Located roughly an hour outside of Toronto, Canada, Oshawa is home to a very special building. That is the Parkwood Estate, and while many productions have called in on the beautiful historic building, none are more noteworthy than the X-Men franchise. You see, this is where it all began for those beloved characters, as it was here that a number of key scenes were shot for the very first X-Men movie over sixteen years ago. Both Deadpool and X-Men: First Class have made use of it since then, and in case you haven’t figured it out yet, the Parkwood Estate is indeed the X-Mansion, and we were lucky enough to pay a visit to it back in September ahead of the release of X-Men: Apocalypse on DVD and Blu-ray.
With a familiar plaque hanging above the impressive front door, it didn’t take long to feel like we had arrived in the actual building characters like Charles Xavier, Scott Summers, and Jean Grey call home. Inside, the mansion had actually been transformed into Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, with the stately manor’s many rooms decked out in 1980s decor and littered with props which should be instantly familiar to any fan of this long running franchise.
Costumes belonging to characters like Cyclops, Jubilee, Nightcrawler, and Quicksilver took centre stage in the dorm rooms, while others like the dog the speedster saves in X-Men: Apocalypse and the cast he wears in the movie’s final moments were a real treat to see in person. These rooms weren’t actually shown in X-Men: Apocalypse, but it was still hard to escape the sensation of actually getting a look into the lives of these fictional characters as we familiarised ourselves with their personal belongings in dorms it’s actually surprisingly easy to picture them all calling home when we’re not watching them battle bad guys!
Things became even more surreal when we took a trip downstairs and entered the office of one Professor Charles Xavier. Along with the character’s iconic wheelchair, the room was full of some incredible props, with perhaps the most impressive being the chess set the powerful psychic has so often used as he’s sat opposite Magneto, a man he’s called friend and foe over the years. Stepping outside for a breather, we somehow found ourselves in a classroom thrown into chaos by Jean Grey’s telekinetic abilities, and after escaping that without any floating objects knocking us for six, it didn’t take long until we stumbled across a restroom decimated by Cyclops. Made to look like the one featured in X-Men: Apocalypse, the smoky room felt like seeing the movie come to life (though it was obviously a relief not to be blasted by the young mutant as he discovered his powers the same way that bully was).
As the day went on, it quickly became apparent that the X-Mansion is a pretty crazy place to spend time in, but it was a relief to see the costumes worn by the heroes in X-Men: Apocalypse standing guard in the entrance hall. Getting to see these up close makes you really appreciate just how much work is put into them, though resisting the urge to quickly change into one obviously proved to be more than a little challenging because, hey, who doesn’t want to dress up as a bona fide member of the X-Men at some point in their life? Just walking around and seeing things like Hank McCoy’s glasses or Professor X’s business card lying around made the whole thing even more immersive, and it soon felt like we weren’t in Oshawa at all, but were spending time at 1407 Graymalkin Lane, Westchester County.
Archery (a sport practised by Jean Grey in X-Men: Apocalypse) and a unique VR experience testing the powers of our concentration followed, and while the HeyUGuys team may not have psychic or telekinetic abilities, we’re being completely honest when we say we nailed these. With that, the day had reached its end, though we did find time to catch up with some of the movie’s cast and the head makeup designer, links to which you’ll be able to find below.
- Lana Condor Exclusive Interview
- Carolina Bartczak Exclusive Interview
- Makeup Department Head Rita Ciccozzi Exclusive Interview
As a comic book fan, it’s obviously a dream to be able to visit an iconic location from those. Sadly, most don’t exist (if they did, we’d have already been to Avengers Tower and the Batcave), but the X-Mansion does. Getting to experience a day in the life of one of Professor X’s students proved to be an awful lot of fun, and we’re still pinching ourselves over the fact we were accepted…even if the visit was shorter than we would have liked! Still, for a period of six hours or so, we were an actual part of the X-Men, and with any luck, the next welcome pack we receive will ask us to join the team. Will we survive the experience? It’s hard to say, but if nothing else, we know we’ll have somewhere cool to stay while we’re being trained…
X-Men: Apocalypse is available on Digital HD from today & on Blu-ray™, 4K Ultra HD & DVD from 7th November, from Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment.