With critics and audiences, “Dark Phoenix” seems to be ending the “X-Men” saga with something a lot closer to a whimper than a bang. While James McAvoy isn’t saying that one change would have “fixed” the last few films in the depreciating franchise, one of the problems might lie in separating two of the series’ most enduring characters.
Speaking on the Empire Film Podcast this week, McAvoy explained that one of the highs of making his debut as Professor Charles Xavier in “X-Men: First Class” was working alongside Michael Fassbender as Erik Lehnsherr (and Xavier’s eventual nemesis Magneto).
“We hung that film on the shoulders of that relationship…and everybody seemed to like it. It’s something that still gets talked about now as one of the greatest aspects of these films and we think so too,” McAvoy said. “For ‘Days of Future Past,’ ‘Apocalypse,’ and ‘Dark Phoenix,’ for whatever reason, Simon and the studio decided not to really put us in that many scenes together or investigate our relationship. I don’t know why! I think it was a huge strain to the X-Men. I would have loved to have seen more of it, but we never got it. That’s my biggest regret. That’s my only ‘X-Men’ regret, probably.”
In going back through his time in the franchise, McAvoy also talked about the first time three years ago that he shaved his head. (It also involved a FaceTime session with fellow Professor X Patrick Stewart, preserved in video form forever here.)
“I do know that Bryan Singer apparently kept my hair and has it in his personal safe at home, which is slightly terrifying,” McAvoy said.
It’s honestly hard to tell if that comment is made in jest or if the director just has a compendium of actor’s hair somewhere for some unknown purpose. Either way, a very bizarre chapter in a franchise filled with both genre-defining moments and some incredibly questionable decisions.
The full interview with McAvoy (including some very frank discussion of McAvoy’s financial assets at the time of signing on to play Xavier) comes near the end of the episode below: