20th Century Fox’s X-Men franchise seemingly ran out of steam following the lukewarm response to both X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men: Origins: Wolverine. But in 2011, director Matthew Vaughn injected new blood into the series with X-Men: First Class. The film was praised as a much-needed return to form for Marvel’s mutant superheroes. It also gave way to a far more successful sequel, X-Men: Days of Future Past, in 2014. Unfortunately, fans were considerably less impressed with the next two installments, X-Men: Apocalypse and Dark Phoenix, which bowed in 2016 and 2019, respectively. While speaking with GQ, James McAvoy offered his own theory about why the franchise cooled off again.
McAvoy was quick to describe his time as Charles Xavier “one of the most positive experiences” of his acting career. He even thinks Days of Future Past is “one of the better films” that he has headlined. But even he sounds well aware that the franchise began petering out after his first two movies hit theaters. In his view, this boils down to the filmmakers losing track of what made First Class so special, which was how it examined the doomed friendship between his own character and Michael Fassbender’s Erik Lensherr/Magneto.
“My biggest criticism of what we did throughout the four movies was that after the first movie, we didn’t take advantage of the relationship between [Xavier and Magneto], which really formed the backbone of the first film. So it was like, why did we just eject that massive weapon?”
Marvel Studios holds the keys to the X-Men kingdom following the Disney-Fox merger of 2019. But so far, only two mutants have shown up in the primary MCU timeline—Iman Vellani’s Kamala Khan/Ms. Marvel and Tenoch Huerta’s Namor, the Sub-Mariner. This has led many fans to believe that more familiar X-Men characters are on the way. And thanks to the magic of parallel realities, Patrick Stewart already reprised his role as the older Xavier in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness earlier this year. However, McAvoy isn’t expecting a similar opportunity to come his way anytime soon.
“I’m very quick to say, ‘No, I’m done.’ Or ‘I’m not that bothered about coming back,’” revealed McAvoy. “Because you move forward. […] “I’ve definitely not got the call [from Kevin Feige]. And if I did I would definitely not be telling you.”
Do you agree with McAvoy’s thoughts on Fox’s X-Men movies? Would you like to see him return as Xavier in the MCU? Let us know in the comment section below!
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