We've known for quite some time that next week's highly-anticipated superhero adventure Logan will be the last time Hugh Jackman will be seen as Wolverine. While the actor has hinted there may be a possibility he could return in some fashion, we have now learned that Logan will mark the end of another era as well. Patrick Stewart, who returns as Professor X in Logan, confirmed he will be leaving the X-Men franchise behind as well after this standalone spin-off. Here's what he had to say about leaving the franchise behind.
"A week ago, Friday night in Berlin, the three of us sat, watching the movie, and I was so moved by it, much more moved than I had been the first time of seeing it. Maybe it was the company of these two guys, but the movie ended and, this is an admission, but at one point [Hugh] reached out, and he took my hand in those last few minutes, and I saw him go [mimes wiping a tear from his eye] like this, and then I realized I had just done the same thing. Then, the movie ended, and we were going to be taken up on stage, but not until the credits were over. So, we had some time to sit there and, as I sat there I realized there will never be a better, a more perfect, a more sensitive, emotional, and beautiful way of saying au revoir to Charles Xavier than this movie. So, I told [Hugh] that same evening, 'I'm done too. It's all over.'"
Entertainment Weekly reports that Patrick Stewart revealed this announcement during a SiriusXM Town Hall, where he was joined by director James Mangold and Hugh Jackman. The Town Hall will premiere on the EW radio, channel 105, Friday, March 3 at 2 PM ET. Before this admission, there had been rumors that Patrick Stewart's Charles Xavier character would actually be killed off in the film, after some eagle-eyed fans noticed that Xavier was sitting in the same seat in Logan's limousine where a slew of bullet holes were seen on the door in earlier photos. It was never confirmed that Xavier died, but it seems that his character won't be killed off, if Patrick Stewart made the decision himself to walk away from this character.
It actually makes more sense that Patrick Stewart walks away from the role now, since Logan is set further into the future than any other X-Men movie before it. The movie is set in the year 2029, five years after the prologue of X-Men: Days of Future Past. It's also worth noting that the next X-Men movie has been confirmed to be set in the 1990s, which follows suit with the X-Men prequel trilogy. X-Men: First Class was set in the 1960s, with X-Men: Days of Future Past set in the 1970s and last year's X-Men: Apocalypse set in the 1980s. There have been rumors that this new X-Men movie set in the 1990s will reboot the Dark Phoenix saga that centers on Jean Grey (Sophie Turner).
Aside from this currently untitled X-Men movie set in the 1990s, 20th Century Fox is also developing a number of X-Men spin-offs such as The New Mutants, Gambit and X-Force, along with the highly-anticipated sequel Deadpool 2. Logan director James Mangold also recently hinted that the studio may very well use the X-23 character, played by Dafne Keen, in a future X-Men movie, but it hasn't been confirmed if that will happen or not. Since this movie is set so far into the future, and X-23 is still such a young girl, the story would likely have to be set in this timeline if they want to use Dafne Keen again, but we'll have to wait and see how the studio moves ahead with the X-Men franchise.