James McAvoy, the star of Wanted (or Atonement, for you classy types), has just been tapped by Layer Cake and Kick-Ass director Matthew Vaughn as the man to step into Patrick Stewart’s shoes as Professor Xavier in the upcoming prequel X-Men: First Class. The film is going back to the beginnings, when Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr were close friends, and it details the rift between them that led them to become Professor X and Magneto, ideological rivals that form their own mutant teams, the X-Men and the Brotherhood.
Vaughn, McAvoy and producer Bryan Singer have their work cut out for them to restore the X-Men’s good name after the clunky franchise-ender X-Men: The Last Stand. Coincidentally, when Singer abandoned that project originally to go direct Superman Returns, Vaughn was the guy brought in to take his place – until he had to drop out as well, meaning Brett Ratner had to be called in as a last ditch effort to keep the project alive. It looks like Fox has lamented that ever since, and they’ve brought back the crew they actually wanted to try again.
So let’s all remember the best X-Men movie yet – X2: X-Men United.