The events featured in Bryan Singer’s X-Men: Days of Future Past changed the continuity of the franchise permanently. With the exception of X-Men: First Class, all of the other movies featured events that no longer actually happened within the current timeline, and so the door is open to make some massive changes. As it turns out, however, this isn’t actually the way the writing team behind X-Men: Apocalypse has been thinking, as one of those writers recently explained to me that what the sequel is really serving to do is just get a glimpse at characters like Jean Grey, Cyclops and Storm at periods in their lives we’ve haven’t yet seen.

Earlier this week I hopped on the phone with writer/director Michael Dougherty – who wrote X2: X-Men United in addition to co-writing X-Men: Apocalypse, and during the conversation I took the opportunity to ask about the future of the aforementioned trio as it relates to the original X-Men trilogy. Because the future is no longer fixed, does that mean that there is opportunity to radically change who they are and who they become? Apparently not, as the filmmaker explained:
I think they aren’t changing as much as you’re getting a peek into a portion of their lives you’ve simply never seen on the big screen. By the time you meet that trio at the beginning of X1 through X3, they are exactly who you think they should be. Cyclops is the leader. Jean Grey is a confident woman, but is struggling with her powers, and Storm is this enigmatic weather goddess. But we’ve never seen the characters at the earlier stages in their lives, at this very sort of raw and not yet formed period.

After I followed up by asking for some clarification, Dougherty confirmed that the creative team still sees the original X-Men trilogy as the characters whom the younger versions (played by Sophie Turner, Tye Sheridan and Alexandra Shipp) eventually become. Said the writer,
We all know where it is that they need to head, and we all know the characters they become, so this is really sort of showing us how they got there.

Not much has been officially said about the portrayals of Jean Grey, Cyclops and Storm in X-Men: Apocalypse, though we did pick up some details from the footage that was shown at San Diego Comic-Con earlier this past summer. Specifically, we know that Jean Grey has visions of the horror that is set to come with the arrival of the titular villain (Oscar Isaac), and that Storm winds up becoming a member of the antagonist’s personal guard (also known as the Four Horsemen). Cyclops does admittedly remain a bit of a mystery, but hopefully the movie finds a way to redeem the less than stellar adaptations that we’ve seen of the fan-favorite character in the past.

X-Men: Apocalypse will be in theaters on May 27, 2016.

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