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In honor of the release of Logan, widely acknowledged most likely to be the last time Patrick Stewart will play Professor X:

It strikes me as rather lucky that a bald English actor of the skill and gravitas of Patrick Stewart existed at the right time to play Charles Xavier, and one known in SF circles, to boot. Most people would probably agree to the assessment of this as one of the most perfect and obvious castings in history.

Stewart, of course rose to prominence with the release of Star Trek: The Next Generation in (1987-1994) and he first played Xavier in X-Men (2000) That is a fairly long interval during which the rather obvious cast choice could have been discussed.

What was the first coverage of the suggestion or evidence of discussions that Patrick Stewart should/would play Charles Xavier?

Since the idea was probably alive in fandom for a while before becoming a reality, a complete answer should cover weak sources (e.g. fan art, forums, blog posts) and (later) more reputable sources (e.g. Hollywood news coverage)

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    The earliest Usenet post I can find is this one from October 1991 suggesting it.
    – Plutor
    Mar 5, 2017 at 19:40
  • My first exposure to the idea was the Star Trek/X-Men crossover novel Planet X, from 1998. Plutor's suggestion is way earlier, though.
    – JAB
    Mar 5, 2017 at 20:00
  • @Plutor, I love the way the poster even says Prof. X: Patrick Stewart (Anyone have any doubts on this one?) Mar 5, 2017 at 20:34
  • 2
    This is Patrick Stewart talking about when he first was asked about it rollingstone.com/movies/news/… Mar 6, 2017 at 1:30
  • 1
    @Plutor feel like making that into an answer?
    – AncientSwordRage
    Aug 23, 2021 at 15:49

1 Answer 1

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I suspect that popular discussions of Patrick Stewart as Professor X started around the time of The Next Generation premiere in 1987. There's considerable overlap between the Star Trek and comic book fandoms. Before that, he was largely active in small parts and theatre (and movies based on classic plays).

Oldest fan post I can find: October 1991

This post in the rec.arts.comics usenet group in October 1991 is the oldest reference I can find to casting Stewart as Charles Xavier. The parenthetical "Anyone have any doubts on this one?" perhaps suggests that this was a common dream casting already at this point.

When Patrick Stewart learned of the idea: ~1997

In this Rolling Stone interview, Patrick Stewart says that he first learned about the character (and that fans thought he would be perfect casting) was while recording ADR for a Richard Donner film. This was almost certainly Conspiracy Theory, released in late 1997.

Oldest press references I can find: 1999

Apparently the February 1999 issue of Wizard magazine included X-Men casting rumors, including Patrick Stewart, although none of the other ones ended up being correct.

This page claims that the casting occurred on May 20, 1999 and was posted to startrekcontinuum.com on the following day.

This Variety column from June about the casting of Dougray Scott as Wolverine is the first press reference I can find about his official casting (in the 4th paragraph). (Ironic aside: Dougray Scott obviously didn't play Logan, since Mission: Impossible 2 filming ran long and he was injured while filming.)

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