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Categorized | Movies, News, SDCC '15

X-MEN: APOCALYPSE Comic-Con Panel Recap

Posted on July 11, 2015 at 9:39 pm by David "Snackbar" Edmundson

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With interest in superhero movies at a fever pitch, one of the veterans of the genre, X-Men, is still going strong. The series was successfully “rebooted” with 2011’s X-Men: First Class, and director Bryan Singer made his triumphant return with last year’s follow-up X-Men: Days of Future Past. That film not only combined the original cast with the newcomers, but also ended with a new, alternate timeline for the franchise going forward.

So where does it go from there? Production is currently underway on X-Men: Apocalypse with Singer once again at the helm, and as the time period shifts to the 1980s, young versions of other iconic mutants like Cyclops (Tye Sheridan) and Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) are being introduced. The entire cast, plus Singer and writer/producer Simon Kinberg, took the Hall H stage at Comic-Con today to show off the first footage (featuring a look at Apocalypse in full costume) and tease where we find the characters after the dramatic events of Days of Future Past.

Panel Highlights

  • x-men-apocalypse-concept-art-archangel-393x600The panel began with a sizzle reel celebrating the history of the franchise, showcasing the series proper (though unsurprisingly, The Last Stand was mostly left out). The most incredible part of the reel was footage not only of Hugh Jackman’s initial audition, but also the moment that director Bryan Singer literally offered him the role that would change his life—and this franchise—forever.
  • Following the reel, Jackman took the stage to discuss the footage, thank those involved in the series, intro the panel, and drop an Old Man Logan reference to how young he looked in the footage. “I know they killed off Wolverine in the comic books recently, but in the movies he’s still alive.” Jackman reiterated that he’s returning for one last Wolverine movie and debuted an image of the character holding up one claw—the middle one.
  • Jackman introduced Singer, who said he had never seen the footage of him offering the Wolverine role to Jackman before. Shortly after he gave him the role, Singer told the actor, “Whether the film sucks or not, you’ll be Wolverine forever.”
  • Singer then took over emcee duties to introduce his X-Men: Apocalypse
  • There weren’t enough seats for Jackman on the panel, so he sat on Jennifer Lawrence’s lap.
  • Before Jackman left, Singer pointed out to him that he’s been in every single X-Men movie…until Apocalypse. The filmmaker was insinuating that he wants Jackman to cameo, but that Jackman is reluctant.
  • Apocalypse takes place 10 years after DOFP in “a completely different world.” 1983 has now completely accepted mutants in this new timeline. “We also find our characters in very different places.”
  • How did it feel to have the bald head? McAvoy said he was relieved to finally get there, after anticipating the hair change since First Class.
  • Lawrence on 1983 Mystique: “I’m more Raven. She didn’t wanna be the face of a world that she felt didn’t exist.”
  • Michael Fassbender on where we find Magneto: “When we meet him in this film he’s more of a simple guy. He’s sort of living a normal life and has kind of hung up his cape and his evil ways, and that’s where we discover him.”
  • Oscar Isaac spoke about playing Apocalypse, saying, “This world that we have, it’s not the world that x-men-days-of-future-past-james-mcavoy-600x417should’ve been. God’s just been asleep, and God wakes up and realizes what’s happened and says ‘It’s gotta change.’” The character’s main power is the power of persuasion. Isaac likened him to a cult leader who exploits weakness.
  • When Nicholas Hoult was asked a question he said he couldn’t focus because, “I’m still psyched about that Deadpool”.
  • James McAvoy threw some humorous shade at Patrick Stewart saying he tries to do what Stewart does, “You know, but better.”
  • When it came time to talk to Olivia Munn, Hardwick noted it was crazy because he and Munn used to cover Comic-Con together and now she’s on a Hall H panel.
  • On this film’s incarnation of Angel, Ben Hardy said, “It’s like every angry, bitter thought I’ve ever had rolled into one person.”
  • The panel ended with Hardwick asking every cast member from X-Men, Deadpool, and Fantastic Four to take the stage at once for a group photo, at which point Stan Lee came up and offered to snap the picture. But who had a camera? Channing Tatum carrying Gambit’s cane, of course.

Footage

Singer stressed that the footage only reflected 5 weeks of shooting with no effects, but it looked fantastic. It opened with Turner’s Jean Grey having a vision of “the end of the world,” with McAvoy calming her at her bedside, very much evoking her mentor. Now that mutants are accepted, Rose Byrne’s Moira MacTaggert explains that some people have come to worship mutants as gods, which is where Apocalypse comes in. x-men-apocalypse-504x600Oscar Isaac’s titular character is, of course, the main villain, and the footage revealed him in heavy blue prosthetic makeup with a hood and some sort of prosthetic around his head. We see that he’s assembled a following of mutants, a posse that includes the young Storm, Jubilee, Angel, Olivia Munn’s Psylocke and Magneto. The question there is, which four are the horsemen of the Apocalypse?

Tonally the film seems to be in line with Days of Future Past, but the most exciting aspect of the film is that it reveals an entirely new and different world than we’ve seen in any other X-Men movie. The alliances and allegiances we’ve come to expect don’t necessarily line up the same way, and Apocalypse throws a serious wrench into things as he forces the X-Men—both young and old—to choose sides.

One of the most striking images we saw was Magneto flanked by Apocalypse, Psylocke and Storm, pulling Xavier by his chair in Xavier’s iconic hallway. Raven—who was at Xavier’s side—yells at Magneto to stop, and it then looks like she may be stepping into a leadership role in Xavier’s absence, as we subsequently saw her taking point in the Quinjet with Beast at the helm. The final frame of the footage was a bald McAvoy in the wheelchair, striking a pose that evoked Stewart/Professor X perfectly. Apocalypse seems like a culmination of something big, and I’m incredibly curious to see how the arcs of Raven, Xavier, and Erik progress. Given the new timeline, all bets are off.

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