Hugh Jackman has been playing Wolverine since 2000, appearing as the man formerly known as James Howlett in all eight main X-Men films (and getting royally mocked in Deadpool), most recently in his feral post-Weapon X form in X-Men: Apocalypse. All that’s going to end in next year’s Logan, however. The third Wolverine standalone has long been advertised as the final go round for Jackman as the Canadian mutant and, as it’s shaping up to be something of a passing of the adamantium torch, with Logan protecting Dafne Keen.’s X-23, there’s been much speculation of the character’s fate in the film.
Jackman’s not the only old guard X-Men actor making an appearance in the film. The (very loose) Old Man Logan comic book adaptation also features Patrick Stewart’s Professor X in grizzled, aged form providing moral advice to the wandering Wolverine once more. It’s likewise presumed this will be the actor’s final turn (after five X-Men movies), and a new promotional image for the film suggests it won’t be a happy ever after, either.
Official Instagram account wponx, which is behind several previous revealing shots from the film’s set, has posted an image simply titled “Bullet” that appears to show Logan’s car riddled with bullet holes. Beyond simply saying Logan and Charles are going to come up against some stiff resistance from the movie’s villains, other users have pointed out that the majority of the holes are focused on the back seat where the Professor is sitting in the Logan trailer. With that in mind, it sure looks like he’s going to bite the dust.
The notion of Logan killing off Professor X has been floating around ever since Stewart was announced, but the evidence is really starting to stack up. The movie’s trailer is certainly a moody piece that had a real sense of doom underpinning it and doesn’t promise much in the way of laughs. That is to say: having the beloved X-Men mentor offed would fit right into that tone.
Crucially. unlike Wolverine, who through his regenerative abilities and lengthy lifespan can only really be played by Jackman, killing Professor X needn’t be the end of his character. He’s been resurrected once before (Jean Grey killed him in The Last Stand) and the X-series’ multiple timelines and incredibly lax approach to continuity leaves plenty of room for more telekinetic fun; especially considering that you have James MacAvoy, who’s three films deep himself into the part, ready for more past adventures. Logan is set in the year 2024, while we last saw young Charles in 1983, so there’s plenty of time to fill.
That said, killing off Professor X (and possibly Wolverine) would certainly act as a major sign that we’re entering a new era of X-Men films, with two essential characters who’ve been around since the very start signing off. The franchise is moving into increasingly diverse areas – alongside Deadpool‘s offshoot, developing movies like X-Force and New Mutants act as spin-offs from the standard continuity – and away from the typical X-Men movie ensemble adventures, so offing two icons is a symbolic way to strongly move into that future.
Of course, this is far from confirmation – that could be a different truck or Charles could somehow avoid the bullets. Indeed, as strong a message as killing him would make, there’s certainly an argument for Professor X’s surviving to give Logan‘s ending a hint of optimism, especially if Wolverine is going to die. Still, for now it’s definitely worth speculating on.