Superhero season kicked off this month with the release of Batman v Superman. The floodgates are now open for 2016! May alone has two big superhero titles hitting cineplexes: Captain America: Civil War and X-Men: Apocalypse. The former has been hitting the hype button hard, but now the latter is stepping into the ring. But why settle for boring old commercials and trailers when you could have a vintage documentary instead?
With In the Footsteps of En Sabah Nur, Fox invites the audience into the world of X-Men: Apocalypse, complete with 1980s commercials for educational programming. Remember that? When TLC stood for “The Learning Channel”?
To promote their “documentary,” Fox released a partial timeline of catastrophes credited to Apocalypse and his followers. Some highlights!
• Apocalypse first appeared in Egypt in 3100 B.C. to help found the first dynasty that unified Upper and Lower Egypt. As Apocalypse is seen building the Great Pyramid of Giza in the post-credits scene of Days of Future Past, his reign lasted until at least 2500 B.C.
• Around 1450 B.C., Apocalypse and his cult of followers – Clan Akkaba – wiped out the Minoan culture for refusing to recognize Apocalypse as their lord and master. As this was the same time period Hatshepsut was upending the rules of Egyptian gender norms, I”d like to think Apocalypse was just giving her a wide berth, rather than looking for greener pastures. Annnnd, now I want Hatshepsut to be a mutant.
• On August 24, 79 A.D., Apocalypse wiped Pompeii off the map by causing Vesuvius to explode. Supposedly he was disgusted by their “sins,” and wanted them punished. However, if that were his real motivations, he probably wouldn”t have done it when most of the city had vacated for repairs due to a previous earthquake.
The timeline ends with the fall of the Mayan Empire between 800-900A.D. though it is not clear with Apocalypse is responsible.
One of the most fun things about historical fiction is fitting the new mythology in with real world events. The marketing department for X-Men: Apocalypse could go as deep into the lore as they want. If the Sphinx really is from a proto-Egyptian culture, did Apocalypse build it? How did he feel about Akhenaten”s move to monotheism? When the New Kingdom transitioned into a period of decline, did Apocalypse assist Egypt”s enemies or was the Third Intermediate Period merely a side-effect of the world”s first mutant losing interest in his first project? So many questions! Now if only Fox had plans to make that documentary beyond that commercial.
X-Men: Apocalypse arrives in theaters on May 27, 2016.