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X-Men’s Post-Credits Apocalypse Scene Explained

Who’s that guy with the gray skin and blue lines on his face telekinetically building pyramids in the desert?

20th Century Fox

Because movie advertisements are front loaded, Marvel Comics’ post-credit scenes are the only place to see literal movie “trailers” in this cinematic age. X-Men: Days of Future Past ends with a glimpse of the next installment in the series, 2016’s X-Men: Apocalypse.

Set in ancient Egypt, the featurette introduces the mutant Apocalypse, En Sabah Nur, the first one, and pays tribute to the Terry Kavanagh and Adam Pollina 1996 series, Rise of Apocalypse. Created by acclaimed comic book writer and editor Louise Simonson and introduced in 1986’s X-Factor #5, En Sabah Nur is a mutant of unimaginable power. In several versions of the X-Men’s future, Apocalypse has successfully conquered the world and ushered in an age of chaos, strife, and unimaginable suffering. Days of Future Past shows a crowd chanting the first one’s name, as the mutant who will become Apocalypse telekinetically builds pyramids in the desert. Behind the cloaked figure, stand the villain’s ever present generals, the four hoursmen: Death, Famine, War, and Pestilence.

As demonstrated in the end-credit sequence, Apocalypse is telekinetic and can use that power down to the molecular level. In Rise of Apocalypse, those powers are indicated from birth when En Sabah Nur is born with gray skin and blue lines on his face and abandoned for his freakish appearance. Although several comics feature Apocalypse close to death, the character has made himself semi-immortal through a combination of regenerative healing abilities and technopathy. En Sabah Nur not only has existed throughout history, but also fits in almost any time period the X-Men film series may one day visit. The character has, at various times, battled Vlad the Impaler and attempted to assassinate Queen Victoria.

The Four Horsemen are a rotating cast of characters, with the allegorical titles applied to the character inhabiting the role. At various times, those positions have been filled by Angel, the Hulk, and even Wolverine, who became the Horseman Death after having his adamantium skeleton forcibly removed by Magneto. In recent interviews, Hugh Jackman said the next X-Men and Wolverine 3 may be his last appearances as the character, so some of that story could appear on the big screen, although, no details have been announced. More recently, Jackman has said he might reconsider telling IGN, “after seeing this movie, the whole thing feels fresher to me than ever.” The movies are shooting back to back with X-Men: Apocalypse scheduled for release May 27, 2016 and Wolverine 3 March 3, 2017.

So far, 20th Century Fox has not announced casting choices for Apocalypse or any of the four horsemen. One of the most famous horsemen was last seen in the widely panned X-Men: The Last Stand, Warren Worthington III, otherwise known as Angel. In X-Factor #18, Apocalypse recruits the former hero in exchange for metal wings to replace his amputated real ones. A web promotion for X-Men: Days of Future Past indicated that the character had been killed by a Sentinel in 2011. However, interviews with X-Men: Apocalypse writer Simon Kinberg has said the next film will take place in the 1980s, so the character could very well return.