After all the hype around the return of Patrick Stewart to the role of Professor X in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, fans are now strongly believing that he may not be the same man from the X-Men films after all.
Appearing as one of the members of the Illuminati alongside Reed Richards, Black Bolt, Captain Marvel, Captain Carter, and Baron Mordo, Professor X is very much the voice of reason among a group of arrogant and hubris-blinded heroes. However, like his fellow Illuminati members, he gets utterly obliterated by Scarlet Witch in one of the film’s most horrific deaths.
Fans were shocked by the death, but perhaps it’s not Professor X we all know and love – at least from the films anyway. A fan theory posted on Reddit believes that this Professor X is actually from the 90s X-Men cartoon series.
Soon to be rebooted in the Marvel Cinematic Universe under the title X-Men ’97, it’s believed that we’ve just witnessed the live-action portrayal of an animated character. Similar to Hayley Atwell reprising her role of Captain Carter in live-action, the professor is much the same deal.
The much-loved yellow chair is our greatest hint into this theory, and it’d be an astonishing way of differentiating the character, while not making it too obvious.
Marvel and Disney are going ham with animated shows over the coming years, with more What If…?, X-Men ’97, Spider-Man: Freshman Year, and Marvel Zombies all on the horizon for Disney Plus. The canon nature of these shows is so far unknown, with What If…? at least existing in parallel in the mainline films.
For now, we’ll just have to wait and see what X-Men ’97 conjures up before we get to know for certain. Doctor Strange 2 is currently in cinemas, and the fan theories are still rolling in for Sam Raimi’s return to directing.