Every movie appearance for Patrick Stewart’s Professor X so far

Image via Marvel Studios and Twentieth Century Fox

After Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield appeared in Spider-Man: No Way Home, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness opens the doors to even more crossovers with non-MCU properties. This is something the marketing has made no secret of as Patrick Stewart has featured in the trailers, returning as Professor X from Fox’s X-Men franchise.

Stewart’s big comeback is hugely meaningful for a few reasons. For starters, he’s a firm fan-favorite, but even more importantly, this marks the first time that a mutant has appeared in the MCU. What’s more, Stewart’s history with the Marvel universe dates back over 20 years, so his involvement in Doctor Strange 2 — alongside Spider-Man director Sam Raimi — makes it feel like the whole modern era of superhero cinema is coming full circle.

As Xavier heads up the Illuminati in the new blockbuster event, let’s take a moment to illuminate every movie appearance Stewart has made as the X-Men mentor to date, from 2000 onward.

X-Men

Image via 20th Century Studios

Patrick Stewart was there right at the beginning of the X-Men movie franchise, debuting as Charles Xavier in 2000’s X-Men. The first chapter in the saga established the telepathic professor’s status as the headmaster of Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters who’s moonlighting as the leader of the eponymous mutant superhero team. It also introduced his eternal enmity with former friend-turned-foe Magneto (Ian McKellen).

X2: X-Men United

Image via 20th Century Studios

Things get more complicated for Professor X in X-2 as he becomes the target of mutant-hating military man William Stryker (Brian Cox), who tries to mind-control him into using Cerebro to psychically assassinate every mutant in the world. Thankfully, the combined forces of the X-Men and Magneto’s Brotherhood — although, to be honest, it’s mostly Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) — rescue the prof and save the day.

X-Men: The Last Stand

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In The Last Stand, Xavier’s past mistakes come back to haunt him — with tragic consequences. After her death and resurrection, Jean Grey is reborn as the Phoenix, a secondary, apocalyptically powerful personality that Charles had previously repressed in her mind. The vengeful Phoenix responds by murdering the professor. In a bizarre twist, however, a post-credits scene reveals Charles has transplanted his mind into another body.

X-Men Origins: Wolverine

Image via 20th Century Fox

Stewart makes a brief cameo — albeit obscured beneath some truly horrifying de-aging effects — in the first Wolverine spinoff. Toward the film’s end, once Logan and his allies have freed the mutants in Stryker’s capture, Xavier appears to helicopter the escapees, including a young Cyclops, to safety. Confusingly, he’s not confined to his wheelchair here, despite it being set in 1979 — 16 years after he was paralyzed in X-Men: First Class.

The Wolverine

Image via 20th Century Studios

Similarly, Stewart appears for another cameo in The Wolverine‘s post-credits scene, which sees Xavier and Magneto approach Logan at an airport to warn him of the coming threat of Bolivar Trask. This does a neat job of setting up the dystopian timeline of Days of Future Past, although it’s best not to think too hard about how the professor is back in his original body post-Last Stand.

X-Men: Days of Future Past

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Image via 20th Century Studios

In a dark Sentinel-controlled future, Xavier sends Logan back to the 1970s to team up with his younger self (James McAvoy) to stop Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) from murdering Trask (Peter Dinklage) and change the timeline for the better. The plan works and a happy ending reveals Xavier and all the deceased X-Men living and working at the X-Mansion.

Logan

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Image via 20th Century Studios

Unfortunately, this happy ending is torn apart by Logan, which drops the bombshell that the elderly Xavier lost control of his mental faculties and abilities sometime after Future Past and accidentally killed the X-Men in a psychic attack, leaving an embittered Wolverine to care for him. The duo find purpose again after they go on the run protecting Logan’s clone daughter, Laura (Dafne Keen), from enemy forces. Both lose their lives in the process.

Originally, Stewart said that Logan would be his final appearance as Charles, but clearly he was more flexible about that than Jackman as he’s back again in Doctor Strange 2, in theaters from May 6.