With the widespread critical and commercial success of X-Men: Days of Future Past, it's not too difficult to imagine that we'll be seeing a whole lot of X-Movies coming our way over the course of the next decade, with the rebooted franchise having now very much proven itself a match for the original trilogy of movies. Add in a young, recognizable cast - even including mega-star Jennifer Lawrence, for crying out loud - and you've got yourself a recipe for sustained, decade-long cinematic awesomeness if ever there was one - with next year's X-Men: Apocalypse a fantastic-sounding next step.
Except, from the sounds of it, we might just be set to see that carefully constructed balance of awesomeness be shaken up in the very near future. The reason?
X-Men: Apocalypse Could Be The Beast's Last X-Movie
Or, at least, it could be the last X-Men movie in which we see actor Nicholas Hoult play the hero.
Speaking at SXSW, Hoult recently revealed that he hasn't actually signed on for any further sequels after X-Men: Apocalypse, revealing that:
""This is the last one I'm signed up for..."
And, though it sounds as though he'd be more than happy to return, it doesn't altogether seem like he's actually been offered the option as of yet:
"The first one did so well and [Days of Future Past] got received so brilliantly...It's like, 'Wow, people really want to see the films' and the best thing is it's a great crew and cast to work with and he's a fun character. I have a good time playing him so I'd keep making them."
Which, it seems, opens up the very real possibility that Hoult won't be returning after X-Men: Apocalypse. Or, rather, opens up three big possibilities.
1. X-Men: Apocalypse Could See The Beast Die
It'd be a pretty big surprise - considering they're only just getting around to introducing the rest of the original comic-book X-Men to the rebooted movies (Cyclops and Jean Grey are set to arrive, along with the only slightly less old-school Storm), but one that would make a fair amount of narrative sense.
The Beast has, after all, been a key part of the two movies thus far, and from the sounds of it, his relationship with Mystique is set to prove central to the events of X-Men: Apocalypse. The emotional resonance of his death, then, would likely be greater than that of any other character (with the exception of the likely indispensable Professor X, Magneto and Mystique).
Even his presence in the future depicted at the end of Days of Future Past wouldn't necessarily save him - the future has, after all, been shown to be alterable.
2. X-Men: Apocalypse Could Replace Hoult
After all, the movie's do seem to be making some pretty big chronological leaps - with their time-line already having taken us from First Class' '60s setting to Apocalypse's '80s one.
And, whereas Michael Fassbender's Magneto can be 'greyed up,' James McAvoy's Professor X 'balded up,' and Jennifer Lawrence's Mystique kept exactly the same by virtue of her shape-shifting ability, Hoult could well prove too baby-faced to make the leap to a fourth, presumably '90s-set, movie. He does, after all, look about 19...
...and a '90s setting would (since First Class was set in 1962) mean that The Beast would be in his late 40s or early 50s. Which, barring a twenty-year delay in making the sequel, might be a bit of stretch for Hoult to make work.
Could that mean a return for fan-favorite Kelsey Grammer as the hero, taking over as an older, permanently blue version of the hero?
Perhaps, but it's also possible that:
3. Fox May Just Have Not Gotten Around To Contract Negotiations Yet
After all, X-Men: Apocalypse hasn't even been filmed yet, and so the plot is unlikely to be completely locked in - so it's entirely possible that Fox has held off until now to extend too many contracts, only to realize that they want - for instance - to kill a different character off than they originally thought.
Or, in other words - Hoult may not have a new contract now, but that doesn't mean he won't by the time X-Men: Apocalypse hits our screens...