Sharp-eyed viewers who stuck around for X-Men Apocalypse‘s post-credits scene got a big hint about this, but now the movie’s commentary has confirmed what’s been suspected. Nathaniel Essex, the villain otherwise known as Mr. Sinister, will be the next Wolverine movie’s big bad. Very likely, he’ll be played by Richard E. Grant, who signed on for an unnamed “mad scientist” role earlier this year. Since we saw agents of an “Essex Corp” collect blood samples in the ruins of Weapon X, we have a very significant puzzle piece now to guess at the plot of Hugh Jackman’s final jaunt as Woverine.
First things first, though–who exactly is this X-villain?
Essex is nearly immortal–one of the first beings Apocalypse “remade.” He was an arrogant, unscrupulous geneticist in Victorian England who believed Charles Darwin’s theories didn’t go far enough. Foreseeing the emergence of mutants by several decades, he employed a gang of “Marauders” and had them routinely round up beggars for experiments. After Apocalypse transforms him–granting him a variety of powers from shape-shifting to telekinesis–he chooses the name “Sinister,” because his wife refers to him as such on her deathbed.
As a servant of Apocalypse, Sinister gains much greater domain for his genetic research, being obsessed with manipulating bloodlines to produce powerful mutants. During World War II, he assumes a human identity and continues his experiments in collusion with the Nazis. His interest is less about ushering mutant supremacy, however, and more of a morbid tinkerer’s curiosity. Indeed, he observes Cyclops and Phoneix from their births and, through arch manipulation, orchestrates the birth of their son, Deadpool’s pal Cable, who’s destined to one day defeat Apocalypse. Oh, the irony.
Interestingly, aspects of Sinister’s character were already folded into First Class‘ version of Sebastian Shaw (what with him conducting cruel camp experiments to force a young Magneto’s mutant potential). The fact that he’ll be showing up in Wolverine 3 while a solo Gambit movie floats on schedule suggests Sinister might be a multi-picture villain, too. A key portion of Gambit’s tragic back-story sees the card-carrying hero unwittingly help Sinister’s Marauders massacre a population of pitiful Morlocks.
Back to the blood samples, though. Given Sinister’s specialty in cloning, and that Jackman’s pointedly hanging up his mantle with this next movie, it’s quite likely storylines will be combined so Essex creates Wolverine’s clone/daughter, X-23. And if that were to happen, it could actually make for several interesting twists in later films, especially if the next X-Men flick continues the rebooted timeline by showing the team in the 90s. Not only has X-23 taken up the “Wolverine” identity, at times, she’s also romanced a young Cyclops. Oh, the intrigue.
See what we’re saying? Just one little aside in a bonus feature, but it carries profound implications for the future of the mutant movieverse. Sinister may be the X-Men’s most chilling cinematic villain yet.
Is Sinister a worthy final foe for Wolverine? Which other X-villains should show up? Drop your thoughts in the talkback.
Image Credits: Marvel