MCU Fan Theory: The New Version of Professor X Won’t Be Anything Like We’ve Seen Before

In both Patrick Stewart’s and James McAvoy’s versions of X-Men leader Charles Xavier, the professor was an authoritative figure who had his shortcomings. Intelligent as he was, he could sometimes be a little too convinced of his own wisdom, and make misguided decisions. 

Now, a Marvel theory suggests that when Professor X does make his eventual appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, he will be more “blatantly” flawed in trying to cover up his misdeeds. One could also argue this already happened in a movie a lot of people didn’t see: Dark Phoenix.

Patrick Stewart vs. James McAvoy: How were they different?

Patrick Stewart visits the SiriusXM Hollywood Studio
Patrick Stewart visits the SiriusXM Hollywood Studio | Emma McIntyre/Getty Images

Patrick Stewart played the professor in the X-Men movies of the 2000s and again in X-Men: Days of Future Past when the old and the new timelines crossed. His version of Charles was the wizened old leader, somebody who’s been around the block many times and who gained a lot of experience. He had his failings, leading to his eventual frail appearance in Logan, which closed the door on the old X-Men timeline. 

James McAvoy’s Charles, seen in X-Men First Class, X-Men Apocalypse and Dark Phoenix, was equally intellectually brilliant, but he was more given to exposing Charles flaws. He could be a skirt-chaser in his earlier days, and his vanity led him to believe his telepathic abilities were less important than his ability to walk.

It’s possible to read this as the Charles that eventually became Patrick Stewart and Stewart was good at hiding his past weaknesses. 

Those weaknesses came to the fore in Dark Phoenix, which revealed that he tampered with Jean Grey’s mind, putting up mental barriers in an effort to protect her from trauma, but this backfires badly when Jean becomes the Dark Phoenix and can’t control her enhanced powers. Charles has to reckon with his well-meaning but wrongheaded actions to a degree he had not done before. 

What would the MCU Professor X be like?

Among the many fan theories kicking around Reddit is that the MCU’s professor will be a more vulnerable, arrogant type.

The fan who suggested it writes: “The MCU’s Professor X will be more blatantly flawed from the start than either of the previous versions. Like Michael Gambon’s portrayal of Dumbledore from the later Harry Potter films, Xavier will have more of a temper as well as being more manipulative and dishonest to his allies and students.”

This fan further suggested that while this Xavier will ultimately mean well, his dishonest methods will bring him into conflict with other superheroes, including The Avengers. Another fan asked if this would be more flawed than the Charles of Days of Future Past, presumably referring to the McAvoy version. 

Another fan responded: “That was a good man going through a rough patch, not an inherently dishonest man fighting for a good cause.”

Xavier’s inherent dishonesty that took place in Dark Phoenix is not mentioned.  

Just when will the X-Men show up in the MCU?

All this is contingent on the X-Men showing up in the MCU in the first place, and no one knows when that will be. If Kevin Feige knows, he isn’t telling, as ever, but he has said previously that it would be quite sometime before the former Fox characters would appear. This is in line with questions about reviving former Netflix shows like Daredevil, which Marvel may not be in a big hurry to do. 

In other words, Feige and his team seem to be most interested in making movies and shows about characters that movie audiences have not seen, or that the MCU has already introduced, rather than rebooting other producers’ prior attempts. Given that Dark Phoenix bombed, making less than $100 million in the US, there is probably a general feeling that neither Marvel nor most of the public is hungry for a new Charles, however flawed.