On the eve of the opening of the latest installment of the Fox X-franchise Logan, Patrick Stewart has announced his retirement from the role of Professor X, which he first played in Fox's X-Men in 2000. It's remarkable to consider that is 17 years ago now, and encompasses the entirety of what might be considered the modern era of the superhero franchise film — Before Raimi's Spider-Man (2002), long before Marvel Studios' Iron Man (2008). Well played, Patrick Stewart. Well played.
"A week ago, Friday night in Berlin, the three of us sat, watching the movie," said Stewart. "And I was so moved by it, much more moved than I had been the first time of seeing it. Maybe it was the company of these two guys, but the movie ended and — this is an admission — but at one point [Hugh] reached out, and he took my hand in those last few minutes, and I saw him go [mimes wiping a tear from his eye] like this, and then I realized I had just done the same thing. Then, the movie ended… and we were going to be taken up on stage, but not until the credits were over. So, we had some time to sit there and, as I sat there I realized there will never be a better, a more perfect, a more sensitive, emotional, and beautiful way of saying au revoir to Charles Xavier than this movie. So, I told [Hugh] that same evening, 'I'm done too. It's all over.'"
Stewart first played Xavier (a.k.a. Professor X) in 2000's X-Men and reprised the role in 2003's X-Men 2, 2006's X-Men: The Last Stand, 2009's X-Men Origins: Wolverine, 2013's Mangold-directed The Wolverine, and 2014's X-Men: Days of Future Past.