X-Men star Patrick Stewart recently revealed in his new autobiography, Making It So: A Memoir, that he had no clue who Charles Xavier/Professor X was when he was first asked to play the X-Men leader back in 1997.
"Who on earth is that, Lauren?," Stewart recalled telling X-Men producer Lauren Donner after being approached to play powerful psychic mutant Charles Xavier. Even after she explained that he was the leader of the X-Men, Stewart was apparently still lost, writing, "This conversation made about as much sense to me as the one I'd had with Steve Dontanville all those years ago in which he asked me why Gene Roddenberry wanted to meet me. Charles Xavier? The X-Men? I hadn't a bloody clue what was going on."
Stewart continued, "Lauren patiently explained that X-Men was to be a big-budget film based on a Marvel Comics superhero team. Charles Xavier was the creation of comic book legends Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. He is a telepath and paraplegic who exists in a world where mutants represent the next phase in human evolution, but face discrimination and bigotry because of their superhuman powers. He oversees an academy called the Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters and a strike force of do-gooder fellow mutants called the X-Men. He is the guy who puts the X in X-Men."
According to his autobiography, Stewart was initially uninterested in portraying Professor X in 2000's X-Men, believing he was too similar to his Star Trek: The Next Generation character, Jean-Luc Picard. Thankfully, X-Men director Bryan Singer, was able to convince Stewart that "there were no major similarities between Jean-Luc Picard and Charles Xavier," leading to the actor to sign on to the project.
Patrick Stewart Is Beloved as Charles Xavier
After making his debut as Professor Charles Xavier in X-Men, Stewart would go on to appear as the powerful mutant in six more X-Men films for 20th Century Fox — X2: X-Men United (2003), X-Men: The Last Stand (2006), X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009), The Wolverine (2013), X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) and Logan (2017). He also played the Earth-838 variant of Professor X, a member of that universe's Illuminati, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe movie, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022).
While unconfirmed, Stewart is expected to appear in the forthcoming MCU entry, Deadpool 3, as another variant of Charles Xavier. When previously asked in February 2023 if he was involved with the threequel, Stewart revealed that he had been "told to standby." That same month, the actor hinted that there were plans for Ian McKellen's Magneto and his Professor X in the MCU.
The X-Men films are available to stream on Disney+.
Source: Making It So: A Memoir, via /Film