows?!) and puts the sample into the case in spot that seems reserved for it. When he closes the case, it says ‘Essex Corp.’ Crescendo of music, movie over.
So, what does this mean?
Well, Essex Corp would seem to indicate a reference to Nathanial Essex a.k.a. Mister Sinister, the guy who likes to clone people because time travel, alien empire, cosmic death being, and alternate timeline stories aren’t confusing enough. The rumors of Sinister being in a film have been around since the first X-Men ended with Rogue’s fancy new hairstyle (what is it with mutant powers and hair alterations, anyways?). Recently, Brian Cranston said, in an interview, he would be interested in portraying Mister Sinister because, you know, cooking meth, cooking clones… it’s pretty much all the same thing.
However, the real news regards the future of Hugh Jackman in the franchise. Having boldly stated that he only intends to do one more X-Film, Jackman’s next foray as Wolverine is expected to be the character’s swan song. No recasting for the most curiously popular character of all time, Jackman’s Logan will likely follow the lead of his comic book counterpart and end up dead in some, more or less, permanent way. This leaves an opening for a bad-ass with claws and, if Fox continues to follow the lead of Marvel Comics, then we might see the clone of Wolvie as the new Wolverine… one might say, the All-New Wolverine!
Introduced as Wolverine’s ‘daughter,’ X-23 a.k.a.Laura Kinney a.k.a. the All-New Wolverine a.k.a. girl Wolverine that internet trolls hate because they just don’t get it, is actually a clone of Wolverine combined with the D.N.A. of a scientist working on the project who happens to be a super-hot brunette. X-23 was conditioned to murder whenever a specific scent was released, which was something that haunted her for quite a while until she recently found a way around it with the unwelcome assistance of…
Dun, dun, DUUUNNN!!!
When the original Wolverine lost his healing factor and ended up dead inside some molten adamantium, Laura picked up the mantle, then tried to wash it because it was super-gross, then just made her own damn costume and became Wolverine II. I’ve really enjoyed the arc of this character; far more than the terrible arcs which were inflicted upon Logan throughout the 1990s and early 2000s. I have some recommended reading, below, if you want to check out more about Laura Linney (I’m about done with that ‘a.k.a.’ shit).
So, the question is, whom do you cast to fill the shoes of an iconic actor in the role that made him iconic? If the revelation of Mister Sinister is big, the revelation that Wolverine’s replacement is coming up the pike is astronomically so. Casting for this role will be critical and require someone who can offer the same level of intensity Jackman has brought to the role, but be young enough to be in the role for a long time. Hugh Jackman in drag just won’t cut it.
If the revelation that Apocalypse was going to be the next X-Film was underwhelming, the revelation at the end of the film has me excited for the future of the franchise.
Less so about the inevitable excrement the trolls will be spewing after the next Wolverine movie.
(Also, I guess I somehow expect my readers to know what Kim Kardashian looks like, but if you don’t that’s who that terrible human being in the last image is.)