Early on during the production of Logan, one thing was made perfectly clear: This would be Hugh Jackman’s final time playing Wolverine on the big screen. The revelation was not entirely surprising as it became increasingly difficult for Jackman to maintain Wolverine’s super human form after 17 years. With this being his final appearance, Fox let him and director James Mangold free of timelines and continuity, making them determined to craft the best Wolverine solo movie imaginable.
Based on early reviews for the film, it looks like they have done just that. The movie has been praised for its tone and R-rated violence, while also launching a potential new fan favorite character in X-23 (Dafne Keen). However, many are bracing for a sad ending for whatever fate awaits the titular hero. As if seeing Wolverine one last time was not reason enough to bring the tissues and prepare for the worst possible outcome, it has now been confirmed that this will mark the end of Patrick Stewart’s role in the universe as well.
Stewart made the announcement himself that, regardless of how Professor X’s role plays out in Logan, this will be his final appearance in the X-Men franchise. The news and Stewart’s statement comes courtesy of EW where the longtime leader of the franchise states that he came to this conclusion while watching the final moments of the film with Jackman.
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.’
With the movie being only a week away at this point, fans around the world are now closer than ever to seeing the film. There is no telling what this means for Xavier himself in the movie’s plot, but it has been widely speculated that he could pass away during the film given his elderly age and deteriorating mental health. However, with him stating that he made this decision, it could mean that he is still alive at the end of the movie and wants to leave on his own terms, just like Jackman.
This notion is a change up in Stewart’s approach to the character’s future. Throughout the press circuit for Logan, he has stated that he’s not ready to say goodbye to the character just yet. Then, he told us that he was open for any future possible stories that were in Xavier’s past or future that would require his services. Stewart notes in the quote above that this decision was made rather abruptly, so given more time and the further praise of Logan, there is a chance that he could (again) change his mind and be back in the role, even if he says that won’t be the case right now.
Regardless of how it plays out for either Professor X or Wolverine, this really will be the closing chapter of sorts to the X-Men universe as we know it. Stewart and Jackman have been with the franchise since the beginning, all the way back in 2000, and have stayed a major focus throughout it all. Their father/son dynamic has been one of the best parts of the franchise, especially once it became more of a true friendship later on.
Fox already has James McAvoy playing the character in the earlier timeline, but Logan should not be touched for some time. With this being the last time either of these actors are involved with the franchise and the last time for a while that these two characters will share the screen together, hopefully Logan delivers on all fronts and sends them both out in the best way possible. They are the cornerstones of the franchise after all, so it is fitting that they leave the franchise the same way they entered, together.