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Producer-screenwriter Simon Kinberg, who has an iron in the fire with each of Fox’s superhero properties, spoke about the change in tone for Apocalypse with MTV News. He said,:
I think Days of Future Past, with time travel and the Sentinels, took us into a slightly broader, more science fiction world than the films had occupied in the past. We felt like the movies were ready for something that was slightly more, let’s say, cosmic. Once we made the decision for Apocalypse to be the villain at the center of the movie, we wanted to be true to the comics, which are sort of, like you, say, not costume, but it’s not just a guy in a helmet. It is more cosmic.
Apocalypse, a.k.a. En Sabah Nur, is played by Oscar Isaac in the film. We got our first look at the big guy at San Diego Comic-Con, followed by that Entertainment Weekly cover. It’s interesting that Kinberg used the word "cosmic" multiple times in describing this film. In the comics, Apocalypse grew up in ancient Egypt, where he came across alien technology. He fused with the machinery, granting him immeasurable power and prolonging his life, virtually, indefinitely. This character could be the franchise’s link to the cosmic realm of the X-Men.
This is the new trend in superhero movies. DC already went off world with Man of Steel, while Disney’s Marvel brought us Guardians of the Galaxy. Fox’s Fantastic Four took us to Planet Zero (based on the Negative Zone from the comics), and now it's the X-Men’s turn. Though Fox still has Deadpool (which has its R rating going for it), Gambit, and New Mutants coming down the pipeline, it’s becoming harder to step outside the box with this property and show fans something they haven’t seen before. Some of the most iconic storylines have already been handled, including The Dark Phoenix and Days of Future Past, so what’s really left to excite the fans — other than a co-financial partnership with Disney, much as Sony did for Spider-Man?
The future of the X-Men franchise after Apocalypse still seems cloudy, by En Sabah Bur’s inclusion could mean great things to come. At the very least, Kinberg said, "there will be interplay between different characters in different movies," which means Gambit and Deadpool could cross over with the core films down the line.