In the proud tradition of comic book movies before it, X-Men: Days of Future Past had a post-credits stinger scene. If you’re not a fan of the comics though, I can’t imagine that it made much sense. You probably guessed that it’s teasing an upcoming movie in the series, but if you’d like to know what was really going on, read on.
X-Men Spoilers Follow
The scene opens with a desert, panning over the sands to a crowd of thousands of people worshipping a hooded figure. In the background, we see massive levitating blocks coming together to form one of Egypt’s iconic pyramids.
The camera then moves to reveal the face of the hooded figure. He’s thin, with incredibly pale skin and blue lips. Over his shoulder we see four mounted riders in the distance.
This guy is Apocalypse, the namesake of the upcoming X-Men: Apocalypse.
In the comics, he’s one of the X-Men’s most powerful foes; an ancient, super-powered, force of nature whose powers include immortality, superhuman strength, teleportation, and the ability to manipulate his own body’s molecular structure.
He’s existed since the time of ancient Egypt, and considers himself to be the first “Homo sapien superior,” or mutant. He also happens to be a maniacal and power-hungry warlord, and has been responsible for the rise and fall of many civilizations throughout history.
Way into the future, Apocalypse has conquered the world, and a mutant named Cable travels back in time to stop him. In this storyline we’re introduced to Apocalypse’s Four Horsemen, a group of his most powerful mutant minions. The four guys on horses in Days of Future Past are likely a reference to this.
Director Bryan Singer has stated that the upcoming film will be loosely based on Age of Apocalypse, which features an alternate timeline where Professor Xavier is murdered before he forms the X-Men. This leads to a future where Apocalypse was able to conquer the world hundreds of years early. Magneto leads a resistance movement against Apocalypse’s regime, while attempting to rectify the time traveling that led to this alternate future.
It’s unlikely that Singer and crew will reuse time travel as the central plot point so soon after Days of Future Past, but Age of Apocalypse definitely has a lot of interesting material for them to draw inspiration from.
That comic book storyline, like most depictions of the character, feature Apocalypse as a hulking, muscle-bound monstrosity. In the post-credits stinger though, he’s almost wispy, definitely nowhere near the physique we’ve traditionally seen used for the character.
It’s likely then that the scene depicts an Apocalypse early on in his life, before he really came into his powers.
“What would people thousands of years ago … think mutants were?” Bryan Singer asked in an Empire Magazine interview. “And more importantly what would mutants thousands of years ago think they were? Gods? Titans? Angels? Demons?”
That’s pretty much the vibe I got from the Days of Future Past stinger.
In any case, Apocalypse is a really interesting direction to take the franchise. If nothing else, after five films of Magneto vs the X-Men, it’ll be a pretty refreshing change of pace.