In 2011, the X-Men franchise wound the clock back to explore the title superhero team’s origins in X-Men: First Class, and Wanted’s James McAvoy was cast as the younger Charles Xavier, a.k.a. Professor X. McAvoy reprised that role three more times, with his last outing being in 2019’s Dark Phoenix, but would he be willing to return to the Professor X role someday? As the actor sees it, he’s satisfied with where he left things off with the Marvel Comics character.
While promoting his work on Audible’s The Sandman Part II audio drama, James McAvoy was asked Collider how he felt about being done playing Professor X. He responded:
After following along with Patrick Stewart’s experienced Professor X in X-Men, X2: X-Men United and X-Men: The Last Stand (along with a cameo in X-Men Origins: Wolverine), X-Men: First Class provided the opportunity to show Charles Xavier taking his first steps to becoming one of mutantkind’s greatest figures. While it was clarified in X-Men: Days of Future Past that McAvoy’s Charles was indeed Stewart’s version from decades past rather than a completely rebooted version, the timeline changes in that movie allowed McAvoy’s Charles to travel down an altered life path in X-Men: Apocalypse and Dark Phoenix. By the time the events of the latter movie unfolded, 30 years had passed since McAvoy’s Professor X met Michael Fassbender’s Magneto and was shot in the spine.
James McAvoy also clarified that it’s not like he would turn down the opportunity to reprise Professor X if it came along, but he also won’t be depressed if that doesn’t happen. In his words:
With four X-Men movies under his belt, James McAvoy was certainly given more time to explore the character than most actors score with roles. He trails Patrick Stewart’s time as Professor X by three movies, as Stewart, along with the appearances mentioned earlier, also cameoed in The Wolverine and played a key role in Logan. While Dark Phoenix marked the end of the main X-Men film series, 2020’s The New Mutants was the final installment in the franchise as a whole in the Fox era, and now the plan is to reboot the mutant-led property for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Considering that Marvel Studios has opened up the multiverse within the MCU franchise, perhaps there will come a day where James McAvoy is able to play his version of Professor X again, even if it’s just for a quick appearance. For now, you can currently see McAvoy starring alongside Claire Foy in My Son on Peacock, and he’ll also be back as Lord Asriel Belacqua in the final season of HBO’s His Dark Materials. Those of you wondering what’s coming up in the MCU should look through our upcoming Marvel movies guide.
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