5 Things to Know About Oscar Isaac's New 'X-Men' Villain, Apocalypse

He's a 5,000-year-old Egyptian who really believes in "Survival of the Fittest."

Oscar Isaac will play Apocalypse in 'X-Men: Age of Apocalypse.'
Oscar Isaac will play Apocalypse in 'X-Men: Age of Apocalypse.'
Getty Images | Marvel Comics

We found out Monday morning Oscar Isaac is set to play Apocalypse in next year's X-Men: Age of Apocalypse. It's a crazy role and it means Isaac will have an even crazier year since he's also said to have a pretty big role in Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens. And before any of that happens he'll star in A Most Violent Year next month, which could end up getting him nominated for an Oscar.

While we don't really know anything about Isaac's Star Wars character, we do know plenty about Apocalypse, who appeared in the post-credits scene after X-Men: Days of Future Past. Let's run down the basics. (Full disclosure, I covered some of this same ground when DOFP first hit theaters.)

1. He's the First Mutant and He's Super Powerful

Apocalypse (real name En Sabah Nur) was born in ancient Egypt, approximately 5,000 years ago. He was the first human born with the "X" gene, which is to say he was the first mutant born to the Marvel universe. He has a combination of pretty much every mutant ability and has figured out various ways of changing his abilities. He's immortal, super strong, super fast, telekinetic, psychic, and capable of shape-shifting to varying degrees (depending on who's doing the writing).

2. He's Big On 'Survival of the Fittest'

Professor Xavier was always appalled at Magneto's separatist rhetoric when it came to the coexistence of humans and mutants. But Apocalypse is orders of magnitude more extreme. He literally believes only the strongest should survive, so his goal is to kill or enslave all humans while installing a strict mutant hierarchy in which leaders can be challenged like alpha pack animals.

Apocalypse with Angel in a more recent imagining.
Apocalypse with Angel in a more recent imagining.
Marvel Comics

3. The 'Age of Apocalypse' Comic

Before it was a movie, Age of Apocalypse was a massive-cross title Marvel Comics event that imagined a world where Charlies Xavier died before he could assemble the X-Men and Apocalypse took advantage of the power vacuum, launching a campaign of world domination. In this world we see Apocalypse's version of "Survival of the Fittest" carried to its logical extremes. Few humans are left who are free. Mutants are the ruling class, but even they aren't safe. The entire world is thrown into so much chaos that characters' good and bad alignments are totally up in the air. (Magneto's a good guy and Beast is kind of an evil scientist.)

4. The Four Horsemen

In the comics, Apocalypse likes to keep four henchmen particularly close, assigning them the roles of Plague, Famine, War, and Death. The actual super-powered individuals in those roles rotates, but most famously Apocalypse gave the title of Death to Angel (Warren Worthington III, who was seen in X-Men 3) after brainwashing him and replacing his recently amputated wings with metal cyber wings.

5. He Appears Throughout History Under Different Names

As an immortal who's been around since ancient times, Apocalypse has messed with history all over the place. He traveled to Aztec Mexico to play the part of Mesoamerican war god Huitzilopochtli, and has also taken on the identities of Hindi god of destruction Kali, and Egyptian god of violence Set. He also (not kidding) is responsible for both creating and destroying Dracula.

I write about movies for Zimbio.com, which means I spend way too much time thinking about the geekiest possible ways to approach the cineplex. I'm also hopelessly addicted to audio books. Follow me: Google