The future of the X-Men franchise is very uncertain, but Fox still has a few very solid hands to play within the next couple of years. One of those solid hands is the upcoming, still untitled Wolverine 3, which will be Hugh Jackman's last turn as Logan. Now it looks like another iconic actor may be saying goodbye to his equally iconic mutant character, as Patrick Stewart has hinted that this could be his last go as Charles Xavier.
Stewart recently did an interview with ITV and revealed a bit about his role in Wolverine 3. Primarily, he claims that this could very likely be the last time he takes on the role of Professor X, which he first played in X-Men back in 2000. When asked directly if this is the last time he will be playing the part, here is what he had to day.
"I can't say because I don't know, but I would imagine this is probably the end of this franchise for me. But the thing about science fiction and fantasy is that you can never, ever say it's the end, it's over."
We know very little about how Xavier will fit into the story of this new Wolverine movie, but Stewart is promising that it will be different. He also acknowledges that it is hard to confidently say he won't come back again. It was pointed out to Stewart in the interview that Jean Grey did kill him on screen in X-Men: The Last Stand, and yet, he still found a way to return. His response was as follows.
"Yes, I have, I have. Jean Grey vaporized me, from which you would think there would be no return. But watch out! In March, I'm going to be back on the screen again. A very different Charles Xavier, that's all I'm allowed to say. Nothing like the Charles Xavier you've seen in the past."
We still don't know a ton about the movie, but we do know that it may be adapting, at least somewhat loosely, the Old Man Logan storyline. The original Old Man Logan storyline was written by Mark Millar and came out in 2008. It is set 50 years in the future in a time where the United States has been totally conquered and divided up amongst various Marvel Comics super villains, with heroes mostly a thing of the past, save for Wolverine and a few others. The book features a ton of characters very prominently that are owned by Marvel Studios. Right now Fox and Kevin Feige don't appear to be getting along all that well, so the story will have to be a pretty decent departure from what actually takes place in the comics. Sorry folks, Wolverine won't be hanging out with Hulk and Hawkeye yet.
Though, it has long been denied that Old Man Logan is even being used as a template for the movie, with the tenative title being Weapon X. The story is believed to be tied this summer's X-Men: Apocalypse. Hugh Jackman made a brief appearance during the latest sequel, set in 1983, where he took out a number of soldiers at the Weapon X facility at Alkali Lake. There have been rumors that this next Wolverine adventure will introduce mutant X-23, a clone of Wolverine who many believe is the young girl spotted in recent set photos. And that Logan is on a mission to protect her.
Outside of maybe his co-star Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, there is almost nobody who is more synonymous with the role of a comic book character than Patrick Stewart is with Charles Xavier. Save for perhaps Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man/Tony Stark. Stewart's presence is part of what helped the original X-Men become the success that it was, and helped to usher in the era of the modern comic book movie. If Wolverine 3 is indeed his last go, he will be leaving behind a huge legacy, and it will make the new Wolverine movie all that much more anticipated. James Mangold has returned to direct the movie, which is set for a March 3, 2017 release.