In suburban Ontario last weekend, a big old house called Parkwood Estate was once again transformed into Professor Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters. Parkwood was the first X-Mansion in 2000’s X-Men, but in 2016 class was back in session for the Blu-ray and DVD release of X-Men: Apocalypse.
Because Apocalypse was set back in 1983, the estate was made into a Reagan-era version of Xavier’s School, which wound up making it feel like a step through a time portal. With the X-Men away, the normals got to play, which mostly consisted of happily gawking at the X-Men’s personal effects, displays, and real props used in Apocalypse. Here were some of the coolest things I got to toy with up close.
1. Cerebro Myndplay VR
In 1983, virtual reality belonged in the pages of science-fiction, but in 2016 it’s totally real, so here it was at the X-Mansion. Dubbed “Cerebro Myndplay,” it was more tech demo than anything full-fledged VR, but what X-Men fan doesn’t want to play in Cerebro for a little bit?
In Cerebro Myndplay, players “become” Professor X, and have to find Magneto and stop a nuclear holocaust. Cerebro analyzes brain activity, so when prompted, players have to think — really, really hard — to fill up a timed gauge. If players think hard enough they’ll find Magneto. If not, the world is destroyed by Apocalypse. Big stakes!
All the scenes in the game were taken from Apocalypse, giving Cerebro Myndplay a cheap and cheesy Sega CD feel: an expensive, multi-million superhero movie looked not dissimilar from Night Trap. Still, strapping on the Oculus goggles while sitting in a replica of Xavier’s Chair was pretty exciting.
Speaking of Xavier’s Chair…
2. Xavier’s Real Chair and Cerebro Helmet
A lot of the props throughout the mansion were real props used in Apocalypse, which meant we couldn’t touch them. That was a bummer, but there was still something exciting about seeing Xavier’s wheelchair up close (as close security would allow).
3. The Flight Suit Armors
One of my favorite moments from Apocalypse, only a little ironically, was Cyclops conveniently discovering coordinated team armor before the film’s third act. The black and silver suits in Apocalypse were a cross between the older X-Men and the actual comic book-y outfits from X-Men: First Class.
At the foot of the stairs were the exact costumes from the set displayed on mannequins. Requests to try these costumes on were strictly denied, no matter how much I said pretty please.
4. Jubilee’s Cassette of the Cocktail Soundtrack
On Jubilee’s vanity was a cassette of the Cocktail soundtrack. While Jubilee might be really into Beach Boys, there’s a small problem: Apocalypse takes place in 1983, the year Tom Cruise did The Outsiders and Risky Business. He wasn’t in Cocktail until 1988. Clearly Jubilee has been messing with Beast’s time machine.
5. Nightcrawler’s “Thriller” Jacket
Lucky mutant: Nightcrawler had his own room and decked it out with gothic furniture. He’s also clearly a Michael Jackson fan, wearing the red leather jacket from Jackson’s “Thriller” video while at the mall. At Xavier’s School, it was on his bed in front of a slick, vintage “Thriller” poster.
6. Literally Everything in Quicksilver and Cyclops’s Room: Scott’s Visor, Quicksilver’s Kicks, Pizza Dog, and Copies of OMNI
Quicksilver and Cyclops shared a room — with a bathroom Cyclops left a wreck (but not like that) — and it was ‘80s nerd nirvana. Sheets of old OMNI magazines were scattered alongside a toy DeLorean from Back to the Future, a Tron poster, not to mention Cyclops’s visor and Quicksilver’s silver Nike kicks.
There was also Pizza Dog, a French bulldog prop from Quicksilver’s show-stealing extraction sequence. Apparently the prop had a gooey texture so it would shake on camera. I wasn’t allowed to touch it to find out.
In a brief deleted scene from X-Men: Apocalypse, Jean Grey is at the archery range and fires and arrow before controlling it with her mutant powers. There was an archery range set up in the backyard of the Parkwood Estates. I couldn’t use my powers, unfortunately.
X-Men: Apocalypse comes out on Blu-ray and DVD October 4.