Simon Kinberg Talks APOCALYPSE, GAMBIT, And Altered Timelines In The X-MEN Universe


x-menX-Men: Days of Future Past is currently burning up the box office and delighting even the toughest of critics. Bryan Singer’s inbetweequel even made fans love Evan Peters Quicksilver after all the initial internet backlash all those months ago (though most everyone still agrees his costume is ridiculous). The film cleaned up a lot of problems in the X-Men universe, but it also left fans asking a lot of questions about the timeline and what may or may not happen next. That end credits teaser also had the non-hardcore fans wondering what the heck just happened as well. Writer Simon Kinberg has been out and about making the press rounds answering some of those questions and offering teasers for the others.

If you stayed during the credits, you saw a little blue-skinned boy being worshiped by some ancient Egyptians while he built the great pyramids just by waving his hands. There were four horsemen sitting off in the distance as well. That little scene got a lot of X-Men fans excited since they knew what was being teased, but the general audience was very confused. Kinberg spoke with The Daily Beast about the teaser and what he hoped to do with it:

At some point in making the movie we talked about what the potential next film would be, and we all really gravitated towards Apocalypse. We really wanted it to be more for the core fans than for the broad audience; to be something that was a genuine tease, and almost mysterious to mainstream audiences who don’t know the comics well, so they’re thinking, “What’s that?”

apocalypseMission accomplished on that front. I don’t know about you, but there was a lot of discussion going on in the theater after that scene. A handful of folks knew what was being teased and were explaining it to their less enlightened friends. Then there were those groups that had no clue what it meant. But no matter who understood what, Apocalypse is coming. Kingberg spoke with MoviePilot.Com about how he and Singer are working to bring the X-Men‘s biggest, baddest, and most powerful villain to life. The writer explained that the mutant will be a formidable force, but they’re going with a slightly more human-like approach than we may be used to seeing:

What the comics do best and I think Bryan’s done so well with these movies is humanizing, dramatizing the characters. It’s really been about how do we give him [Apocalypse], most importantly, a very human and relatable motivation so that as extreme and insane as his methods are, there is something, you know, understandable, almost empathetic about his motivation. Some of that is in the books, some of that is us building on that. You know, fully dimensionalizing the character, but it is a huge part of the task of adapting the story of Apocalypse. It is making him, while larger than life also down to a human, emotional scale.
We’re definitely approaching him as a super charismatic leader that will draw people to his cause. So far, in the X-Men movies, there really are two leaders. You know, there’s Eric/Magneto and what he did with the Brotherhood and Charles/Professor Xavier and what he did with the X-Men. Apocalypse does present a new leader, the darkest leader in the movie franchise.

While Apocalypse may have a more human-like approach and character focus, it will have epic levels of destruction we’ve never seen in an X-Men movie before. Kinberg has said previously that the movie will have Roland Emmerich-like levels of mayhem during an ‘extinction level‘ event. The writer explained that it’s “a larger story than even Days of Future Past. In Days of Future Past, they’re trying to stop something that’s not extinction level in the moment, although it could be one day. There’s not an immediacy in the plot and this is a plot that actually has extinction level stakes and is even more global than anything we’ve ever seen before.

Like Days of Future Past, Apocalypse will focus primarily on the First Class cast, though Kinberg teased that it will “certainly have some of the original cast involved, too.” We’ve already heard that Storm, Cyclops, Jean Grey, Nightcrawler, and Gambit will likely have meaty roles in the film tentatively planned to be set in the 1980s.

Gambit featureSpeaking of Gambit, we’ve been hearing a lot the last few weeks how Channing Tatum is all but officially signed on to play the ragin’ Cajun in Apocalypse. The actor will make his debut there and then most likely go on to do his own solo movie. Gambit is a big fan-favorite character, but he hasn’t really been represented on screen in all his glory. In the aforementioned interview with The Daily Beast, Kinberg talks about the character and theorizes why he may have been left out of the original trilogy:

Gambit is still in-motion and being figured out. Channing made it known that it was a character that he loved and would love to play, and all the people who work on the X-Men movies are huge fans of his, so the notion of him playing it is exciting. I’m more fascinated by anti-heroes, and Gambit is one of those. I don’t know why he wasn’t explored in the original X-Men movies. Maybe the reason why was because they wanted to focus on Rogue/Bobby or the platonic Rogue/Wolverine relationship, and maybe there were too many similarities between Wolverine and Gambit, so in order to make it a Wolverine-centric franchise they had to cut him loose.

Finally, the end of Days of Future Past left many fans wondering what the movie timeline looks like now. Singer, producer Lauren Shuler Donner, and Kinberg have all said in one way or another that X-Men Origins: Wolverine and X-3 are no longer canon, but fans are still wondering how some events went down now that Wolverine has changed everything after 1973. Speaking with Collider, the writer gave us a small hint but says that we’ll just have to wait a little while to see the real answer:

The end of Days of Future Past in 1973 does change the timeline of the established film universe.  But one of the things we posit in the film is the immutability of time.  So what you see at the end is a future that has been shifted but not completely transformed.  Our characters are back in the mansion, as we saw them in X1-3, with some obvious changes (like certain characters being alive).  So the answer is yes and no.  Yes it changes the timeline.  No it doesn’t completely erase everything…Hopefully the X movies to come will help define that for audiences. Our next film, X-Men: Apocalypse, will fill in more of the timeline between Days of Future Past and X1.

Big changes are going on in the X-Men universe and a lot more movies are on the way. It’s a good time to be a comic book fan. Days of Future Past set a lot of things in motion, but it sounds like Apocalypse will be the movie that really gets the rejuvenated X-franchise going. Gambit may be the first out of the gate, but Deadpool and X-Force may not be too far behind. What did you think of Days of Future Past? Are you ready for everything that comes next?

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