The first trailer for X-Men: Apocalypse arrived online today, and in a sea of superhero and comic book adaptations, it’s kind of neat to see the eighth film in this franchise arriving with the same director that started it all: Bryan Singer. Indeed, along with Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man, the first X-Men is responsible for setting the tone for the superhero-heavy world we’re living in today. Both of those films showed that you could make a comic book movie that was actually about something and not just guys running around in suits, punching things.
With Apocalypse, Singer follows up his return to the franchise X-Men: Days of Future Past by moving the action 10 years in the future—1983, to be precise. Our core First Class characters of Charles (James McAvoy), Erik (Michael Fassbender), and Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) are scattered to the wind, but they’re forced together once more when the centuries-old mutant Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac) arrives with some world-ending plans. The movie will serve to somewhat conclude the story arcs set up in First Class while also introducing young versions of mutants like Jean Grey (Sophie Turner), Cyclops (Tye Sheridan), and Storm (Alexandra Shipp), and we certainly got a great look at characters both new and old with the debut trailer.
Now that the first footage is online (check out 40 images from the trailer here), Singer spoke with Empire to break down some of the more intriguing aspects of the film. The filmmaker confirms that while we see a shot of Lana Candor in the trailer as Jubilee, the character’s role is “not particularly large” in the film, so don’t go expecting a ton of Jubilee. We will see a lot of Erik, however, and Apocalypse has a great deal of influence on him:
“He’s found Erik at the most vulnerable place in his life. He’s searching for God. Remember, he was a young Jew in a concentration camp when he first lost his family and now here comes this man who was, is, or claims to be God. The power of persuasion is Apocalypse’s greatest power… [Erik’s] one of the most pivotal characters. Fassbender really delivers here in non-traditional comic book style. There are scenes here you will not see in any other comic book movie. I really think Erik goes through one of the most complex journeys in the movie.”
And while there will be plenty of effects and destruction, Singer says at its heart, X-Men: Apocalypse is really about the honest-to-goodness formation of the titular team:
“This movie is about the formation of the X-Men. How do you get all these characters who are in different places in their lives to become the X-Men? That’s the challenge of the movie.”
To battle Apocalypse, the X-Men are gonna need a team. As we see in this trailer, the character grows in size, but Singer says he’s put a twist on this particular element from the comics:
“It’s part of the mythology of Apocalypse’s size, but I couldn’t go full Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man where he’s just Giant Apocalypse, swatting at things,” laughs Singer. “I did something a little interesting in how I addressed the size thing, but I think the audience will get a kick out of it.”
Maybe the most exciting moment of the trailer is getting a glimpse at the new Quicksilver sequence, seeing as how Evan Peters’ scene was the highlight of Days of Future Past. For Apocalypse, Singer and Co. upped the ante considerably:
“There’s one sequence that took one and a half months to shoot for three minutes of film. It involves the most complex camera moves, very sophisticated explosive algorithms, 3D Phantom cameras travelling at 50mph while shooting at 3,100 frames per second. Evan worked more days on this movie than any other actor because of this one sequence.”
And as for the trailer’s final shot, of a (finally) shaved James McAvoy as Professor X? That was meant to invoke the history of the X-Men franchise as a whole:
“I wanted to remind the audience that this isn’t just the climax of three movies. It’s the climax of six movies, beginning with X-Men 1.” To that end, take a look at Xavier’s wheelchair here. “It’s the original chair from the first movie – we bought it from a collector.”
X-Men: Apocalypse is ambitious to be sure, with plenty of moving parts, but I’m very much looking forward to seeing how the arcs of Charles, Erik, Raven, and Hank come to some semblance of a conclusion. Guess we’ll find out when X-Men: Apocalypse opens in theaters on May 27, 2016.