Professor X Cameo Actually Allows MCU’s Real X-Men To Be Wildly Different

This post contains brief 
spoilers for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness featured a cameo from Patrick Stewart’s Professor X, with this cameo opening up the possibility for the MCU’s Earth-616 X-Men to be very different from what has come before. Patrick Stewart began playing Professor X in 2000’s 
X-Men, before seemingly departing the role following 2017’s 
Logan. However, given the possibility of the X-Men appearing in the MCU following Disney’s 20th Century Fox takeover, speculation turned to who would play the iconic leader of the X-Men for Marvel Studios.,While many names have been raised in regards to who will play Professor Charles Xavier in the MCU, Patrick Stewart has always been a popular choice for reprising his role. A precedent for a past actor returning for a new iteration had already been set with JK Simmons returning as J Jonah Jameson. It caused much excitement then when Professor X appeared in the 
Doctor Strange 2
 trailer, showing a possible return for the actor to the role long-term.,Related: Doctor Strange 2’s Post-Credits Scenes Explained (They’re Both Important),However, with Patrick Stewart returning for only a relatively small cameo role in 
Doctor Strange 2, Marvel may now have the opportunity to change up the casting for the X-Men for a few different reasons. These reasons largely come from the decision for the MCU to deal with the concept of the multiverse beginning in Phase 4. Marvel Studios’ projects like 
WandaVision, Loki
Spider-Man: No Way Home, and 
Doctor Strange 2 have opened the MCU up to endless possibilities going forward, with the exploration of the multiverse in the latter hinting at changes for the MCU’s X-Men after the cast of 
Doctor Strange 2 and Charles Xavier. The return of a previous star, coupled with the MCU’s established multiverse rules, means that the future of the X-Men could be radically different from the previous films in the franchise.,Ironically, given the initial furor, the cameo by Patrick Stewart in 
Doctor Strange 2 now lessens the pressure on Marvel to recast Stewart as Charles Xavier. Stewart as Xavier is one of the most iconic superhero characters on film since the popularization of the genre in the last 25 years. Naturally then, many were upset when
Logan saw the seeming end of his portrayal of the patriarch of the X-Men. With his role in 
Doctor Strange 2 though, Stewart was able to return in a minor role to the character he so fantastically played for over 15 years. While Stewart has recently stated he is open to more Professor X appearances, it is safe to assume Marvel will want to lock down an actor for a multiple film/series deal given Xaviers’ integral part in the X-Men stories. With the character’s return, coupled with the need for Xavier to feature heavily in whatever version of the X-Men Marvel commits to the screen, the door is pushed open for other casting choices in regards to Professor X.,It is worth noting that Stewart isn’t the only actor to portray Charles on film, with James McAvoy playing the younger version of the character in 
X-Men: First Class, X-Men: Days of Future Past, 
X-Men: Apocalypse, and 
Dark Phoenix. With Marvel Studios casting the “obvious” choice for Xavier, and the one most catered to fan service in 
Doctor Strange 2, they could do something similar by casting McAvoy as Earth-616’s Professor X. Although, it is likely Marvel will want to cast someone previously unattached to the role, given the establishment that the MCU’s Earth-616 is one of many in the multiverse. Marvel Studios will likely hold an extensive casting process for Professor X and the other X-Men, if they don’t already have actors in mind, with Patrick Stewart’s 
Doctor Strange 2 appearance opening the door for this.,With
Loki being the first MCU property to majorly address the multiverse, the show created in-universe rules that allow the X-Men to be different in several ways. One of the main things 
Loki explored was the concept of variants. Throughout the events of 
Loki, the concept of multiversal variants showed audiences how different versions of beloved characters could be wildly different. The main variant the show focused on, besides Tom Hiddleston’s Loki, was Sylvie, a female variant of the god of mischief. This introduced the idea that variants can differ in their genders across the multiverse. Sylvie and the other variants, including Classic Loki, Kid Loki, Boastful Loki, and Alligator Loki, confirmed that other actors, and even outlandish ideas like Loki being an entirely different species, can play different versions of a character. With this concept, this could be the case for the MCU’s Professor X and the rest of the X-Men. While some actors from the 
X-Men franchise could be recast, as
Loki also introduced multiple variants from different universes played by Tom Hiddleston, the concept of variants means that the actors for these roles changing actually has an in-universe explanation, outside of usual filmmaking reasons for recasting.,Related: Did Marvel Really Just Kill Off That Important Doctor Strange Character?,One variant in 
Loki, DeObia Oparei’s Boastful Loki,  introduced the idea of variants being of different races as well. This could allow for more diverse casting in the MCU for the X-Men. One of the major plot points of almost every single X-Men story is the struggle for mutants to integrate themselves into the world of humans. The differences in opinion of how this could be possible between Professor X and Magneto often is the sole reason behind the clashes between the X-Men and Brotherhood of Mutants. This story point has a lot of political, and racial, subtexts as long-time X-Men writer Chris Claremont explained back in 1982 (reported by Psychology Today):,Naturally then, some of the MCU X-Men being cast as people of color could update the X-Men story in several ways, all while allowing more inclusive representation in modern superhero cinema and having people of backgrounds that have unfortunately been subject to prejudice exploring such themes through the world of mutants.,This could update the story of many X-Men characters, though one stands out, Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto. Magneto’s backstory stems from Nazi Germany, with his time in concentration camps as a Jewish child being vital to his motivations and character going forward. When these characters were created, the horrific tragedies of World War II were still fresh in the memory. This backstory is very important to a character like Magneto, meaning it arguably needs to also be included in any X-Men stories told in the MCU. The story of a Jewish child in Nazi Germany and beyond, only with MCU Magneto/Erik cast as a person of color, could only diversify and update this particular X-Men’s character. Unfortunately, antisemitism is still rampant in parts of the world today, meaning a new layer could be added to Magneto’s story on top of his experiences in Nazi Germany.,Related: Doctor Strange 2’s Biggest (& Best) Cameo Explained,All of this, with the potentiality of the X-Men being cast as more diverse, could allow the story of the MCU’s X-Men to be much more inclusive and vital, in terms of representation of minority groups, than the 
X-Men films of the past. Through the multiverse, Marvel Studios has not only an opportunity but also in-universe concepts that allow for actors of previous roles to change. With Patrick Stewart’s inclusion in the MCU, and 
Doctor Strange 2’s ending leaving the multiverse wide open, many new doors are opened for the casting of the major X-Men characters the MCU chooses to focus on. If Marvel intends to explore the multiverse beyond 
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, and it seems they do given the imminent introduction of Kang the Conqueror in 
Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, Professor X and the X-Men would be ideal for helping with the threat of such a concept, only now with the opportunity to be much more inclusive than films of the past.,Next: Everything We Know About Doctor Strange 3