Like the trailer for Captain America: Civil War, the first trailer for X-Men: Apocalypse has a whole lot to unpack, from new characters to Oscar Isaac’s ungodly villain and his four horsemen, and yes, the bald-ification of James McAvoy’s Professor X. To help you digest all of this, director Bryan Singer has offered a breakdown of some of the bigger happenings in the new sequel.

In an extensive interview with Empire, Singer followed in the footsteps of Civil War directing duo Joe and Anthony Russo by explaining several key elements of the trailer for X-Men: Apocalypse. Speaking of which, here’s Singer’s thoughts on the team’s most formidable opponent yet, who looks much more menacing than he did in those early, silly photos:

What is a God? Why would someone create and rule over a race simply to be worshipped? It bears no respect or devotion to him – that’s the big giant ego of the old God. All of it lacks symmetry, order and devotion to him. It needs to be culled. It needs to be wiped away and rebuilt again. [In the trailer] I like that you just see bits and pieces [of him]. It forces you to look at not just his face, but his costume, the scale, the strangeness, the inscription, the technology. It makes you want to lean around the corner to get a better look. That was a picture [regarding the criticisms of the first photo]. He’s a very powerful and imposing character and Oscar acts the shit out of it.

As for some of the other new faces, Singer says Sophie Turner’s Jean Grey has a “special connection with Xavier, she has a special connection with the psychic world and she has enormous untapped power that’s growing,” while Alexandra Shipp’s Storm makes for an easy target for Apocalypse because she’s “looking for a mother and a father and the village she lost.”

We also caught a glimpse of Lana Condor, who makes her X-Men universe debut as Jubilee, a character who hasn’t exactly been popular with fans in the past. Singer says that she almost didn’t make the final cut because “her role is not particularly large, but she is a part of the growing new universe,” so while we won’t see much of her in Apocalypse, the door is open for her to return in future sequels / spinoffs.

But what of Professor X’s longtime friend and nemesis, Erik Lehnsherr, aka Magneto? Last we saw of Michael Fassbender’s Magneto, he helped the X-Men crew talk Mystique out of causing a new world war. But X-Men: Apocalypse finds him saddling up as one of the titular baddie’s four horsemen, alongside Storm, Psylocke and Archangel. Says Singer:

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.

Like Oscar Isaac’s Apocalypse, Evan Peters’ Quicksilver was hugely mocked when Fox released the first photos of his character in Days of Future Past, but the speedy hero easily had the best sequence of the entire film. Peters previously revealed that Quicksilver would have another awesome sequence in the new sequel, which Singer confirms:

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 is apparently working on securing the rights to a “very cool ’80s pop song” to accompany that scene, and we can’t wait to see it.

X-Men: Apocalypse hits theaters on May 27, 2016.


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