In X-Men: Days of Future Past, James McAvoy describes why he wanted Professor X to look very different from Patrick Stewart’s version of him in the 1970s. It is easy to forget that, back in 2014, X-Men: Days of Future Past was among the first comic book movies to begin exploring the possibility of larger on-screen hero ensembles alongside The Avengers. Avengers: Endgame has now demonstrated just how grand a stage the superhero crossover can find itself on. Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine was sent back in time to seek out younger iterations of Magneto and Professor X to thwart an assassination that would otherwise result in the destruction of his universe in the present.
When Stewart’s Professor X, Wolverine’s recurring mentor, assigns him this crucial task, the character is played by McAvoy in a traumatized and disorganized state, and Wolverine tracks McAvoy down. According to McAvoy, who spoke to GQ, he insisted that this younger version of the character appear to be in the early stages of drug addiction and be very different from the reassuring, wise aura that fans were accustomed to seeing from Professor X. View the star’s comments below:
“When I found out that Patrick was going to be in the movie, and look how Patrick does playing Professor X, I wanted to have long hair and look like I smoke a lot of weed. And maybe do a little bit of something stronger, in the ‘70s, set in my purple haze. Just to show how far that journey is going to have to be to make him into Patrick Stewart… I had such little hair at this point and we ended up doing an 18-hour hair extension session in one sitting… But by the end of it, I looked like Professor X in “Days of Future Past”.”
What Makes The Two Xavier’s Different
McAvoy’s stylistic decisions for his younger version of Xavier served significant narrative purposes rather than just emphasizing the physical differences between the two generations of the character. His Xavier is introduced in X-Men: Day of Future Past as being severely affected by his injuries as well as the lack of control he seems to have over his powers. McAvoy’s Xavier lost the use of his legs after receiving a stray bullet to the spine in the climax of X-Men: First Class. The Xavier of the 1970s is depicted as being in hiding from both the outside world and his inner demons after taking a drug that restores his use of his legs while also controlling his powers. This is very different from Stewart’s stoic, guiding presence, who always seemed to be at the forefront of the battle for right despite suffering great personal sacrifice.
In the end, McAvoy’s 18-hour hair extension session was a humorous and admirable effort on his part, but it was the aesthetic’s connection to the narrative that set his portrayal of Professor X in X-Men: Days of Future Past apart. The possibility of McAvoy’s Xavier developing a drug addiction is given considerable weight in his traumatized state, where he is still reeling from his physical wounds and fighting against the overwhelming power of his exceptional telepathy. Additionally, it results in an intriguing role switch where Wolverine is forced to advise Xavier back onto the right path rather than the other way around.
The two Xaviers meet in one of X-Men: Days of Future Past’s most moving scenes, where Stewart’s more experienced character starts McAvoy on the path to becoming the beloved Professor X that fans so dearly adore. A wounded young hero realizes the man he can become once he overcomes the despair of his past in this quiet moment of self-reflection among all the explosions, powers, & action of a classic comic book story. The movie continues to be one of Marvel’s most well-liked on-screen productions, and McAvoy’s efforts to give his character depth and meaning by making minor aesthetic adjustments highlight how far detail can go in making big blockbusters feel just a little bit more special.
Source: GQ (Via YouTube)