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'X-Men: Apocalypse' Is Set In 1983, But Why That Year?

Photo of Oliver Lyttelton By Oliver Lyttelton | The Playlist June 16, 2014 at 4:00PM

"X-Men: Days Of Future Past" did what it was intended to: thanks to the all-star cast and surprisingly strong reviews, the film was by far the biggest hit of the series, with the film closing on $700 million worldwide, elevating it far above its predecessors, and justifying Fox's decision to spend more money on the picture than any other film except "Avatar." As such, the already-announced plans for "X-Men: Apocalypse" are moving forward at speed, and writer Simon Kinberg has just spilled some beans on it.
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X-Men Apocalypse

"X-Men: Days Of Future Past" (check out our feature on the Best and Worst of the film) did what it was intended to: thanks to the all-star cast and surprisingly strong reviews, the film was by far the biggest hit of the series, with the film closing on $700 million worldwide, elevating it far above its predecessors, and justifying Fox's decision to spend more money on the picture than any other film except "Avatar." As such, the already-announced plans for "X-Men: Apocalypse" are moving forward at speed, and writer Simon Kinberg has just spilled some beans on it.

We already knew that the film was going to focus on villain Apocalypse, an ancient mutant (take a look at our ranking of the character canon) with reality-altering powers (as shown by the post-credits tease at the end of 'Days Of Future Past'), and Kinberg has previously said that the film will be closer to a "disaster movie" than the time-jumping antics of the last picture, and that it'll be set in the 1980s, after the 60s and 70s settings of the first two. But in an interview with screenwriting podcast supremo Jeff Goldsmith (via Comic Book Movie), Kinberg has got more specific, and said that the new movie will be set in 1983.

Now, for some franchises, this wouldn't be hugely important, but the exact date of the setting of "First Class" (1962) and "Days Of Future Past" (1973) turned out to be important to the films' plotlines: the climax of the latter took place during the Cuban Missile Crisis, the latter included a key sequence set at the Paris Peace Accords, and one can assume that the meld of history and fiction will continue here. So what can we glean about 'Apocalypse' from the year in which it's set?

Well, if we were take the 'disaster movie' line literally, the film could end up featuring the earthquake and tsunami in Japan that killed over a hundred people, or Hurricane Alicia in Texas, which killed twenty two. Or if we were to see the film keeping closer to 'First Class,' the arrest of Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie in Bolivia might be a plot point. But neither quite sound right, especially as 1983 saw, arguably for the last time, the Cold War ramping up: the Strategic Defense Initiative (also known as 'Star Wars') was unveiled in March, while September saw a Korean plane be shot down by the Soviet air force, killing all on board, including a U.S. congressman, and two terrible cases of nuclear brinksmanship before the end of the year too. We'd wager that whatever chaos Apocalypse is causing, it ends up causing conflict between the U.S. and the Soviet Union at the some time. Or perhaps the plot figures into the internet, which 'officially' came into existence on January 1st that year?

Or perhaps it's just because it takes place ten years after the film. "X-Men: Apocalypse" hits theaters on May 27th, 2016.


This article is related to: X-Men: Apocalypse, Simon Kinberg


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