Sadly, there's no hope of seeing Patrick Stewart as Professor Charles Xavier in the upcoming X-Men: Apocalypse. But fear not, X-fans, because while James McAvoy enjoys his time in the role this summer, Stewart is preparing his return in director James Mangold's sequel to The Wolverine.
Stewart took to Twitter on Friday to confirm he's returning to Marvel's mutant universe, noting that his appearance was the "worst kept secret" of the upcoming Wolverine 3.
The announcement comes after Stewart was all but confirmed to return for the film. When producer Hutch Parker was asked about the star at the premiere of X-Men: Apocalypse, he told Collider:
"I will confirm Patrick Stewart is part of the film.”
Parker's comment should come as no surprise to fans, as Stewart himself noted back in August 2015 that he was likely to appear in the movie.
For Wolverine star Hugh Jackman, the inclusion of Stewart seems like a no-brainer. In a February interview with ScreenCrush, the actor was asked about Stewart's return, and had this to say:
"I don't want to give away too much about that. But, yes, there are some ideas brewing along that front. I've always thought that was a key relationship [for Wolverine] from the very beginning, from ‘X-Men 1’ and so, it'd be fun to explore that. (Laughs) I think..."
The plot for Wolverine 3 is rumored to pull from the popular Old Man Logan comics series, which follow a grizzled Wolverine in an alternate universe future where supervillains have conquered the globe. Professor X didn't appear in the series, but could find a place in its big-screen adaptation.
As Jackman notes, the relationship between Wolverine and the Professor is key to the X-Men films. The new movie could find Professor X once again calling on Wolverine's help, à la Days of Future Past, sending the reliable warrior off on yet another mission to save both mutant and mankind. And much like the early X-Men films, that journey could be a redemptive arc for the tragic character, illustrating his heroic qualities despite his tragic past.
Stewart joins Jackman in a cast that includes Narcos' Boyd Holbrook as the film's villain alongside Stephen Merchant, Richard E. Grant, Elise Neal and Eriq La Salle.
The currently untitled Wolverine 3 is set to hit theaters March 3, 2017.