Logan presented the perfect opportunity for Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart to bid farewell to the X-Men franchise, in which they respectively played Wolverine and Charles Xavier for around seventeen years. Logan not only won the fans’ hearts, it also garnered high praise from critics. However, prior to making the commitment to appear in the R-rated blockbuster, Stewart was a bit worried about the effect of his role on his career.
In X-Men: Days of Future Past, the mutants decided to make Kitty Pryde navigate one of them to the past to prevent the creation of the Sentinels. Xavier was unable to make the journey because he wasn't strong enough, and the journey was likely to kill him. Logan’s version of Stewart's character was over 90 years old, and he was suffering from an unknown brain disease that caused his telepathic abilities to become unstable. At times, he didn't even recognize Jackman's character.
Fans and critics alike loved Charles Xavier in the March 3, 2017 release, but Stewart was concerned that he would be typecast after the movie. The British actor told Mirror UK:
There might have been moments before Logan when I thought, “If I do this, and I really go for it, am I only going to get cast as geriatrics from now on?” I am not quite there yet [laughs]! Will people say, “Oh, no, we can't have him playing a healthy, fit individual. He is just too weak and frail and old.” But screw it! It was so much fun.
Stewart revealed that prior to filming Logan, he was preparing to play a man suffering from a similar type of brain degeneration in a stage play, and had consulted with now-deceased neurologist Oliver Sacks as part of his research for that role:
Then when I met James Mangold and found that he, too, really wanted to push into the depths of Charles's distress and despair and confusion and anger and fury - as well as his unpredictability - I was all for it. And I enjoyed every aspect of it, particularly given that I was going to be sharing almost all of my time with Hugh.
We’re so glad that the 76-year-old actor overcame his doubts! Otherwise, we would have been deprived of his outstanding performance as Charles Xavier in Logan.