James McAvoy Thinks Marvel and Disney Will Do Something New with X-Men
Dark Phoenix star James McAvoy suspects Marvel, who will soon gain ownership of the X-Men following Disney's $71.3 billion acquisition of Fox, will move on from the current continuity when integrating mutant characters into the shared Marvel Cinematic Universe.
"I love playing Charles. But you've got to write something interesting for you to do as an actor, you can't just keep doing the same thing again and again and again. So it may be time for somebody else to come in," McAvoy told MTV News.
"Marvel and Disney are very smart and they've done this excellently. They seem to be on the verge of doing something new with just regards to the X-Men anyway, which is exciting, I'm excited to see that. Can the X-Men fold into the Avengers world? Essentially it's the Avengers world we're talking about. I don't know."
McAvoy, who has played telepathic X-Men leader and mutant rights activist Charles Xavier across four films since 2011's X-Men: First Class, explained the biggest problem facing a merger of the two franchises is incorporating mutants — humans born in possession of an X-Gene that grants them superhuman abilities — into a continuity populated by celebrated super-powered individuals like Captain America (Chris Evans) and Thor (Chris Hemsworth).
"One of the beautiful things about the X-Men — and one of the things that always strikes me when the fans talk to you about it, is the reason that they love it — is because it has a parallel with [the] disenfranchised, with people that have been ghettoized, with ethnic minorities, with sexual minorities, with any kind of person that mainstream society is scared of," McAvoy said.
"There are large amounts of [them], they get pushed down, pushed off to the sides of society, and that's what the mutants represent. They're not the same necessarily as the handful of heroes that are regarded as demigods in the [MCU] — at times, of course, they're fallen from that demigod composition as well.
"So if you fold them in, does that then get rid of that social commentary? And that thing where people who are immigrants into your country and are vilified for it can identify with mutants, people who have a different sexual preference and are vilified and scared and hide away because of it, they can identify with it. People who have a different ethnic minority and they're vilified because mainstream society is scared of anything that's different, they can identify with mutants.
"Do you get rid of that parallel? Or are Marvel and Disney just so smart they've figured out a way to do it and keep it all? Because they seem to be really clever at it."
Though Dark Phoenix writer-director Simon Kinberg promises the Days of Future Past and Apocalypse sequel is the start of a new chapter for the uncanny 19-years-running franchise, a new home under Marvel Studios might find the mutants rebooted.
"Do we come back? I don't know. We're all out of contract, so we don't have to," McAvoy said.
"And I don't know — they might not ask us to. But if they did and there was something interesting to do, I'm sure we would, and if they don't, it's been a good ten years."
Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige, who says the studio will not begin development on any X-Men projects until Disney's $71.3 billion acquisition of Fox is completed, has never definitively said if Marvel is looking to reboot the franchise. But the prospect of gaining hundreds of new characters, he said, is "very exciting."
Dark Phoenix opens June 7.