Ian McKellen has admitted that he and Patrick Stewart never expected to return to the X-Men franchise.
The veteran actors starred in the original trilogy of X-Men films between 2000 and 2006. Stewart played Professor Xavier, while McKellen portrayed his rival Magneto. Last year (2011), Marvel Studios revived the franchise with a prequel called X-Men: First Class, in which James McAvoy played a younger version of Xavier and Michael Fassbender took on the Magneto role.
A follow-up to First Class is now in the works – titled X Men: Days Of Future Past. Earlier this week (November 27), director Bryan Singer announced that the new movie will feature appearances from all four actors.
When asked about his return to X-Men, McKellen told The Huffington Post: “What a gas! I mean, Patrick Stewart and I have been have just been playing Waiting for Godot throughout England and in the West End of London. So, we’ve stayed in touch. We can’t believe it. I thought these were Fassbender and McAvoy’s parts, but – no, no – we’re back. We’ll give them a run for their money.”
However, McKellen also admitted that he has no idea how extensive their roles in Days Of Future Past will be. He added: “I mean, I haven’t read the script, so I don’t know how much we’ve got to do. But, to be back in that world, and for Bryan to be doing it – with all the success he’s had in the meantime — it’s wonderful. Wonderful.”
X Men: Days Of Future Past begins filming early next year (2013) and is scheduled for release on July 18, 2014. The script is being written by Simon Kinberg, who has previously revealed that the story will focus on Magneto, the character played by McKellen and Fassbender.