Why Fans Should Be Happy Patrick Stewart Isn’t Joining the MCU
Some actors will always be indelibly linked to certain characters. In the case of Patrick Stewart, he will always be known to Star Trek and X-Men fans as Jean Luc Picard and Professor Charles Xavier, respectively. In the latter case, the actor made such an impression that not even James McAvoy’s turn in X-Men: First Class and its sequels could supersede the gravitas Stewart brought.
Indeed, the actor legitimized Fox’s X-Men franchise right from the start. So Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige naturally sought a meeting with Stewart about the future. After all, now Marvel Studios has regained custody of the X-Men and is looking to introduce the characters into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Alas, Stewart will not be reprising Professor X anytime soon. But here’s why this news is exactly what fans should be hoping for.
The MCU doesn’t need the convoluted continuity of ‘X-Men’
So far, the MCU has functioned pretty cleanly within its established canon. Every film from Iron Man to Spider-Man: Far from Home takes place within the same continuity. The story builds on each other, with intermittent jumps to the farthest reaches of space or the deep recesses of the 1990s.
But Fox’s X-Men barely holds together as it is. Fans have consistently mocked the timeline’s logistics ever since Stewart and McAvoy met up in X-Men: Days of Future Past. Any attempt to fold that timeline into the MCU would only create unnecessary complications. And casting Stewart in the MCU is tantamount to grandfathering in all the previous X-Men films.
Granted, Ryan Reynolds will transition into the MCU with Deadpool 3. However, Deadpool exists in his own continuity and has the luxury of being able to comment directly on any inconsistencies. Even though Marvel Studios will be exploring the multiverse soon, adding Stewart to the roster isn’t worth the trouble.
A partial recast of past ‘X-Men’ would taint the franchise’s future
Just as adding Stewart’s Professor X to the MCU would carry the entire X-Men timeline with it, it also makes it more difficult for Marvel Studios to recast. Having Stewart reprise his role implicitly adds the expectation that Halle Berry, James Marsden Famke Janssen, and Hugh Jackman could be back too.
That’s most certainly not the route Feige wants to head down. Remember, this is the studio that disregarded both Tobey Maguire’s and Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Men in favor of bringing in Tom Holland. Marvel Studios doesn’t need the burden of past X-Men decisions, including casting.
Right now, Feige has the chance to reinvent and reinterpret the X-Men characters on his own terms. He’s not going to trade this opportunity in to be beholden to everything that’s come before. Following the crushing failure of X-Men: Dark Phoenix, this is truer now than ever before.
Patrick Stewart already gave his Professor X the perfect send-off
On a more personal note, Stewart shouldn’t return to play Professor X because he already bid farewell to the character. As the actor himself admits, Logan provided Stewart with the chance to give a true sense of finality to Charles Xavier’s story.
With that film, Stewart took the character places he never thought possible. In the process, he delivered easily his best performance as Professor X. And moreover, he and Jackman got the chance to say goodbye to Xavier and Wolverine on their own terms.
Fans think they want Stewart, Jackman, and company in the MCU. But Feige is dodging a huge problem by starting fresh. If any actor should lead the charge toward closing that option, it’s Stewart. After all, just as his Professor X started the X-Men team, his portrayer should be the one to gently let fans know it’s time to let go.