The first trailer for X-Men: Apocalypse has arrived, and director Bryan Singer has helpfully broken down some of its epic highlights.
Singer -- behind the camera for his fourth X-Men film and first since 2014's X-Men: Days of Future Past -- spoke with Empire in conjunction with the trailer's debut this morning. The movie is set 10 years after Days of Future Past, in 1983, and follows the rise of En Sabah Nur/Apocalypse, an ancient, incredibly powerful mutant (Oscar Isaac), whose presence has been foretold for centuries and who has a plan to wipe humanity of the face of the Earth.
When Erik Lensherr/Magneto (Michael Fassbender) and others become acolytes of Apocalypse, it's up to Professor Xavier (James McAvoy), Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), Beast (Nicholas Hoult) and younger mutants like Jean Grey (Sophie Turner), Cyclops (Tye Sheridan), Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee) and Havok (Lucas Till) to defend the human race and not launch a full-scale war of mutants against mutants.
Although it's been hinted at in X-Men: First Class and Days of Future Past, Singer said that this movie is really about how the mutants under Xavier's tutelage become the superhero team we know and love:
“This movie is about the formation of the X-Men. How do you get all these characters who are in different places in their lives to become the X-Men? That’s the challenge of the movie."
Singer spoke about the impact that Apocalypse has on Magneto:
“He’s found Erik at the most vulnerable place in his life. He’s searching for God. Remember, he was a young Jew in a concentration camp when he first lost his family and now here comes this man who was, is, or claims to be God. The power of persuasion is Apocalypse’s greatest power… [Erik’s] one of the most pivotal characters. Fassbender really delivers here in non-traditional comic book style. There are scenes here you will not see in any other comic book movie. I really think Erik goes through one of the most complex journeys in the movie."
The director also touched on the fact that we see Apocalypse grow to a much larger size in one shot from the trailer:
“It’s part of the mythology of Apocalypse’s size, but I couldn’t go full Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man where he’s just Giant Apocalypse, swatting at things. I did something a little interesting in how I addressed the size thing, but I think the audience will get a kick out of it."
And where does Quicksilver (Evan Peters) fit into all this? The X-Men movies' version of the speed-enhanced mutant had the most talked-about scene in Days of Future Past, and Singer says they've gone to the next level this time around:
“There’s one sequence that took one and a half months to shoot for three minutes of film. It involves the most complex camera moves, very sophisticated explosive algorithms, 3D Phantom cameras travelling at 50mph while shooting at 3,100 frames per second. Evan worked more days on this movie than any other actor because of this one sequence."
Singer also revealed that while Jubilee (Lana Candor) is in the movie -- and glimpsed briefly in the trailer -- her role is "not particularly large." And of course he remarked on that final shot of a bald Professor X:
“I wanted to remind the audience that this isn’t just the climax of three movies. It’s the climax of six movies, beginning with X-Men 1."
He added a bit of trivia about the good professor's wheelchair:
"It’s the original chair from the first movie -- we bought it from a collector."
It's been reported for a while that some of the actors' contracts -- like those of Fassbender and Lawrence -- are coming to an end with this film, and it's unclear at this point who is willing to return and who isn't (we're thinking JLaw is one of the latter). So X-Men: Apocalypse will serve as a conclusion of some sort, while also bringing the series full circle. Where it goes from there is anyone's guess. X-Men: Apocalypse opens in theaters on May 27, 2016.