If you’re familiar with the X-Men comics, you might have a good idea what’s going on in the post-credits scene after X-Men: Days of Future Past. If you’re not, you’ll probably react like most of the people in my theater, with a resounding “Wha?”
(Spoilers ahead, obviously.)
If you haven’t seen the movie or didn’t stick around, here’s what it shows. The camera starts in a desert and closes in on a hooded figure standing on a giant sand dune, facing away from us. Crowds of hundreds bow to him below, chanting “En Sabah Nur.” As he raises his hands a giant pyramid begins to assemble in the air overhead. The camera pans around the figure to reveal his pale face and blue lips, as well as four horsemen standing on a hill in the distance. (I couldn’t quite make out the actor during his brief appearance, but he strongly resembles Aaron Taylor-Johnson, which could be a little confusing: Taylor-Johnson already appeared playing Quicksilver in Captain America: Winter Soldier’s post-credits teaser for the next Avengers.)
Here’s what it means. “En Sabah Nur” is the Egyptian name of one of X-Men fans’ favorite villains, Apocalypse. In the comics, Apocalypse grew up in ancient Egypt and has grey skin and blue lips. Typically, he is accompanied by four horsemen, loosely modeled after the Biblical Four Horseman of the Apocalypse. Once you know that the sequel to Days of Future Past is titled X-Men: Apocalypse, it doesn’t seem hard to put two and two together.
We don’t know much about X-Men: Apocalypse, but Days of Future Past director Bryan Singer (who will return to the sequel) has said that it is “somewhat” based on the Age of Apocalypse storyline. It will also feature the younger cast (James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult) of First Class. Singer added, to Entertainment Weekly:
Apocalypse deals with ancient mutancy. What would humans have thought mutants were? What would mutants think humans were? You’re dealing with gods and things like that. And what if one survived and what if that found its way into our world?
X-Men: Apocalypse is due out in 2016.