X-Men: Apocalypse ruled the box office this past weekend. In the film, the team of mutants faced their biggest adversary to date with the fate of the world at stake. Since X-Men: First Class, the X-Men have been fighting bigger and bigger threats each time. The question remains: What's next for the X-Men? Several clues were present in the movie which could lead to potential story ideas for the team's next big screen appearance.
There will be some spoilers for X-Men: Apocalypse below.
When Professor X and Havok visited Moira MacTaggart in her CIA office, Charles noticed a photo and discovered she had a son. In the comics, Moira had a son, Kevin MacTaggert. It turned out her son was an extremely powerful mutant with the ability to warp reality. He was such a threat, Moira kept him locked up with his powers contained. Calling himself Proteus, he was also dangerous because as his psionic energies burnt out his body, he would possess the bodies of others. The more he used his powers, the more host bodies he would need. The character was a big threat, but perhaps not enough to make an impact on the big screen.
Another possibility could stem out of the post-credits scene where a briefcase with "Essex Corp" was seen. Mr. Sinister (Nathaniel Essex) could become a threat for the mutants and could possibly target Scott Summers and Jean Grey. In the comics, Sinister manages to make a clone of Jean, who went by the name of Madelyne Pryor. She and Scott married and had a baby. The baby was infected with a techno-organic virus, had to be whisked away to the future to be cured, and eventually becomes the mutant known as Cable. It was Sinister's hope to use this baby against Apocalypse. All of this might be too convoluted for a movie plot. With Apocalypse defeated before Sinister makes an appearance, the chances of any sort of rivalry between the two is pretty slim. There's also the possibility of Cable appearing in the Deadpool sequel. It seems more likely he'd just appear in that movie without a full-scale look at his origin.
Because each movie seems to increase the threat level for the X-Men, the more likely story would be the Dark Phoenix Saga. In the current film, we see Jean struggling to keep her powers in check. During the final confrontation against Apocalypse, Xavier encourages Jean to unleash her powers. As she lets go, we do get a glimpse of the fiery bird associated with the character in the comics.
The story involved a celestial entity known as the Phoenix Force imprinting on Jean and taking her place while Jean was placed in a healing cocoon. Believing itself to actually be Jean, the power soon became too much for the human portion within. As it returned to the stars it destroyed an entire solar system.
This part of the story could also bring in the Shi'ar alien race to the movie universe. In the comics, the X-Men have had several adventures in space and this could be a way to take the franchise off Earth and into a different arena.
These possibilities would need to be built upon and fleshed out in order to work in the movies. With last three movies jumping forward ten years in between, the next film would take place in the '90s. This would allow the current team of Mystique, Cyclops, Jean, Storm, Nightcrawler, Quicksilver, and Beast to gain more experience together. It would also allow other mutants like Colossus to join the team. The next movie will need to have a threat bigger than Apocalypse. Having them deal with the Dark Phoenix and possibly going out into space would be the next logical step for the franchise.
Check out our spoiler-filled discussion on X-Men: Apocalypse here.