‘Doctor Strange 2’ has an unmistakable nod to Fox’s X-Men movies (besides the obvious one)

Image via 20th Century Studios

Warning: This article contains spoilers for Doctor Strange 2.

It was no secret going into Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness that the movie would tie into Fox’s X-Men franchise, as Patrick Stewart’s shock return as Professor X had been heavily hyped in the trailers. Kevin Feige might’ve regretted the crossover being spoiled like this, but at least it raised the hype even more from fans who were desperate to see mutantkind make their MCU debut. Now the film is here, we can confirm it includes an unmistakable nod to the Fox universe, besides Stewart’s comeback.

Spoilers incoming!

As the trailers made clear, Charles Xavier features as a member of the shadowy superhero cabal the Illuminati. Doctor Strange 2 confirms that, despite his matching appearance, this is not the same Charles as the one we know and love, as he actually hails from Earth-838. That said, he certainly shares a lot in common with his Earth-Fox counterpart, as Stewart gets to quote one of his most inspiring lines from the X-Men films.

Although Earth-838’s broke bad, Professor X is willing to trust the Doctor Strange of Earth-616 when he arrives in his universe. Why? Because, in his words, “Just because someone stumbles and loses their way, it doesn’t mean they’re lost forever.” As X-Men nuts will know, this is a direct quote from X-Men: Days of Future Past. In that 2014 flick, the phrase is passed down by Stewart’s Prof to his younger self, played by James McAvoy, to describe his hopes of rehabilitating Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence).

While Xavier is infamously less than squeaky-clean in the comics, Stewart always brought a nobility and wisdom to the character, so having him quote one of his most touching bits of dialogue in Doctor Strange 2 serves as a reminder of just why he’s so popular with fans. If this is the last time we see him in the role, then it’s a fitting sendoff.