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Patrick Stewart talks about how the MCU will handle Professor X’s death

Published Mar 7th, 2022 11:26PM EST
Professor X in X-Men: Days of Future Past
Image: Fox

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One of the biggest Doctor Strange 2 leaks last year said Patrick Stewart would reprise his Professor X role for Multiverse of Madness despite the actor’s stance on the matter. Professor X’s death in Logan concluded his character arc in the Fox universe of X-Men stories, and Stewart has been reluctant to return to it.

Then the Super Bowl came, and Marvel released the second Multiverse of Madness trailer. It confirmed two cameos, including Professor X’s. Patrick Stewart trolled fans in a round of interviews. But he ultimately confirmed that he indeed plays Charles Xavier in the Doctor Strange sequel.

This brings us to a brand new interview where the actor has started teasing the answer to the big Professor X death mystery. But we can’t tell you about it before telling you that big spoilers might follow below, especially if you haven’t seen all of the X-Men movies.

Fans of the MCU who have seen all the movies so far already know why Professor X is still alive in the Doctor Strange 2 trailer despite the character’s death in Logan. It’s all in the film’s title. Multiverse of Madness is a big multiverse movie, which means we’ll see many variants of characters we remember, including Professor X.

Doctor Strange 2 Super Bowl Trailer
Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) performing a spell with a book open on the ground. Image source: Marvel Studios

Professor X’s death is final

Professor X died in Logan, and Patrick Stewart explained in previous interviews that Xavier’s death convinced him not to return to the role. Even for the MCU. “Here’s the problem,” he said. “If we had not made Logan, then yes, I would probably be ready to get into that wheelchair one more time and be Charles Xavier. But Logan changed all that.”

That death, like RDJ’s Iron Man death, is final. It’s a beautiful, heartbreaking moment in an otherwise chaotic X-Men universe. Let’s not forget that what we saw in Logan wasn’t Professor X’s first on-screen death. Played by the same Stewart, Professor X also died in X-Men: The Last Stand, although he did transfer his consciousness into the body of a brain-dead comatose patient. Then, of course, Days of Future Past brought him back.

But when you start playing by the MCU’s time travel rules that we learned about in Avengers: Endgame, you can find ways to explain away the X-Men timeline. Playing by Endgame’s rules, the Fox movies do not happen in the same reality.

We see the same characters at different points in time. Some of them try to change the past. But what they do, according to Endgame, is create new realities. That means the Professor X deaths we saw in the Fox X-Men movies are all real. They all happened in their own timelines, theoretically.

Doctor Strange 2 Super Bowl Trailer
The face you make when you hear Patrick Stewart’s voice in a Multiverse of Madness trailer. Image source: Marvel Studios

The multiverse is the key

The multiverse is really the trick that fixes all of Marvel’s death problems. We saw it in Endgame, where Marvel brought back from the dead Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and Gamora (Zoe Saldana). They’re alternate variants of the characters we love.

Then came Spider-Man: No Way Home. The multiverse film plucked villains from Sony’s Spider-Man movies, taking them out from specific places in those realities. That’s how dead villains are alive, and that’s actually a big plot hole that needs fixing.

With that in mind, seeing Professor X as the head of the Illuminati in Doctor Strange 2 doesn’t have to impact the X-Men realities in any way.

Professor X in Multiverse of Madness doesn’t even have to be connected to the worlds we saw in Fox’s Marvel movies. Having the same actor play the character gives Marvel the chance to turn all those X-Men films into MCU canon. They’re alternate realities, where events happen differently than the primary MCU reality.

The Professor X leading the Illuminati can be just another Xavier variant.

Professor X in X-Men
Professor X (Patrick Stewart) in X-Men. Image source: Fox

Patrick Stewart’s Doctor Strange 2 teaser

Alternatively, the events in Doctor Strange 2 could intersect with one of the Fox timelines before Professor X’s death in Logan. Let’s remember that moving through the multiverse will be chaotic. It can involve traveling to different places in the past or future of alternate realities.

No matter how Marvel chooses to explain Professor X’s death and the MCU cameo, there’s an easy way out. The multiverse.

And Marvel will likely want to offer the audience a simple explanation. One that will make sense without overthinking it.

Patrick Stewart knows the answer. After the Logan comments, how else would he have signed up for Doctor Strange 2? But he isn’t going to say anything about it.

That said, the actor knows Professor X’s death and reappearance will puzzle fans. He broached the topic during an interview with Rolling Stone. But he only did it to deflect questions about Doctor Strange 2.

“This is a very delicate area,” he said of the trailer cameo. “All I can say to you is we’ll have to see. But bear in mind that Professor Xavier has already died twice. I think he must have some sort of Superman quality.”

Again, the multiverse will give us the simplest possible explanation come two months from now when Multiverse of Madness premieres.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.