"Only the strong will survive."
The first trailer for 20th Century Fox's "X-Men Apocalypse" was released Friday, 24 hours after a teaser poster featuring that ominous tagline appeared online.
The movie is set in 1983, a decade after the events of "X-Men: Days of Future Past." Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac), a 5,000-year-old Egyptian mutant, awakens from his tomb and recruits Magneto (Michael Fassbender), Psylocke (Olivia Munn), Storm (Alexandra Shipp) and Angel (Ben Hardy) to assist in bringing another mutant into the fold: Professor Charles Xavier (James McAvoy).
Why would he seek out Professor X, a known good guy? And why is Apocalypse hell-bent on destroying a world he barely knows? "It's a chaotic world of conflict and war and destruction. It's one giant civilization that now requires one giant culling," director Bryan Singer explained in Entertainment Weekly's July 24 issue. "That's why he needs special assistants in this process."
"Ever since the world found out about mutants there have been secret societies who see them as some kind of second coming or sign of God," Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne) tells Charles and Havok (Lucas Till) in the trailer. "They believe that tens of thousands of years ago, an ancient being was born, the world's first [mutant]. Wherever this being was, he always had four followers he would imbue with power."
"Like the four horsemen of the Apocalypse," Havok says. "He got that one from the Bible." In all seriousness, Moira replies, "Or the Bible got it from him."
With the ability to control any mutant, Apocalypse poses a major threat. "I've been called many things over many lifetimes: Ra, Krishna, Yahweh," he says in the trailer. "You are all my children and you're lost because you follow blind leaders, but I am here now. I am here for you."
Apocalypse may turn out to be the biggest baddie of the X-Men movie franchise, which started in 2000. "He's believed to be the first mutant, whatever that means," Isaac told Entertainment Weekly. "He is the creative-slash-destructive force of this earth. When things start to go awry, or when things seem like they're not moving toward evolution, he destroys those civilizations."
That may be an understatement. "The last battle is going to be pretty insane," said Isaac, who also stars as Poe Dameron in "Star Wars: The Force Awakens." "I mean, it's like freaking Apocalypse fight all of the X-Men. It's pretty cool."
Before that battle takes place, though, Apocalypse must plan his attack. As he's doing just that, Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) is singlehandedly rescuing mutants who have been oppressed or enslaved, like Nightcrawler (Kodi Smitt-McPhee). Apocalypse and Magneto's alliance leads to a reunion between Mystique and Professor X, and because they share the same goal, Mystique also teams up with his students, including Jean Grey (Sophie Turner), Cyclops (Tye Sheridan) and Jubilee (Lana Condor).
Turner and Sheridan replace Famke Janssen and James Marsden, who originated the roles of Jean Grey and Cyclops in 2000's "X-Men." Janssen and Marsden returned in 2003's "X2," 2006's "X-Men: The Last Stand" and 2014's "X-Men: Days of Future Past." The fifth film in the series raked in $750 million worldwide, becoming the franchise's highest-grossing installment to date, so the pressure was on to deliver with "X-Men: Apocalypse."
"The problem with 'Days of Future Past' is it's hard to sequelize," writer-producer Simon Kinberg told Entertainment Weekly. "Whenever we talked about the sequel, the challenge was that it needed to feel not necessarily bigger visually, but the stakes needed to feel bigger." The film feels bigger in part due to its large cast, which also includes Nicholas Hoult as Beast, Evan Peters as Quicksilver and Josh Helman as William Stryker.
"X-Men: Apocalypse" hits theaters on May 27, 2016, in 3D and 2D.