It's no secret that the untitled Wolverine 3 not only brings back X-Men star Hugh Jackman for his last adventure, but sees his mentor Professor X (Patrick Stewart) return as well. After teasing that he could play Charles Xavier in the last Wolverine solo movie, Stewart confirmed yesterday that this is very much the case, and that he's "intrigued" about the story and idea of Wolverine getting old.
Whether or not Stewart's jokes about Hugh Jackman aging are a nod to the "Old Man Logan" Marvel Comics the movie may be drawing inspiration from remain a mystery but we do know that Xavier's role in Wolverine 3 is not just a cameo. It's a key part in the film that will introduce moviegoers to a "very different" Charles Xavier.
Melissa Unger joined a roundtable discussion with Stewart yesterday on behalf of Screen Rant to discuss his new comedy series on Starz, Blunt Talk (more on that later!), where he also divulged a little more about what we can expect from the last movie where Jackman will sport the mutant claws. As it turns out, he did visit the set of X-Men: Apocalypse recently so it's possible he makes a cameo, something we'd expect of the film to help tease Wolverine even if it's just a post-credits sequence appearance.
"They are in the middle of filming. I went up to pay them a visit in Montreal a couple of weeks ago… the next X-Men movie, but that will be inhabited by Jennifer Lawrence and Michael fassBender and James Mcavoy. The X’s, not Ian Mckellen and Patrick Stewart. Um, but there is I am told a Wolverine movie in development that would include Charles Xavier, but in a very different Charles Xavier than the one we have seen before. And I don’t quite know what that means, but I am very very excited about it. I love Hugh and I love working with him and James Mangold I believe is set to direct and he is terrific so we shall see."
When asked if Wolverine 3 could close the chapter on the original X-Men cast and director Bryan Singer's X-Men universe as we know it (details on that rumor here), Stewart remained coy but did express his desire to continue playing Xavier in the films.
"Oh, yeah I love being in those movies. I feel… I am very passionate about the X-Men movies and unlike Star Trek, where I was Captain of the Enterprise, but someone had already been captain of the Enterprise before me, William Shatner. Um, but well I created Professor X and now James is taking it over and he is wonderful so flattering to have him as a youthful me. Everybody associated with that project, they are fantastic... the actors, the crew and the directors and now that Singer is back directing it because the first two were wonderful movies. Yeah, I would go happy into old age doing more X-Men, but something tells me from what I read that Hugh said it may be over soon. I don’t know what the studio will think about that. We’ll see. He’s a terrific character, but I am looking forward to... if what I have been told is true... to a different version of Charles. We shall see."
What does a different version of Charles look like? In X-Men: The Last Stand, original trilogy Charles was disintegrated by The Phoenix but his mind seemingly lived on in the body of his brain-dead twin brother (as revealed in a post-credits scene). That plot thread was abandoned in both alternate futures presented in X-Men: Apocalypse - both of which saw Xavier (bald and with his chair) as a leader of the mutant race.
At this point, it's not even clear if Wolverine 3 continues from end point of The Wolverine and we don't know when it takes place relative to the other upcoming films. For all we know, the story of X-Men: Apocalypse could involve time-travel and continue playing with the idea of alternate realities - the ultimate plot device director Bryan Singer and producer/writer Simon Kinberg have to explain away any continuity errors (which there are plenty) or character changes.
If Wolverine 3 does pick up where The Wolverine left off though, where Logan (Jackman) comes to accept his role in the world as a soldier and a savior, perhaps Xavier is his mentor giving him his (last?) mission(s). Maybe that involves travelling through time again like he did in Days of Future Past? Or maybe it's a mission that takes the rest of his life? It's becoming increasingly likely that we'll meet a very old Wolverine in 2017.
Deadpool opens in theaters February 12, 2016; X-Men: Apocalypse on May 27, 2016; Gambit on October 7, 2016; Wolverine 3 on March 3, 2017; Fantastic Four 2 on June 9, 2017; and some as-yet unspecified X-Men film on July 13, 2018. The New Mutants is also in development.