Warning: This post will include spoilers for X-Men: Apocalypse. You may want to read it after you’ve seen the film.
One of these most talked-about scenes in X-Men: Apocalypse is a pretty violent sequence involving Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine brutally escaping from the mysterious facility run by Col. William Stryker where he’s being kept, unknowingly assisting mutants like Jean Grey and Cyclops who’ve snuck onto the base in an effort to save their friends.
Of course X-Men fans are well aware of the facility and of Stryker’s (Josh Helman, reprising his role from X-Men: Days of Future Past) importance when it comes to the creation of Wolverine. When Fandango sat down for an extended conversation with Apocalypse director Bryan Singer, we talked about this sequence, why it’s in the movie and what its inclusion teases when it comes to the next Wolverine movie.
Singer tells us that Hugh Jackman was initially “very skeptical” when it came to reprising the Wolverine role, but added that the actor was sold after Singer pitched a version of Wolverine he hasn’t played yet.
“I said to Hugh, ‘It’s Wolverine as you’ve never seen him before,'” Singer says. “‘Completely vacant, Weapon X, a pure killing machine. There’s no emotion, there’s nothing… until that moment you connect with Jean.'”
When we last left Wolverine, he was being pulled out of the water at the end of Days of Future Past by what appeared to be William Stryker, only it was actually Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) in disguise. Singer says that scene was more of a setup for the evolution of Mystique’s character, and not for the Wolverine moment in Apocalypse.
“That was setting up the notion that she’d gone on a path of saving mutants, but she’s doing it on a quiet, disguised, individual basis,” Singer says. “So her picking up Wolverine out of the water at the end [of Days of Future Past] was a precursor to where her character ends up, entering that fight club in East Berlin in X-Men: Apocalypse.”
And that fight-club scene in Apocalypse is very reminiscent of the fight-club scene in the first X-Men movie. In fact, Singer explains that the entire Wolverine sequence was a nod to his first two X-Men movies, not to mention a way to connect all six movies.
Pictured: A scene from X2, where Wolverine approaches the facility he escapes from in X-Men: Apocalypse
“For me, the scene in the movie was more of an homage to connect the six films — to connect us with X-Men 1 and that origin,” Singer explains. “Even though X-Men 2 was a more expensive and refined movie where I had more time to do the things I really wanted to do, I have a special place in my heart for X-Men 1. It’s the story of two lonely people who don’t quite know who or what they are who meet on a snowy road in Canada and find themselves in each other’s arms in the torch of the Statue of Liberty, saving each other and saving part of the world. That intimate story is so sweet to me. [So that scene] was a big nod to the first two X-Men movies.”
Another nod involving Wolverine was saved for the end of the credits, where — spoiler warning — a man with a briefcase labeled “Essex Corp.” enters the facility as they clean up Wolvy’s mess and pockets some of that Weapon X DNA. In the comics, Essex Corp. is run by a guy named Nathan Essex, who, as the villain Mister Sinister, experimented on and manipulated mutants for his own selfish and nefarious reasons.
Singer confirms that this scene “gives a little wink to the next Wolverine picture,” though he stops short of saying whether Mister Sinister will play a big role in it.
For more on Fandango’s extensive chat with director Bryan Singer, see below: