Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is set to push the concept of alternate realities to the forefront of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, meaning that there's a strong chance that previous iterations of Marvel characters could make an appearance in the sequel.
A prime candidate could be Charles Xavier, but given that the character was portrayed by two different actors, it is unknown which version would end up making an appearance in the MCU sequel.
Patrick Stewart, who played the older version of Xavier, revealed in a previous interview that he had "long conversations" with Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige about a potential return, but the actor shared that his final portrayal in Logan essentially dashed hopes of a comeback.
Meanwhile, James McAvoy, the other half of the Charles Xavier equation, recently shared that he "feel[s] quite satisfied with what [he] got out of [Professor X] as a performer" but clarified that he "never say[s] never."
Now, amidst the multiverse-sized rumors about the Doctor Strange sequel, McAvoy has once again addressed a potential MCU return.
James McAvoy Addresses Marvel Return (Again)
James McAvoy, who played the younger version of Charles Xavier in Fox's X-Men franchise, sat down with Comicbook to talk about a potential Marvel return.
When asked if he's still interested in returning as the famous X-Men professor, McAvoy first admitted that he's "all about doing good stuff" while referencing the time that he initially portrayed the Marvel character:
"I'm all about doing good stuff, and when I got asked to play Charles the first time, it was good stuff. It was good writing, and I was excited."
The X-Men: First Class actor then shared that he's always going to be excited "if people offer [him] good writing," but he also pointed out that he felt that he already had a "good ending" with Charles Xavier:
"If people offer me good writing, I'm always going to be excited, but I do feel like I've had a good ending with Charles and I got to explore some really good stuff, particularly in the first two movies that I did for him as a character. So if my time is done, I'm happy with the time that I spent and the time that I was given and if good writing comes in and people want to do stuff with me, I'll always be open to that, but it's got to be good."
McAvoy then expressed his confidence and excitement for whatever comes next for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, admitting that the crew from Marvel Studios are "clever people:"
"They're clever people. They're so good at putting their stuff together. They'll figure out where to do it, but that might not involve people who've done it before. It might be a complete reimagining. And as a fan, I'm down for that as well and I'd be excited to see what happens next. If what happens next involves us, then that could be cool, but I'm not sure what way they're going to go with it, basically. But as a fan, I'm excited to see whatever way they go."
Will James McAvoy's Charles Xavier Finally Return?
Based on the actor's latest comments, it's no secret that James McAvoy enjoyed his time playing Charles Xavier in Fox's X-Men franchise. McAvoy made his Marvel debut during 2011's X-Men: First Class, reprising the role in 2014's X-Men: Days of Future Past, 2016's X-Men Apocalypse, and 2019's Dark Phoenix.
On a plot level, McAvoy's Xavier ended his heroic adventure on an uncertain note during Dark Phoenix, meaning that there's an open chance for the actor to return down the line. While McAvoy did point out that he's happy with Xavier's ending in the Fox franchise, the actor's comments about "good writing" could hint that he would be open to a comeback if Marvel Studios managed to create a unique way to bring him back.
Still, the fact that McAvoy is excited about whatever direction the MCU will decide for Charles Xavier is already a win for both fans and the studio.
In a way, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness could be the perfect avenue for multiversal characters like McAvoy's Xavier to return in a natural fashion. This is further amplified by a rumor that Elizabeth Olsen's Scarlet Witch will fight against an X-Men or Fantastic Four character in the sequel, but the identity of her enemy is still unknown.
However, in an apparent Multiverse of Madness leak, it has been revealed that Patrick Stewart's iteration of Charles Xavier may be the one fighting Wanda instead of McAvoy's younger version. While fans can take this leak with a grain of salt, there's a chance that Xavier could indeed pop up in the sequel to pose a challenge to the Scarlet Witch.
Still, it's quite possible that McAvoy's Xavier will also be involved in the battle against Wanda Maximoff, mainly because of the multiverse shenanigans that will occur in the film. Whether or not Stewart or McAvoy will stick around is another question altogether.
Many would agree that the battle between the two mutants would definitely be a visual treat, and it will be interesting to find out if this will end up happening in the Doctor Strange sequel.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will premiere in theaters on March 25, 2022.