Now that "X-Men: Days of Future Past" is a certified hit, it's officially time to look forward to 2016, and the impending sequel "X-Men: Apocalypse."
There are certain things we've extrapolated based on the plot of the currently in theaters movie (including who Apocalypse is, and what the end might mean for Hugh Jackman's Wolverine). But there are also certain things we know as certifiable fact.
Here's everything we know for sure about "X-Men: Apocalypse."
It's Coming Out In Two Years
Barring unforeseeable acts of mutant powers, the movie will hit theaters on May 27, 2016. It's always possible a release date that far off could shift, and we don't know anything about the production schedule: if filming doesn't start soon, who knows if they can turn it around in time? But as of this very moment, the next "X-Men" movie will land in two years, to the day.
We Know Who Is Writing (But Not Who Is Directing)
The movie is being written by a few "X-Men" movie regulars: Michael Dougherty, Dan Harris, Simon Kinberg and Bryan Singer. The big question mark, though, is whether Singer will return to direct. He's gotten great reviews for heading back to the helm of the franchise with "Days of Future Past," and certainly indicated he'd be interested in directing the next one. But due to certain, er, circumstances, that may not be a possibility.
The most logical second choice for the big chair would be Dougherty, who previously wrote "X-Men 2," and "Superman Returns" with Singer, and is an accomplished director in his own right. He helmed the cult classic "Trick 'r Treat," and will do the same for the sequel (to be released next year).
That all said, according to Kinberg, who is godfathering the movies and making the press rounds, Singer should be back directing. "That is the plan," Kinberg said.
Regardless of who ends up directing, given the compressed time schedule we imagine an announcement will be due shortly.
Both Casts Will Return
After the surprising ending of "Days of Future Past," it seemed like we had put a final pin in the original "X-Men" actors' time on screen. Not so, according to Kinberg. When asked who would appear in "Apocalypse," Kinberg said, "It will focus primarily on the 'First Class' cast, but it will certainly have some of the original cast involved, too."
That synchs up with what Patrick Stewart told us on April 18, when the actor teased he might be up for returning for "Apocalypse."
"There might be something else," Stewart said on coming back for the franchise. "A little bird has whispered that there might be something 'X-Men' related."
So does that mean "Apocalypse" will be another time traveling epic, ala "Days of Future Past?" Since we're sticking to the facts here, we'll just say we don't know. But look to the next section for a slight bit of fact-based speculation.
It's Set In The '80s
Singer has confirmed that the next movie will continue the series slow march through the decades by being set in the 1980s. So what does that mean, exactly, for the movie timeline?
Well, towards the end of "Days of Future Past," Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) gives Professor X (James McAvoy) a very simple directive: he asks him to find the original X-Men, Scott (James Marsden), Storm (Halle Berry) and Jean (Famke Janssen) and bring them together.
So whether that happens between movies, or is the plot of "Apocalypse," it's entirely possible we could see the original actors (or some) reprising their roles. We'll ignore the fact that they'd be playing themselves 20 years younger than they were in the first "X-Men," almost 20 years after they filmed the first "X-Men," because nobody ages in Hollywood.
It's A Disaster!
We've heard from both Singer and Kinberg that "Apocalypse," true to its name, can be described as a disaster movie, with the biggest global scale of any of the "X-Men" movies. Kinberg recently described it as, "Roland Emmerich style moviemaking," which certainly makes it sound like not the smallest character piece ever.
The Darkest Timeline
Lest you think things will lighten up after stopping the Sentinels from destroying the world, think again. Kinberg has called Apocalypse the "darkest leader" in the history of the franchise, and promised that he'll convert some of the good X-Men over to his side.
That's all while destroying the world, by the way.
The Final Gambit
No, sorry, we don't know if Channing Tatum will play Gambit in the movie, though the role is his if the character does appear.
What do you want to know about "Apocalypse?" Let us know in the comments below.