(Warning - the following contains large, hulking potential SPOILERS for the upcoming Wolverine 3. Though, in fairness, Captain Picard seems to want you to know them, so maybe that's for the best...)
With Hugh Jackman set to step down from his career-defining role as Wolverine in the third installment of the hero's solo movie franchise (due to hit the big screen in 2017), it's not surprising that anticipation levels for Wolverine 3 (as it will almost inevitably not be known) are sky high. After all, it could be our very last chance to see Jackman play the role that made him a comic book icon.
From the sounds of it, though, the movie could also include an appearance (once again potentially the final one) from another X-Men legend.
Patrick Stewart Is Set to Star in Wolverine 3...as a 'Different' Version of Professor X
As Stewart revealed to ScreenRant:
"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."
Or, in other words, Professor X'll be there - but he might not be quite the Charles Xavier we know and love...
What Does That Mean for Wolverine 3, Though?
Well, it's of course entirely possible that it actually means very little indeed. Stewart is, after all, an actor known for his fondness for hyperbole - and he's never been one to shy away from broad speculation related to his potential casting in X-Men projects.
If he really does make it into the movie as a leading character, though - and does end up playing a 'different' Professor X - then the possibilities are simultaneously endless, and likely limited to one main possibility.
Patrick Stewart's Presence Might Just Make Seeing The Age of Apocalypse More Likely
There's a whole lot more about exactly why an adaptation of the (classic X-Men comic book storyline) The Age of Apocalypse would make sense for Wolverine 3 right here, but the general gist of it is this:
Professor X's crazed son goes back in time and kills him, causing the future to change dramatically - with Magneto ultimately becoming the founder and leader of the X-Men. The world, however, doesn't do so well out of the deal, with Apocalypse having taken over North America, and instituted a genocidal dictatorship. Many established heroes are now villains working for Apocalypse - and many villains have found it in themselves to be heroes...
Which...doesn't, on the surface, seem the most natural of storylines for Patrick Stewart to appear in, what with Professor X being dead in it and all...
One Small Change Could Make All the Difference, Though
Y'see, not only have we already seen Professor X die on screen, but we've seen him magically return with no particular explanation - meaning the impact of him dying at the end of X-Men: Apocalypse (which Wolverine 3 featuring the Age of Apocalypse pretty much hinges on) would be relatively limited.
If, however, the movie was to kill off Magneto?
Well, that'd be...huge.
After all, it'd mean that Ian McKellen's older version of the villain (one of the true mainstays of the X-Men franchise) would...never have existed at all. Or, in other words, it'd be like the ending of Empire Strikes Back all over again...
Wolverine 3, then, could wind up showing us the surprisingly dystopian future that results from Magneto's absence - perhaps even combining the Age of Apocalypse and the long-rumored Old Man Logan into one story, at which Patrick Stewart's Professor X is at the center.
Could he, perhaps, even be playing the villain?
That'd certainly be 'different'...
What do you think, though?