At the very start of the modern era of superhero movies, Sir Patrick Stewart helped to usher in a new round of excellent storytelling as he played Professor Charles Xavier in 2000’s X-Men for 20th Century Fox. Now, after five other appearances in the X-Men saga, Stewart got the incredible opportunity to reprise a version of his role for Marvel Studios in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
Stewart had been in the MCU news stream for quite some time ahead of his debut, first coming into the news for a potential return after it was teased in the second full trailer - which was released during Super Bowl LV in February. Marvel and the team behind Doctor Strange 2 did their best to keep Stewart’s inclusion as secretive as possible, as per the usual Marvel standard, not revealing the character in full until the movie premiered on the big screen.
With the X-Men now finally under the Marvel Studios umbrella, there were naturally going to be some changes for Professor X as he joined a universe with other heroes like Doctor Strange and the Scarlet Witch. Now, the man behind the original X-Men lead has shared his thoughts on what it was like to come back in a new way for this epic MCU crossover event.
Patrick Stewart on X-Men Return
Patrick Stewart spoke with Variety about his return to play Professor X in Marvel Studios’ Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
When asked about donning the character’s classic wheelchair from the comics, Stewart admitted to being a little worried about stopping it before it fell over a flight of stairs or anything like that. He also called the MCU “a very, very different world” than what he saw in the Fox films, but he said he was “very, very happy” to take on the role again
"Yes! It was very unlike the Porsche that I was driving in the films. That was a very fast, very manipulative wheelchair. And when I first saw the monster that I was going to be driving in this one, I was dismayed. But it was fine. It worked very well. I had to bring it to a stop before a flight of stairs. That was my only concern, was that I would somehow get out of control and go all the way down the stairs in this thing! But it was a very, very different world from the X-Men movies, with references here and there, of course. But I was very, very happy."
Stewart emphasized that Multiverse of Madness' set was "a very different environment" from Fox's X-Men productions, presumably due to the Multiversal nature of his scenes. He also touched on how emotional the ending of 2017's Logan was for his character, but he made it clear that he was proud to be a part of the MCU now with this new version of the character as well.
"Well, it was a day-and-a-half’s work. I was in a very different environment from the one that I had ever been in, in any of the X-Men movies. And just like Picard, I was grateful for it, because I could think refreshingly about who he was and how he related to others. Just like Star Trek: Picard, I was a little unsure at first if it was a wise thing to do. Given that Logan had been such a powerful movie and we watched him die in Hugh Jackman’s arms. So having seen [Doctor Strange 2] on Monday night, I’m very happy and very proud that I’ve been part of that."
From Fox's X-Men to Marvel's MCU
Patrick Stewart put in an incredible effort to help build superhero movies in the modern era before the MCU took that concept and ran full-speed ahead with it. Now, he has a unique opportunity to revisit a role that he is so deeply connected to in a whole new universe with characters and settings that he's never seen before.
For this movie, Stewart got to go fully comic-accurate with Charles Xavier thanks to the enormous yellow hoverchair that made its way to the big screen in the halls of the Illuminati's headquarters. Having first played the role using something closer to a classic wheelchair, this was a major change for the 81-year-old Marvel legend as he got used to the size and maneuverability of his upgraded mode of transportation.
WARNING: The rest of this article contains spoilers for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
This movie also gave him a chance to interact with heroes Professor X has never encountered on the big screen - everyone from Hayley Atwell's Captain Carter to John Krasinski's Reed Richards and more. All in all, Stewart moved seamlessly into this enormous MCU adventure, and even though he didn't make it out alive, there's always a chance he could come back for more thrilling action.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is currently playing in theaters worldwide.