It’s been known for quite some time that the upcoming next entry in the X-Men film franchise, X-Men: Apocalypse, is shifting things towards the young folks. As Patrick Stewart seemed to express a few weeks back that both his and Ian McKellen’s moment in the mutant spotlight appeared to be over. Well, it seems that, much like Captain Picard running into Lwaxana Troi in a galactic singles bar, Stewart has just made an abrupt u-turn. According to his latest comments, he might just be headed back to his signature wheelchair. However, in an even bigger stunner, he reveals that McKellen might be back to his magnetizing days as well... in next year’s X-Men: Apocalypse! Wha!?...
In an interview largely about his latest film, Match, Stewart spoke a bit with with Oregon Live about his future with the X-Men franchise. Fully aware of Stewart’s previous comments regarding Apocalypse, the interviewer asked for a confirmation or update on the situation, and the answer the actor gave was something completely unexpected. In addition to hinting that Professor Xavier would be featured alongside Hugh Jackman in the next Wolverine, he also dropped a bombshell about his partner in crime, Ian McKellen’s Apocalypse prospects. Said Stewart
Magneto, Ian McKellen, is certainly going to be in it. And what I'm very excited about is that we have been talking about a Wolverine movie, which would team Hugh Jackman and myself together. Wolverine and Professor Xavier. That would be a very different sort of "X-Men" from the four movies that I've already done.
This is surprising news on a number of levels. Last year’s X-Men: Days of Future Past gave us a continuity-colliding reunion with the cast of older 2000’s era films, seemingly designed to christen the younger cast of mutants established in 2011’s First Class and have them move on to do their own thing. It was seemingly the proper sendoff to the older cast of the Singer/Ratner films, as we delved deeper down the X-Men rabbit hole with a new generation stepping into mutant roles both old and new. With that in mind, the recent news that Stewart and McKellen would NOT return to their roles seemed to roll off our backs, because it made sense. But apparently the torch has not yet been passed for good.
With X-Men: Apocalyse set in the early 1980s, it's true that the main Master of Magnetism in the film will be played by Michael Fassbender - reprising the role from both First Class and Days of Future Past - but there are plenty of narrative options that could be utilized in order to bring Ian McKellen's version back. The most obvious choice would be some kind of flash-forward, giving us a quick look at what winds up happening to Magneto in the future now that the franchise timeline has been reset. Another possibility that we can't necessarily discount is the reintroduction of time travel and having the film give us a look at two different timelines with both an older and younger Magneto. Maybe there will even be a way for these versions of the characters to communicate with one another, a la what James McAvoy and Patrick Stewart got to do with their Professor Xavier incarnations in Days of Future Past.
Hopefully more details will be revealed soon, as X-Men: Apocalypse is looking to start production very soon in Montreal on the road to its established release date on May 27, 2016.