Amid Empire's March issue X-travaganza are some of the most concrete clues to date about the shape that the next mutant movie, X-Men: Apocalypse, will take. Bryan Singer talked exclusively about a film that he terms "more of a First Class sequel" than a spin-off from the Days Of Future Past world he's about to unleash.
Apocalypse will take place after Days Of Future Past and call on Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, James McAvoy and co., but not, this time, the original cast.
"What happens in this movie brings about what'll happen in that movie," says Singer of the connective tissue between the two.
While that leaves plenty of scope for the First Class crew to battle Apocalypse any time from 1973 on, Singer disavowed two rumours doing the rounds: that the superbad will feature in a Days Of Future Past credits sting, and that it will arrive on Earth to possess Magneto. "That's not the case", he stressed, "and neither will that particular thing be in the film. People were concerned we were making Apocalypse an alien. It's odd. I don't know where that came from."
And what of that big bad? As our comprehensive guide to all things Apocalypse demonstrates, En Sabah Nur offers our mutant gang a different kind of challenge. For one thing, he's immortal. For another, he needs no food or water. He has shapeshifting molecules that can transform his limbs into weaponry at a tip of his big shiny evil head. Oh, and he can read minds. If you crossed Goliath, Satan and Inspector Gadget, this is what you'd end up with - only much, much worse.
"One thing that interests me is the notion of ancient mutants," explains Singer of the character. "What would people thousands of years ago, without the benefit of science, think mutants were? And more importantly, what would mutants thousands of years ago think they were? Gods? Titans? Angels? Demons? And if such mutants did exist thousands of years ago, what became of them? Did one survive?"
Is it all interesting enough to tempt the director back for his fourth X-Men outing? Singer hopes so. "I’m co-writing the story and I’m producing it”, he told EW earlier this month, "and I’m negotiating to direct. We’re in the process. We’re trying to figure it out, schedules. My desire would be to direct it.”
X-Men: Apocalypse hits our screens in 2016, while X-Men: Days Of Future Past arrives on May 22 this year. Pick up the new issue of Empire, on sale today, for some more fascinating Apocalypse storyline pointers from co-writer Simon Kinberg, and a whole world of other X-tidings, or click here to buy a copy right now.