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- NOTE: This article is about the incarnation of Apocalypse from the X-Men film series. The mainstream version can be found here: Apocalypse (Marvel).
|“||Always the same, and now all this. No more stones. No more spears. No more slings. No more swords. No more weapons! No more systems! NO MORE! No more superpowers… So much faith in their tools, in their machines. You can fire your arrows from the Tower of Babel, but you can NEVER... STRIKE.... GOD!!||„|
|~ Apocalypse while launching the world's nuclear arsenal into space.|
|“||My child, why do you enslave yourself?||„|
|~ Apocalypse to Storm.|
En Sabah Nur, otherwise known as Apocalypse, is one of the two overarching antagonists (alongside Sebastian Shaw) of the X-Men film series, serving as the overaching antagonist of the 2014 superhero film X-Men: Days of Future Past and the titular main antagonist of the 2016 superhero film X-Men: Apocalypse.
He is the world's first and most powerful mutant who was born prior to 3,600 B.C. in Ancient Egypt, where he was worshipped as a god. He possessed various mutant abilities that made him seemingly invincible. Apocalypse would always select four powerful mutants to serve him as his Four Horsemen. Upon awakening in the modern world in 1983, Apocalypse lived under the belief that mankind needed to be eradicated. Apocalypse recruited Storm, Psylocke, Archangel, and Magneto to serve as his Horsemen. His plot was ultimately foiled during the Battle in Cairo and he was killed by Jean. He is the arch-nemesis of Thiago and X-Men.
|“||Ever since the world found out about mutants in '73, there have been cults who see them as some kind of second coming or sign of God. I was tracking one of them. They're calling themselves "Ashir En Sabah Nur", named after an ancient being they believe to be the world's first mutant. That's the common theory, yes, but these guys believe that the first mutant was born thousands of years ago and they believe he will rise again. They've been searching ancient sites all around the world for clues. These hieroglyphs describe the specific set of powers greater than any man can possess. Yes and no. They believe that he had the ability to transfer his consciousness from body to body and whenever he was close to death, he would just take on a new body. Some of these made with the bodies of mutants, enabling him to take their powers amassing various abilities over the years. (Alex: "An all-powerful mutant?")
Exactly. And wherever this being was, he always had four principle followers, disciples, protectors he would imbue with powers. They called him Apocalypse. (Alex: "Like the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. He got that one from the Bible.")
Or the Bible got it from him? And wherever he ruled, eventually, it would end in disaster, cataclysm, some kind of.... Apocalypse."
|~ Moira McTaggert to Charles Xavier and Havok about Apocalypse.|
He was born as En Sabah Nur in Akaba, ancient Egypt prior to 3,600 B.C (and possibly tens of thousands of years earlier according to the beliefs of a cult known as Ashir En Sabah Nur that worshipped him). Later, he was described as a god because of his various superhuman abilities and powers he observed from other mutants after killing them throughout the millennium. In his youth, he created the great Pyramids of Giza. Then, he assumed the alias "Apocalypse", because he was considered by many to be the world's most powerful mutant and was unable to be defeated or kill. Due to his great power, many established secret societies following his existence. Apocalypse, in the modern world claimed to have been worshipped by several ancient civilizations over his many lives, being called Elohim, Shen, and Ra among other names. He was also believed to have aided in the creation or the destruction of various early human civilizations.
After becoming a godlike figure, he founded a group of his own four henchmen, in ancient times he led a first group of his four minions and called it the "Four Horsemen", as was named from the Bible.
Moira MacTaggert's research puts it as if he lived some millennia before the incident where he went missing: while performing a transferal of his mind and soul to the body of a mutant with a healing factor, a few of his worshipers betrayed him and set for the destruction of his pyramid. The Four Horsemen ensured Apocalypse survived the ordeal even after the monument collapsed, killing the four Horsemen while keeping En Sabah Nur entombed for millennia.
|“||You are all my children, and you're lost because you follow blind leaders. These false gods, systems of the weak, they've ruined my world. No more!||„|
Following the 1973 incidents that revealed mutantkind to the world, a group of Egyptians whom are the modern day remnants of the cult Ashir En Sabah Nur discovered his resting place in Cairo. As Moira investigated them in 1983, she saw En Sabah Nur awaken at the ruins, killing the cultists.
Recruiting New Horsemen
En Sabah Nur decided to explore the modern day world, and while roaming Cairo, he sees street thief Ororo Munroe use her weather control powers to steal food. The shopkeepers go threaten Ororo, being interrupted by the intervention of Apocalypse. After miscommunication due to En Sabah Nur speaking outdated dialects, he eventually kills the men chasing Ororo by using sand to punch through the sides of their necks and literally melting the last into a wall.
Ororo takes En Sabah Nur to her house. Once he sees a television, touching it enables Apocalypse's powers to connect to all broadcasts in the world, making him learn modern languages and how mankind evolved the previous millennia. Believing that without his presence, humanity has grown weaker, he decides to destroy it in order to rebuild society from his point of view. He enhances Ororo's powers to turn her into the first of the new Horsemen.
Apocalypse and Storm then go to Berlin seeking Caliban, a mutant broker who knows the location of other Homo superior. Caliban refuses to concede information without getting paid and draws a gun on En Sabah Nur, who proceeds to use his powers to disintegrate it. Caliban's enforcer Psylocke then extends a sword and her psi-katana upon Apocalypse to protect her boss. Impressed, En Sabah Nur goes on to enhance Psylocke and turn her into a Horseman, and she replies by taking her to a powerful mutant. Angel, a former cage fighter who went into drunk depression after injuring his wings fighting Nightcrawler, becomes the third Horseman as Apocalypse replaces his wings with metal ones, renaming him "Archangel", "my Angel of Death".
|“||"Who are you?"
"Elohim, Pushan, Ra - I've been called many names over many lifetimes. I am born of death. I was there to spark and fan the flame of man's awakening, to spin the wheel of civilization. And when the forest would grow rank and needed clearing for new growth, I was there to set it ablaze."
"Where were you when my father and mother were slaughtered in this place?"
"Asleep. Trapped in darkness. I wasn't there for you, my son, but i am here now. You don't know your own strength, but i do. Reach down. Feel the metal in the ground. Reach as deep as you can. You'll find you have the power to move the very Earth itself. EVERYTHING THEY'VE BUILD WILL FALL!..AND FROM THE ASHES OF THEIR WORLD. WE'LL BUILT A BETTER ONE!
|~ Apocalypse recruiting Magneto and his most famous line.|
After recruiting the trio, Apocalypse arrives together with them to a steel plant factory in Poland, where Erik Lehnsherr, also known as "Magneto", wants to kill his former coworkers for causing the death of his wife and daughter. Apocalypse kills the workers by fusing them to the ground, and teleports with Magneto to Auschwitz Concentration Camp, where Erik had seen his powers awaken 40 years prior. After some encouragement from En Sabah Nur, who tells Erik that Earth's magnetic field and ground metals can be exploited by Magneto's powers, Erik proceeds to destroy the ruins, and promptly agrees to join forces with the ancient mutant (who further enhances Erik's already immense mutant powers), becoming his fourth and final Horseman of the Apocalypse.
Demolition of the X Mansion
As Apocalypse gathers his Four Horsemen and gives them special armor, Erik is contacted telepathically by Charles Xavier through Cerebro. En Sabah Nur notices the communication and uses his powers to take over Xavier's mind, and by extension Cerebro. Apocalypse forces the world's military forces to launch Earth's entire nuclear arsenal into space so it cannot be used against him. After Havok destroys Cerebro with his powers, Apocalypse and the Horsemen teleport to the X-Mansion to kidnap Xavier. Havok's attempt at attacking Apocalypse ends hitting a generator and causes a massive explosion that destroys the mansion, with everyone inside other than Havok only surviving due to Quicksilver's intervention.
The Final Battle at Cairo
Xavier is brought by En Sabah Nur to Cairo, and forced to broadcast a threatening message to all the human race on the behalf of Apocalypse. Without En Sabah Nur knowing, Xavier also revealed his location in a hidden telepathic message to his student Jean Grey.
En Sabah Nur destroyed most of Cairo to rebuild his pyramid, and ordered Magneto to stand outside it using his powers to control Earth's magnetic poles, causing widespread destruction across the planet and mass casualties. Meanwhile, inside the pyramid En Sabah Nur would transfer his consciousness to Xavier's body, as the telepath's powers would allow him to "be everywhere, be everyone".
The X-Men arrive during the process, and Nightcrawler interrupts the transferal by teleporting Xavier out of the pyramid, but not before Professor X loses his hair. As Apocalypse steps outside the pyramid, he witnesses Angel defeated and is repeatedly punched in the face by Quicksilver, who uses his super speed to not be noticed, until En Sabah Nur catches on and traps one of the speedster's feet to the ground. As Psylocke comes closer, he requests for her to execute Peter. Instead she strikes En Sabah Nur on the neck, and seeing it is not his Horseman, he proceeds to attack and strangle the mutant, revealed as a disguised Mystique.
Final Moments and Death
|“||All is revealed!||„|
|~ Apocalypse's last words before Jean Grey (as the Phoenix) destroys him.|
He orders Xavier to reveal his location, and the telepath goes on to attack Apocalypse at the Astral Plane. En Sabah Nur finds Xavier's hideout, but his attempt at getting there is interrupted by two Horsemen switching sides: Storm, who idolized Mystique, and Magneto, who did not like seeing his former friends attacked.
While the X-Men fight Apocalypse, Jean ventures into the astral plane and learns from Xavier that Apocalypse is weakened after centuries in the same body. Jean and Magneto join forces and dismantle Apocalypse's armor, with Jean tapping into the Phoenix Force. Once En Sabah Nur's frail true form is exposed, Magneto pierces him with a tremendous torrent of high-speed metal projectiles, after which Phoenix incinerates him, finally ending the threat of Apocalypse.
En Sabah Nur is being described as a godlike mutant, because he is the world's first mutant who was born. Sabah Nur is an absolutely genocidal psychopath, who has no sympathy to the weaker people; humanity which he wants to exterminate. He thinks that the world is chaotic because it is shared on nations and only he can correct it by uniting it under his absolute rule.
Powers and Abilities
- Power Absorption: En Sabah Nur usually selects other mutants to be his new host every time he transfers his mind and soul. By doing this, he retains all of his previous powers, in addition to gaining the new host's abilities as well, by having their powers fused into his essence. Due to his collection of superhuman abilities, Professor Charles Xavier has described him as an all-powerful mutant.
- Telepathy: En Sabah Nur can shield minds from telepathy, detect psychic communications, and seemingly control a telepath through an active telepathic signal. His mind is more powerful than even a high level telepath like Xavier but he lacks his full range of ability.
- Telekinesis: En Sabah Nur is able to move and levitate anything with his mind.
- Shielding: En Sabah Nur is able to generate a shield around him to defend himself against all forms of attack.
- Levitation: En Sabah Nur has the ability to levitate himself off the ground.
- Molecular Manipulation: En Sabah Nur is able to manipulate all forms of molecules, allowing him to transmute matter and disintegrate objects.
- Technopathy: Sometimes when En Sabah Nur uses his powers, electrical appliances nearby will begin to malfunction. When he touched a television screen to learn of the modern world's languages and history, the machine emitted several bursts of static.
- Accelerated Healing: En Sabah Nur gained the ability of instantaneous healing through his new host body. When Mystique slit his throat, he regenerated within a few moments.
- Longevity: This ability makes En Sabah Nur immortal, as once his body ages and grows weak, he is able to move into a younger and more powerful body. However, he gained a nigh-instant healing ability, which has kept him alive & sustained for centuries.
- Mutant Enhancement: En Sabah Nur can access and enhance other mutant's x-genes so as to augment their powers and abilities to the maximum degree.
- Teleportation: En Sabah Nur can teleport himself and various individuals to anywhere he chooses, by creating a bubble of purple energy around himself.
- Accelerated Perception: En Sabah Nur can amplify his vision to track even a super speeding object like Quicksilver and counterattack.
- Essence Transference Ritual: Through a special mystical ritual, En Sabah Nur is able to transfer his mind and soul into another host. He does this using a mystical pyramid. The sunlight acts like a power source, powering its functions.
- Armor of Apocalypse: He wears a highly advanced suit, which acts like an exoskeleton, giving him superhuman physical abilities.
- Superhuman Strength: Due to this armor, En Sabah Nur possesses superhuman strength, that allows him to lift most objects with ease. He was able to crush Quicksilver's leg with a slight kick and break his arm with a small twist.
- Superhuman Durability: Due to his armor, he gained a massive increase in durability. However, The Phoenix was able to disintegrate his armor.
- Knowledge Absorption: Apocalypse was able to learn vast amounts of information inhumanly quickly. After awakening from his long slumber, he extracted data from the media network, gaining an understanding of the modern world, and learning to speak fluently in English, all in a matter of seconds. When using this ability, it seemingly causes the network system to act haywire, as the television began randomly showing various channels.
- Essence Transference: Apocalypse is able to transfer his body from one host to another, abandoning one when it has aged or when he wishes to gain another ability. This process allows him to live indefinitely. He is able keep all the abilities he has gained up to that point and gain whatever powers are in the body he is taking over and make them a new and permanent part of his arsenal. The person whose body he is overtaking often undergoes physical transformation such as gaining Apocalypse's skin color and, in the case of Charles Xavier, losing their hair. The person does not need to consent for the transference to occur.
|“||I've been called many things over many lifetimes: Ra, Krishna, Yahweh. I was there to spark and fan the flame of man's awakening, to spin the wheel of civilization.||„|
|“||You are all my children and you lost because you follow blind leaders...but I'm here now, I'm here for you.||„|
|~ Apocalypse to his Horsemen.|
|“||Together we will cleanse the Earth for the strongest!||„|
|~ Apocalypse to his Horsemen, telling them to join him with his plan.|
|“||Weapons... superpowers... The weak have taken the Earth. For this, I was betrayed. False gods, idols... no more. I have returned.||„|
|~ Apocalypse as he learns what the Earth has become during his slumber.|
- Apocalypse made himself stronger than he initially was when he merged with the advanced technology of an alien ship, as depicted in the comics, while a similar process is shown in the film.
- When using his powers, his eyes turn completely white while his voice can distort, becoming deeper and monstrous, and changing in tone and pitch repeatedly.
- Though Magneto and William Stryker are the recurring Big Bads of the X-Men film series, Apocalypse is the main antagonist of the film as he had bigger plans than anyone else and that he was the world's oldest mutant to date in history, making him the Bigger Bad of the entire X-Men film series.
- Initially the movie was firstly meant to be named as X-Men: Age of Apocalypse like the comics, which it is based, but was changed to only "Apocalypse" in order to avoid copying titles of other movies like Avengers: Age of Ultron or Transformers: Age of Extinction.
- When Oscar Isaac's image with his Apocalypse costume on leaked to Entertainment Weekly, Apocalypse's appearance drew criticisms due to the character strongly resembling Ivan Ooze's appearance. It's eventually clarified by Brian Singer why Apocalypse seemingly pinkish purple was due to the pink lighting near him, in which he explained, "There was an image released on Entertainment Weekly, where the effect hadn’t been put in yet, so everyone was — the effect has a pink light on it, and everyone got lit up, so people thought Apocalypse was going to be pink. I was like, 'No, no, they're all pink. Take a look. Everyone in the picture is pink picture'.".
- En Sabah Nur's initial beginnings and motivations are extremely similar to those of the Enchantress from the DC Extended Universe, who is the main antagonist in a film released just three months subsequently. But the difference is that Apocalypse was overthrown by his disgruntled subjects and survived by spending thousands of years in hypersleep and believed non-mutates deserved only genocide, making him a malevolent monger; whereas Enchantress was betrayed by her own royal officials and did not survive which forced her to possess someone else and wanted to revolutionize and renew humans as well as their metahuman counterparts, making her more of an antiheroine. However, his character is considerably less one-dimensional as his backstory is seen on-screen, his motives and skillset are both far more fleshed out, and his screentime is appropriately sufficient to develop his character well.