At 20th Century Fox’s Hall H panel at Comic-Con International: San Diego, the studio showed off a new trailer for X-Men: Apocalypse. While the footage has not yet been officially released online, in presented our first look at both the villain Apocalypse and what appear to be his Four Horsemen as they stormed the Xavier institute.
Those Horsemen include some interesting choices. They are Magneto, Storm, Psylocke, and Angel.
Angel, or presumably Archangel, is the most obvious choice, since the character’s history has been inextricably tied to Apocalypse since the villain transformed him in the 1980s. His role as a Horseman seemed to be a given from the moment he was confirmed as appearing in the film.
During “The Dark Angel Saga” that ran in the pages of Uncanny X-Force, Archangel ascended as the new Apocalypse in the wake of En Sabah Nur’s death. Psylocke, his longtime girlfriend, was then transformed into the new Horseman of Death. It didn’t stick – she was transformed back within the next issue or two – but its precedent, and perhaps we’ll see that long, tragic romance between Betsy and Warren explored as well.
At first, Storm seems like an odd choice as a Horseman, but it makes sense with some creative editing of her history. In the comics, Professor X’s first encounter with Ororo Munroe is when she is a young pickpocket in Cairo, working for a master named Amahl Farouk. Farouk is revealed to be the incredibly powerful psychic entity called the Shadow Lord, and he and Xavier battle on the astral plane.
Storm’s inclusion as a Horsemen then seems to take that same origin story and tweak it a bit to suit the film’s narrative. Instead of being in the service of the Shadow King, she’s in the service of Apocalypse. She’s a little older, probably has a bit more agency, and the battle will likely be a bit more physical, but the pieces still fit in a pretty similar way.
The most interesting choice has to be Magneto. Putting Magneto in the role of Horseman avoids the common superhero movie problem of too many villains by simply making him a part of Apocalypse’s plans. There’s an interesting character arc opportunity as well. For most of his history, Magneto has walked the line between hero and villain. Apocalypse, on the other hand, has always been pure evil. It will likely be up to Magneto, probably with a bit of help from his old friend Charles, to see this contrast for himself and to come to realize what makes him and his mission for mutants different than Apocalypse and his goals for domination.
This also seems to dunk one theory, that Mystique would bring Wolverine to Apocalypse to be turned into a Horseman. With Hugh Jackman ready to call it quits after the next solo Wolverine movie, it’s possible that the end of Days of Future Past is the last we’ll see of Wolverine in the core X-Men movies for now, with audiences left to assume he follows the same path as was laid out in X2: X-Men United, leading him to a government program that gives him an adamantium skeleton and wipes his memories.
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