The Office co-creator, known for his work with Ricky Gervais, is the latest name to join the cast of the X-Men spin off, in which Hugh Jackman, 47, will once again reprise his role as metal-clawed mutant superhero Logan/Wolverine, reports Deadline.com.

Few details about Merchant's role have been released, but he won't be the only Brit on board, as Richard E. Grant has also signed up to play a "villainous mad-scientist type" in the new instalment, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Narcos star Boyd Holbrook, 34, will also portray a bad guy, while franchise regular Patrick Stewart will return as X-Men leader Professor X.

Wolverine 3 is expected to be Hugh's last outing as the character, a role he has embodied since 2000.

The film, directed by James Mangold, is scheduled to be released in cinemas in March (17).

The superhero movie is one of two big blockbusters on Merchant's plate - he is also rumoured to be joining the cast of Transformers 5.