Although not in the movie, Sir Patrick Stewart jokingly informed Bryan Singer that he would be willing to play Mystique, should Jennifer Lawrence "start playing up." He said: "I am so ready to be naked, painted blue, and the world is ready for it too."
(at around 43 mins) When Apocalypse arrives at Storm's home, the Star Trek episode Star Trek: Who Mourns for Adonais? (1967), whose story mirrors Apocalypse's own behavior, is playing on her television. In the episode, a powerful entity who was worshipped as a god on old Earth meets modern humans and throws a temper tantrum upon learning that they have no more use for old gods.
For the role of Charles Xavier, James McAvoy shaved his head. It was something he had wanted to do in the previous X-Men films.
The film was to be subtitled "Age of Apocalypse" after the comic of the same name, but this was changed to "Apocalypse" for a more ominous title, as well as to avoid comparison with Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014), and The Age of Adaline (2015).
Particularly with Psylocke, Nightcrawler, and Cyclops, the outfits and characters' looks were designed to pay homage to their comic book counterparts, differently from past films when the X-Men used standard black leather uniforms. Cyclops' costume is taken from Jim Lee's blue and yellow design in the 90s.
This is the first time that the Summers brothers, Scott Summers (Cyclops) and Alex Summers (Havoc), appear together in a live-action movie. In the comics, there was another brother, Gabriel Summers (Vulcan), but he has not appeared in any shows or movies, and the filmmakers decided two brothers in a film was enough.
Xavier's wheelchair in the teaser trailer is the same one Patrick Stewart used in X-Men (2000).
(at around 36 mins) Michael Fassbender improvised the "Is this what you want from me?" line.
In the comics, Mystique is the mother of Nightcrawler, and was forced to abandon him, though this is never acknowledged or hinted at in either this film or X2: X-Men United (2003). However, in an outtake, Jennifer Lawrence ad-libbed a line acknowledging Nightcrawler as her son by Azazel; this take is shown in the gag reel.
Bryan Singer has called this film "kind of a conclusion of six X-Men films, yet a potential rebirth of younger, newer characters" and the "true birth of the X-Men".
(at around 1h 2 mins) In the debris that Magneto first lifts up at Auschwitz, for one frame, you can clearly see the coin that he used to kill Sebastian Shaw in X-Men: First Class (2011). Visual Effects Supervisor John Dykstra had worked on that film, and during editing, he spotted the coin and yelled out "Hey, you got the coin - terrific - I love it!"
Bryan Singer chose Apocalypse as the antagonist to examine the origins of mutants on Earth: "It deals with ancient mutantism, the origins of the mutant state; or the origin of gods and religion. There's a mixture of ancient religion and cultism in the character of Apocalypse."
In the comics, the Age of Apocalypse affected the Marvel Universe immensely and resulted in the deaths of prominent characters such as Peter Parker (who never becomes Spider-Man), Namor, Clint Barton, Thor, Carol Danvers, Frank Castle, Victor von Doom, Susan Storm, Ben Grimm and many others. In contrast, Gwen Stacy, who famously dies in the main universe, is alive. The Age of Apocalypse is an alternate reality identified as "Earth-295".
Tom Hardy and Idris Elba were both considered for the role of Apocalypse, but that part went to Oscar Isaac instead.
According to Bryan Singer, Apocalypse's voice is a mixture of different sounds: "He's bearing the souls of many lives and many characters. He has contained within him many voices, all taken from various ranges and tones."
(at around 1h 2 mins) Apocalypse's quote, "Everything they built will fall! And from the ashes of their world, we'll build a better one!" is almost a direct quote of his from the animated series X-Men: The Animated Series (1992) ("From the ashes of this world, I will build a better one!").
(at around 53 mins) The song playing when Apocalyse finds Angel is by the heavy metal band Metallica. It's called "The Four Horsemen" from the 1983 album "Kill 'Em All".
This is Betsy Braddock a.k.a. Psylocke's first major appearance. She had a minor role in X-Men: The Last Stand (2006).
Originally, Apocalypse was to be a space entity, as in the comics, but Bryan Singer found the religious aspect of the character more interesting, and removed the space element from the film.
According to Simon Kinberg, Apocalypse is the darkest villain in the series: "He doesn't distinguish between mutants and humans like the other villains do, only between the weak and the strong. To him it's all just one giant screwed-up world that worships false idols and needs to be saved from itself. He is the God of the Old Testament: if there isn't the order and worship then I'll open up the Earth and swallow you whole!"
Writer Simon Kinberg has stated that he and Bryan Singer have talked about this film being the origin of the traditional X-Men team and hopes future films will follow this "next generation of X-Men characters" following on from X-Men: First Class (2011), X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014), and X-Men: Apocalypse.
Bryan Singer describes Apocalypse as a mutant acting as a god, saying: "Apocalypse's from an ancient time and doesn't understand he's a mutant. He thinks of himself as more of a god. He's a hard man to break, it's why he thinks he's God. And the big giant ego of the god is that the world lacks order and respect/devotion to him. It needs to be culled, it needs to be wiped away and rebuilt."
Storm is never referred to by name in the entire film, either as Storm or Ororo Munroe.
Despite the title, En Sabah Nur is never called Apocalypse throughout the movie. He is only referred to as Apocalyse in the trailer.
Apocalypse made his live-action debut in 2016, the 30th anniversary of his debut in the X-Men comics (May 1986).
For her role as Psylocke, Olivia Munn was advised by James McAvoy to practice sword-fighting: "I learned to use a regular sword with both hands, so I can switch in between a real sword and a CGI blade. It's more work for the special effects guys but it's pretty cool."
The visual effects experts deliberately styled Magneto's powers in this film on the loops of power a magnet gives off (lines of force, electrostatic induction) and supercell clouds (a thunderstorm/tornado hybrid): "it is based on real magnetism, but scaled up and tied to a weather event. As the metal is manipulated, it heats up and generates steam, which forms a vapor, which would collect around the loops. There is a layer of metal and attached concrete, then a layer of dust and debris, then more dust and vapor, and then the clouds."
Bryan Singer had turned down X-Men: The Last Stand (2006) to make Superman Returns (2006). This film uses concepts he had planned to use in The Last Stand.
(at around 2h 10 mins) This is the second X-Men movie to feature the Danger Room, after X-Men: The Last Stand (2006).
Kodi Smit-McPhee (Kurt Wagner/Nightcrawler) was originally set to play the young Logan/Wolverine in X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009), but stepped out of the role in order to film The Road (2009).
Despite having a small cameo at the end of X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014), Famke Janssen expressed her disappointment about not being asked to appear in this movie. She said she would have loved to appear alongside Sophie Turner in a scene with two Jean Greys.
(at around 18 mins) The book from which Professor X is teaching the class in the beginning of the movie is "The Once and Future King", which featured in the same context in the original X-Men (2000).
Elle Fanning, Chloë Grace Moretz, Hailee Steinfeld, Saoirse Ronan, Daisy Ridley, Lily Collins, and Margot Robbie were considered for the role of Jean Grey, before Sophie Turner was cast.
(at around 40 mins) It is revealed in the film that Moira MacTaggert has a son. This is a reference to her son in the comics, Kevin MacTaggert, who is the mutant Proteus. Previously, this was lightly mentioned in X2: X-Men United (2003), when his name is seen on William Stryker's computer.
Sophie Turner became interested in the role of Jean when she received an overwhelming response from a fan survey asking for their preferred choice to play the role as well as from her Twitter followers. She summarized her audition and casting process as 'three months of hell' - reading and waiting for next round of selection. Towards the end, before she was formally cast, she became more frustrated as she didn't receive a response from the producers. However, it turns out that the delay was due to her contractual obligations to her television show, Game of Thrones (2011), as Bryan Singer and the producers had to hammer out a proper shooting schedule with the show's producers.
This is the second film appearance for Nightcrawler since his debut in X2: X-Men United (2003).
Other members of the Four Horsemen in the comic, who are not members of the faction in this movie, are Wolverine and Caliban.
In the comics, Elisabeth Braddock a.k.a. Psylocke was born a British Caucasian who later permanently swapped bodies with a Japanese ninja named Kwannon. The actress portraying Psylocke, Olivia Munn, is of Eurasian descent, which combines both comic nationalities.
In the first three movies, Angel, Psylocke, and Jubilee are portrayed as younger than Cyclops, Jean, Storm, and Nightcrawler. However, Jubilee is being portrayed as the same age as the four, while Psylocke and Angel are now older.
The Egyptian procession contains 295,000 people, but was filmed with 25 actors, and the rest were visual effects.
(at around 1h 4 mins) Fans have gotten the in-joke from Jean Grey after watching Star Wars: Episode VI - Return of the Jedi (1983) in which she says the third movie is the weakest (in reference to the criticisms from the fans about X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)). However, the scene includes another in-joke. Before Jean remarking that the third movie is the weakest, Jubilee says that Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980) was the best. Bryan Singer reportedly said, in 2003, that he envisioned X2: X-Men United (2003) as the film series' The Empire Strikes Back. Fans agree that X2 is the best of the first three, with some saying it is the best entry in the entire franchise. In addition, this could be viewed as a self-deprecating swipe at this very movie itself, it being the third of the "First Class" trilogy (with the second film "Days of Future Past" generally considered the best of the three, again like "The Empire Strikes Back").
Olivia Munn had actually originally auditioned for the role of Vanessa in Deadpool (2016). But, the producers and Casting Director felt that she wasn't right for the role. They did, however, say that they would keep her mind, and hoped to work with her on a future X-Men movie. So, when casting began for X-Men: Apocalypse (2016). they remembered her, and brought her back in the audition for the role of Psylocke.
This is the first time in the franchise where Mystique's blue body is achieved by other means than applying extensive body paint and prosthetics.
In the comics, William Stryker is a religious fanatic and televangelist with a military past, and an unequivocal hatred of mutants. He committed hate crimes against mutants as a leader to his secret paramilitary group, the Purifiers. His comic book debut "God Loves, Man Kills" was a main inspiration for X2: X-Men United (2003). However, this was taken out of the films to avoid religious controversy. Instead, this film, as with X2, borrows elements from Henry Peter Gyrich (also a ruthless government official) and Professor André Thorton (the one in charge of the Weapon X project in the comics).
(at around 9 mins) Scott's powers manifesting in a bathroom was something Bryan Singer wanted for X2: X-Men United (2003), but for budgetary and scheduling reasons the scene never came to fruition. A bathroom set was constructed for X2, but it was re-purposed for the scene in which Mystique seduces the prison guard.
(at around 59 mins) Apocalypse's line "Come and see" when he collects Magneto is a reference to the Revelation 6:7: "And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see! And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth."
(at around 2h 10 mins) When the pan of Quicksilver's leg cast is shown, you can see Bryan Singer's signature on the cast.
Quicksilver (Evan Peters) would appear to be a fan of the Canadian rock band Rush. He can be seen wearing a Rush T shirt and there is a poster of the band's album 'Moving Pictures' clearly displayed on his wall early in the film. On his leg cast, it prominently says "I Love Rush".
This is the first film to feature all of the major "blue" mutants - Mystique, Beast, and Nightcrawler all have major roles in the film. However, Dr. Hank McCoy a.k.a. Beast does appear outside of his blue form in X2: X-Men United (2003).
The trailer for the film attracted controversy from the Indian government for it using the name of the Indian deity Krishna as an assumed identity of a mutant villain. The final theatrical cut removes the Krishna reference, and replaced it with godlike figures from other cultures.
In the movie, Havok is the older brother of Cyclops. In the mainstream comics, Cyclops is older than Havok. In the Ultimate X-Men comics, he was sometimes referred as the older brother.
(at around 5 mins) Apocalypse's original horsemen had different powers: War had super strength, Famine had pyrokinesis, Pestilence had telekinesis (like Psylocke), and Death can create energy fields.
During an interview with Graham Norton, Jennifer Lawrence described her blue outfit as "Mystique" to be so constricting and skin-tight that she had to urinate through a funnel while standing upright.
(at around 1h 16 mins) The dog seen at the Xavier School is Bryan Singer's pet Tauntaun, named after a creature from Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980).
Third lowest grossing X-Men film, domestically, as of February 2017. However, it's the second highest earner worldwide. The first being X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014).
This is Jubilation Lee/Jubilee's first major appearance, after appearing in Generation X (1996) and having minor roles in the first three X-Men films.
To prepare for her role as Jean Grey, Sophie Turner studied Famke Janssen's performance as Grey in the previous X-Men films.
Amber Stevens West and Zendaya were considered for the role of Storm, before Alexandra Shipp was cast.
The jacket Nightcrawler is wearing is like the one worn by Michael Jackson in Michael Jackson: Thriller (1983).
Bryan Singer wished to deliberately raise the level of graphic violence and gore in this film. The visual effects experts at Digital Domain complied with this concept, but thought the Egypt assassination attempt may have been too much.
(at around 59 mins) For the wide shot of Auschwitz seen from above, the visual effects experts used reference material from the BBC documentary Auschwitz: The Nazis & the 'Final Solution' (2005).
(at around 40 mins) In X2: X-Men United (2003), there is a scene where Mystique is looking at Stryker's computer files. There is a list of mutant names, including a few we will see in later films. However, there is one name that might grab your attention: Kevin MacTaggert (aka: Proteus). This is the mutant son of Moira MacTaggert, played by Rose Byrne in X-Men: First Class (2011) and "X-Men: Apocalypse", as Professor X's (James McAvoy) love interest. There is a picture of Kevin in Moira's office at the CIA, and when the Professor sees the photo, he asks incredulously, "You have a son?!" Moira was married and had Kevin with her (villain) husband, Joe MacTaggert, who hated mutants. Since neither are mutants, the gene must be recessive.
Dazzler was planned to make an appearance in the movie, according to writer Simon Kinberg. However, she is not in the final film.
(at around 5 mins) Visual Effects Supervisor Lou Pecora based the Egyptian guards' burning on methyl cellulose: "When the guards are thrown against the wall, it stretches out, and yet it is contained so as it stretched out you can see the skeleton and the liquefied organs through it."
(at around 3 mins) The unnamed mutant into whom Apocalypse transfers at the beginning of the film is the seventh mutant in the film franchise with accelerated healing abilities. Wolverine, X2/Laura, Lady Deathstrike, Sabretooth, Deadpool, and Viper are six others.
Lana Condor describes her role of Jubilee as a timepiece: "If you've seen my costume, like I'm straight out of the '80s, like they literally took me out. You'll never really forget that you're in the '80s."
Timothée Chalamet, Ben Hardy, Charlie Rowe, Taron Egerton, Logan Lerman, Josh Hutcherson, Dylan O'Brien, Jesse Plemons, and Jamie Blackley were considered for the role of Scott Summers a.k.a. Cyclops, before Tye Sheridan was cast. Ben Hardy would later be cast in the role of Angel.
This is Ben Hardy's feature film debut. He previously starred in the British soap opera EastEnders (1985) for two years.
Sophie Turner shares similarities with her predecessor Famke Janssen: Neither are natural redheads (Turner is blonde and Janssen is brunette). Both are European (Turner is British and Janssen is Dutch). Both are an inch taller than their co-stars playing Cyclops; Tye Sheridan is 5'8", while Turner is 5'9", and James Marsden is 5'10", while Janssen is 5'11". Both are older than their co-stars playing Cyclops; Turner is nine months older than Tye Sheriden, and Janssen is nine years older than James Marsden.
Oscar Isaac is the third Star Wars actor or actress to work on an X-Men film, after Ray Park, who played Toad in X-Men (2000) and Darth Maul in Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999), and Rose Byrne, who played the handmaiden Dormé in Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones (2002). Daisy Ridley was also in talks of playing Jean Grey before the role went to Sophie Turner.
(at around 37 mins) The song playing on the radio as Apocalypse makes his way through the market in Egypt is an Arabic version of the A Flock of Seagulls' hit "I Ran".
Sophie Turner is the second Game of Thrones (2011) cast member to join the X-Men franchise, with Peter Dinklage being the first.
(at around 18 mins) In the first scene with Charles Xavier, he is reading to his class: "...doomed to break forth bloodily, then the past must be obliterated and a new start made." And, "Let us now start fresh without remembrance, rather than live forward and backward at the same time." These are quotes from T.H. White's 'The Once and Future King', and are implied references to the previous X-Men movie, X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) and that Wolverine was living in both the past and present at the same time. Skip back to X2: X-Men United (2003) and you see Magneto reading "The Once and Future King" in his cell.
The anchor from X-Men: First Class (2011) is visible in one of the magnetic tentacles when the jet carrying the X-Men first enters Cairo.
In the comics, Betsy Braddock a.k.a. Psylocke is the twin sister of Captain Britain.
Kodi Smit-McPhee wore a prosthetic tail as Nightcrawler. However, the tail is CGI when Nightcrawler wraps it around Angel in a fight.
(at around 1h 4 mins) Up the Academy (1980) is playing at the mall in this film, even though it is set in 1983, and UTA was released in 1980. It is an inside joke, because Oliver in UTA was played by sixteen year old actor J. Hutchison. J. Hutchison is now known as Hutch Parker, and is a 20th Century Fox executive. He was one of the producers of this film, and its inclusion at the movie theater, is a nod to Hutch and his influence on the X-Men franchise.
(at around 1h 12 mins) During the missile launching scene, one of the men uses the call sign "Polaris". Polaris (Lorna Dane) is a mutant who has electromagnetic control and magnetic field generation, and who is also Magneto's daughter.
The film came out on May 25, birthday of Sir Ian McKellen, who first portrayed Magneto on-screen.
Sophie Turner, a natural blonde, didn't have her hair dyed red for the movie, because her hair was dyed red for Game of Thrones (2011)). Both, Sansa Stark and Jean Grey are redheads.
Bryan Singer compared this film to Game of Thrones (2011), saying: "It's a younger generation finding their powers and finding out who they are and their place in the world. They don't even know if that's the right goal. Everyone's miserable, but they want to get that power."
(at around 2h 10 mins) In X-Men (2000) in the glass room scene at the end, Magneto tells Professor Xavier that "People will come for you and your children, what do you do when you wake up to that". The Professor tells Magneto "I'll feel a great swell of pity for the poor soul who comes to my school looking for trouble." This is almost the exact same line told by the younger Professor to Magneto at the end of this film.
Tuesday Knight launched a failed campaign via social media, in an attempt to be cast as the mutant Dazzler.
Fourth Marvel movie to feature a Star Wars reference, after Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014), Deadpool (2016), and Captain America: Civil War (2016). This is not including the right-hand references.
Marks the shortest gap between the release of two X-Men films, being released just three months after Deadpool (2016). While not an official X-Men movie, it takes place in the same universe, references the cast of the X-Men films, and features two X-Men (Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead) as supporting characters.
Michael Fassbender (Magneto) and Kodi Smit-McPhee (Nightcrawler) are enemies in this film. Fassbender and Smit-McPhee had previously worked together on Slow West (2015), where they played allies.
(at around 8 mins) Ally Sheedy appears as Scott Summers' teacher in 1983, the same year that Ally Sheedy starred in WarGames (1983). In this film, the screens of the United States military command, are very reminiscent of the screens in NORAD seen in WarGames.
(at around 1h 4 mins) The film features the younger X-Men discussing Star Wars. This film not only contains "Star Wars" actors Rose Byrne and Oscar Isaac, but was released on the 39th anniversary of Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope (1977).
Ben Hardy is the second actor with the first name Ben to portray Angel in the franchise, the first one being Ben Foster in X-Men: The Last Stand (2006).
Out of the three movies, this is the film that Michael Fassbender (Magneto) has the least amount of lines.
It was revealed that Carter Jenkins and Kaya Scodelario were cast as Northstar and Aurora which turned out to be an April's Fool Day joke.
(at around 17 mins) The "Scott Summers and Jean Grey" romance is hinted at when he bumps into her, knocking her books out of her hands.
Nightcrawler and Cyclops' heights are almost opposite heights to their comic counterparts. Kodi Smit-McPhee is 6'1" tall, while his character Nightcrawler is 5'9". Tye Sheridan is 5'8" tall, while his character Cyclops is 6'2". Ironically, Alan Cumming and James Marsden, who played the older Nightcrawler, and older Cyclops in the original timeline, are both 5'10" tall.
(at around 1h 15 mins) Second Oscar Isaac movie to have "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)". The first, Sucker Punch (2011), features a cover version.
Sophie Turner has blue eyes, while Famke Janssen, who plays the grown up version of Jean Grey, has dark brown eyes.
Stan Lee: (at around 1h 12 mins) creator of the X-Men, appears as a civilian during the missile launch sequence. This is Lee's fourth cameo in an X-Men film, and he appears with his now deceased wife Joan Lee.
John Ottman: (at around 1h 12 mins) Composer and Editor on the X-Men films, appears as a soldier during the missile launch sequence.