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Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen won’t appear in X-Men: Apocalypse

With 2014’s X-Men: Days of Future Past essentially resetting the X-Men cinematic universe and firmly establishing the younger versions of Charles Xavier, Magneto, and the rest of the series’ mutants as the primary timeline explored in the franchise, it was suspected that we might have seen the last of Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen as Xavier and Magneto. Now, Stewart himself has offered some confirmation that, at the very least, the pair won’t be returning for the next installment of the franchise, X-Men: Apocalypse.

“It is going to be looking very much at the earlier lives of all our characters,” Stewart told Larry King during an interview on Larry King Now. “So I don’t think we’ll be making an appearance.”

Stewart also offered fairly definitive “No” when asked if he’d be in the 2016 film, which pits Marvel’s popular mutants against the powerful En Sabah Nur — the mutant known as “Apocalypse.”

Still, fans of Stewart’s version of Xavier should take heart in some of the actor’s comments, which also indicated that he’s been keeping in touch with the studio regarding the franchise.

“I was learning quite a lot more about it last night,” he mentioned, suggesting that the door certainly hasn’t been closed on the actor reprising the role now played by James McAvoy.

X-Men: Apocalypse is currently scheduled for a May 27, 2016, arrival in theaters. Directed by Bryan Singer, the film features the return of McAvoy and Michael Fassbender as Charles Xavier and Magneto, respectively. They’ll be joined by confirmed returning cast members Jennifer Lawrence (as Mystique) and Nicholas Hoult (as Hank “Beast” McCoy), as well as new cast member Oscar Isaac as Apocalypse.

You can watch the X-Men segment of Larry King’s interview with Stewart below (which is worth watching just to see Larry King say “X-Men: Apocalypse”):