From what we've learned, it seems unlikely that James McAvoy won't be back as Xavier (aka Professor X) in X-Men: Apocalypse. So far, Bryan Singer is confirmed to direct this 2016 sequel, jumping into work directly after completing X-Men: Days of Future Past. We've also been told (by outside sources) that the movie will take place in the 1970s, and that it will focus on the X-Men: First Class cast of characters. Noted, none of this has been confirmed directly by the studio.
Could 20th Century Fox have something else in mind?
Last night, James McAvoy confirmed that he is under contract to reprise his Professor X role for a third and final time after X-Men: Days of Future Past. Although it isn't known if that will be in X-Men: Apocalypse. When asked about the recently-announced sequel, the actor reveals he just now heard about it.
"Yeah, I only heard about that this morning."
He said nothing further about this 2016 sequel, only noting his contract obligations. He did go onto discuss X-Men: Days of Future Past. The actor reveals that this impending follow-up, which will be in theaters this summer, is the biggest franchise entry yet.
"It's the biggest X-Men film yet, without a doubt. It's a journey into darkness."
"The personal pleasure for me in First Class was in presenting a Charles Xavier to the fans - but also a new audience - who's very different from the Charles that you expected ... In the second movie, I get to present another version of Charles Xavier who's still very different from the Charles that used to exist, but he's also remarkably different from the Charles in First Class as well. So what's great is that, even though it's a sequel, even though it's a franchise, I keep getting to reinvent Charles Xavier, and that's amazing. I've got to do it twice now because the Charles in this film is unrecognizable from the Charles in the last film as well as unrecognizable from the Charles played by Patrick Stewart, who I then get to face up to. That's sort of theatrical almost, it's like we're playing a game with the audience saying, 'Look at the many faces of Charles-Patrick-Stewart-Xavier-McAvoy. It's really good fun."
One of the most interesting moments from the trailer released in October was the future Xavier (Patrick Stewart) actually interacting with James McAvoy's younger version of the character. James McAvoy's Xavier is in a very dark and disturbing place in X-Men: Days of Future Past, after being confined to a wheelchair and cutting ties with Michael Fassbender's Magneto and Jennifer Lawrence's Mystique. After seeing that important moment in the trailer, it will be interesting to see if the future Xavier can bring his younger self out of the darkness in X-Men: Days of Future Past.
While all signs point to James McAvoy headlining X-Men: Apocalypse, Fox announced last week that Simon Kinberg has signed a three-year deal to help guide and expand their own Marvel cinematic universe, with stories that span multiple films across both the X-Men and Fantastic Four franchises. Some fans have argued that the X-Men: Apocalypse in the comics doesn't line-up with what they are planning for the big screen in terms of their timeline (though, as the Apocalypse storyline and Days of Future Past both contain elements of time travel, this is probably easy to merge into one cohesive story).
With many X-Men movies in the works, could what we've heard about X-Men: Apocalypse featuring the X-Men: First Class and taking place in the 1970s be wrong? Its entirely possible that X-Men: First Class cast will star in an entirely different movie.
Maybe Bryan Singer can jump on Twitter and clear this up?