With The Wolverine in post-production for release next summer and X-Men: Days of Future Past preparing to begin shooting in the spring (possibly in 3D and 48fps), we're beginning to learn more and more about each project from the talent involved.
Hugh Jackman just confirmed an X-Men character will be making a cameo appearance in The Wolverine, and Bryan Singer revealed Jackman will reprise the role for Days of Future Past. Now, both James McAvoy and Sir Patrick Stewart are being questioned about their return as the young and old Professor X in the next mutant team-up epic as well.
When we chatted with McAvoy early last year, well before X-Men: First Class released, we inquired about the transition between his portrayal as a young Charles Xavier with a full head of hair to the more mature, more bald and paralyzed version from the books, previously played by Stewart. He simply said to us "You’ll have to wait and see, you’ll have to wait and see."
As we know, by the end of First Class, Charles takes a bullet and loses the feeling in his legs and we see him for the first time using a wheelchair. He's still got his hair though and after the movie released, McAvoy said the following to Hero Complex:
"And we still are left with the big question: How does he lose his hair? In the comic books there’s a very clear and easy answer, but we didn't go with that. In the comics it happened when he was very young and when his powers activated. We've obviously gone away from that. Now, obviously, we can’t start the next movie with him bald. Not only is that easy and cheap, we’d be passing up an opportunity for a cool story point. I don’t know what it is — we need to come up with something that justifies doing it. Maybe he got some dodgy Australian shampoo….”
A cool story point? Skip forward to present and in an interview with Total Film, McAvoy elaborated on the hair situation:
"[screenwriter] Simon Kinberg and I had a chat about it and we came up with a whole bunch of ideas about how, why and where he might go bald. It's got to be linked to the plot though. In the comics, he lost his hair as soon as his powers awakened, and we clearly didn't follow the source material. It can't just be that he looks in the mirror at the end of the film and goes 'Oh [frick], I’m losing my hair'. Although that could be quite funny with all this shit going on... he goes 'Arge, I’m really stressed...'"
The issue of Xavier's baldness is bigger than it should be, and with it being a topic of discussion for two films now, expectations on how McAvoy transforms into the traditional Professor X 'look' are high. If Singer and Kinberg don't have some creative, unexpected way for young Charles to lose his hair (after losing his ability to walk in First Class), then they're setting themselves for disappointment.
As for the older version of Professor X, Sir Patrick Stewart - who can now safely discuss his return to the franchise - has very little info to offer, outside of sharing his excitement.
"I'm very happy to report that Bryan Singer is coming back to direct the movie. I'm very happy that my lovely friend Ian McKellen is going to be with me. I don't know anyone else who is to be involved in the project. Maybe it's just the two of us! That would be a movie! Magneto and Xavier's conversations…. I'm not being cute. That's all I know. Maybe once the holidays are over, more information will begin to come through. I have a vague idea of the time commitments, but I don't know where we’re going to shoot. But I’m greatly looking forward to it."
We don't have any info on just how long that time commitment is, and if we did, we could begin to speculate on how large a role the older Professor X and Magento play in the film and how much of it will take place in the present/future.
Stewart's role as Professor X, founder of the X-Men, was instrumental in the X-Men trilogy until meeting his untimely demise in X3. He returned for a cameo appearance in X-Men Origins: Wolverine. With X-Men: Days of Future Past we don't yet know if the film will offer an alternate look at the future or if it will attempt to pick up from where the third film left off where in a post-credits scene Charles Xavier was seemingly resurrected in the body of a comatose patient - who may or may not be his twin brother.
Bryan Singer will direct X-Men: Days of Future Past with returning stars Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, Nicholas Hoult, Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen, who could be joined by the return of Hugh Jackman, Famke Janssen, Anna Paquin, James Marsden, Ellen Page, Shawn Ashmore. Stay tuned! The Wolverine releases July 26, 2013 and X-Men: Days of Future Past hits theaters on July 18, 2014. -
Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes.
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