James McAvoy is Professor X in X-Men: First Class

Twentieth Century Fox and producers Lauren Shuler Donner and Bryan Singer are hard at work, fast-tracking production on X-Men: First Class, the prequel film about the formation of the young X-Men and the relationship between mutant leaders Professor X and Magneto.

With Kick-Ass director Matthew Vaughn officially on board to helm the project after rumors that he would and then would not sign on, the next step in the process is filling out the cast. X-Men: First Class is being re-written by Jane Goldman and will begin filming this summer for a release next summer. With that in mind, we can expect major casting decisions to start pouring in, beginning with today's report of James McAvoy (Wanted, Atonement) signing on to play Professor Charles Xavier.

You read that correctly. Patrick Stewart has been replaced by the young Scottish actor to play Professor X in X-Men: First Class, which means we'll likely be seeing an entirely new cast of actors taking over the roles of our favorite mutants.

As X-Men movie fans know, we saw at the end of X-Men Origins: Wolverine a de-aged Patrick Stewart playing a younger Professor X as he rescued Cyclops, Emma Frost and other mutants, a scene that acted as a lead-in to X-Men: First Class. With Stewart seemingly replaced, it's likely that the young actors we saw play the other mutants in Wolverine could all be replaced as well. That could mean no Tim Pocock as Scott Summers and no Tahyna Tozzi as Emma Frost.

This is not too surprising since we heard three weeks ago that Bryan Singer was using the casting process for his upcoming Jack the Giant Killer to find candidates to play Cyclops and Jean Grey.

McAvoy is a talented young actor but I have a hard time picturing him in the role at the moment. After being so accustomed to Stewart play the part - who was really born for the role - McAvoy just doesn't look like him at all. Maybe I just need to see him bald.

A few questions remain; Will McAvoy play Xavier throughout or in flashbacks with young Magneto? Will Stewart have any involvement or is he done until X-Men 4?

With an established actor taking over the Xavier character, we can expect another known star to take over the role of Magneto as well, while relative unknowns fill out the cast of young X-Men characters. We still don't know yet who will form the X-Men: First Class roster but we do know some new characters will be created just for the movie.

What do you think of James McAvoy playing Professor X?

Follow us on Twitter @rob_keyes and @screenrant.

If you’re a fan, check out our articles on What We Need From X-Men 4 and on What X-Men 3 Could Have Been.

X-Men: First Class opens June 3, 2011.

Source: Heat Vision

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