Ian McKellen talks ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’ return: ‘What a gas!’

Just call him Ian McKellen, franchise-hopper.

Only two weeks out from the release of Peter Jackson’s “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” (in which McKellen returns as Gandalf the wizard), word has come down that the seasoned actor and his “X-Men” cast-mate Patrick Stewart will reprise the roles of Magneto and Professor X, respectively, in Bryan’s Singer’s time-traveling “First Class” follow-up “Days of Future Past.” (Note: Reports also have Hugh Jackman in talks to play Wolverine.)

So how does McKellen feel about coming on board for another round? As evidenced by a recent interview with the Huffington Post, “excited” seems an appropriate description.

“What a gas!” exclaimed McKellen when asked about returning to the series. “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 [laughs]. I thought these were [Michael] Fassbender and [James] McAvoy’s parts, but — no, no — we’re back. We’ll give them a run for their money. 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.”

So does that mean we’ll see an on-set rivalry heating up between the seasoned thesps and their younger on-screen doppelgangers?

“No, no,” said McKellen to the idea that he somehow feels competitive with Fassbender, who plays a younger version of the “X-Men” baddie. “I thought he was better than me. But, we weren’t quite playing the same character because he was so much younger than me. …I was just the lucky guy who got to play him first.”

“X-Men: Days of Future Past” is slated for release on July 18, 2014.

Are you excited to see McKellen back as Magneto in “Days of Future Past”? Which actor do you prefer in the role? Let us know in the comments.