Which mutants will survive the biggest installment yet in the superhero franchise?
The end is near. Over the course of six films, the X-Men have seen their share of intimidating opponents. But nothing has really prepared them (or audience members) for X-Men: Apocalypse, opening May 27 and the subject of four interconnected EW covers. The arrival of grumpy ancient mutant Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac) and his plan of worldwide destruction both rips apart and unites the X-Men, including young Jean Grey (Sophie Turner), Cyclops (Tye Sheridan), and Storm (Alexandra Shipp). “It’s kind of a conclusion of six films — X-Men 1, 2, 3, as well as First Class and Days of Future Past — and yet a potential rebirth of younger, newer characters,” says director Bryan Singer. “Even my father, who’s 85, called me and said, ‘Is this the last one?’ I said, ‘Well, it’s not going to be the last X-Men, I can promise you that, Dad.’ But it does have a kind of conclusive aspect to it.”
That feeling is compounded by the fact that the deals for the four leads — Jennifer Lawrence (Raven/Mystique), James McAvoy (Charles), Michael Fassbender (Erik/Magneto), and Nicholas Hoult (Hank/Beast) — expire with Apocalypse and no one is certain who, if anyone, will be returning for another round of mutant merriment. “Even if this is the last one for me or for other people, you just are sort of grateful for the experience,” McAvoy says. “I know I can speak for a lot of the other guys as well that it’s been a really positive experience for us professionally and socially and personally.” While the three men all say they are more than willing to come back, Lawrence is the holdout. And she vacillates a lot on this subject — even mid-sentence. “I would love to come back,” says Lawrence, who shot to superstardom after First Class, The Hunger Games, and her Oscar win for Silver Linings Playbook. She has many options, in other words, and they tug at her. “You realize how important your year is, like how important three months out of your year is,” she says. “I don’t know.” Pause. “I shouldn’t be that honest.”
GALLERY: Exclusive Look at X-Men: Apocalypse
The producers thought long and hard about hiring the younger group of actors, knowing these faces will be the future of the franchise. “We needed those kids to be as compelling on screen as Jennifer Lawrence and Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy and Oscar Isaac, and that’s a tall order,” says writer-producer Simon Kinberg. “We did feel a lot of pressure to find a young cast that can live up to that caliber of acting.” To that end, most of the newbies like Game of Thrones’ Turner, Sheridan — who has been hired as the lead in Steven Spielberg’s Ready Player One — and Shipp are signed to at least two more films.
For more on X-Men: Apocalypse, pick up the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly, on stands Friday, or buy one – or all four collectible covers – now at ew.com/xmen. And don’t forget to subscribe for exclusive interviews and photos, only in EW.