It's a horrible inevitability with all great comic book movie performances that they will have to eventually come to an end. Hugh Jackman is on his way out as Wolverine, the end seems to be creeping near for Robert Downey Jr and even Chris Evans seems to be growing out of Captain America. Replacing them will be a nightmare, if it's one wrong.
For the X-Men franchise, it's a slightly different story: they've already replaced most of their older cast (aside from Jackman), thanks to the prequel and timeline shifts. But in bringing back the original cast for Days Of Future Past (and now Wolverine 3), Fox have made it necessary for us to say goodbye again.
Sadly, it looks like that time is coming for Sir Patrick Stewart's version of Professor Charles Xavier. In an interview with ITV, he spoke for the first time about the forthcoming Wolverine sequel, and while he's sworn to secrecy, he did still sneaked in the detail that he's probably done with the character:
"I would imagine this is probably the end of this franchise for me. But the thing about science fiction and fantasy is that you can never, ever say it's the end, it's over."
He should know, since he's already been revived once when X-Men: The Last Stand killed him (in more ways than one). So he does concede that finality is often misplaced...
"Yes, I have, I have [been killed before]. Jean Grey vaporized me, from which you would think there would be no return."
Does this mean we're likely to see him killed off? Could he be haunting Wolverine? Now, there's a nice idea.
There definitely does seem to be a more pronounced sense of finality about Wolverine 3, particularly as it looks like Jackman's time is up too. Having a final chapter for another beloved character actually also makes sense, no matter how much it stings.
And there is intriguing news on that front from Stewart, who says his take on the character this time out is nothing like what we've seen previously:
"But watch out! In March, I’m going to be back on the screen again. A very different Charles Xavier, that’s all I’m allowed to say. Nothing like the Charles Xavier you’ve seen in the past."
Do you think it's the right time to say goodbye to old timer Xavier? Share your reactions below in the comments thread.