After returning as Professor X in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022), Patrick Stewart, aged 82, has once again broken the record for the longest career as a live action Marvel character.
His latest Marvel appearance comes 21 years 296 days after his first in X-Men (2000).
Stewart retakes the title from Tobey Maguire, Willem Dafoe and J.K. Simmons, who featured in Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021) 19 years 225 days after their first appearances in Spider-Man (2002).
Patrick Stewart and Hugh Jackman first achieved this record five years ago, following their appearances in Logan (2017). This was assumed by many to be Stewart’s final outing as Professor X, considering his old age and the fact that his character was killed during the film.
Back then, the wording of the record title was slightly different; longest career as a live action Marvel superhero. 'Superhero' was modified to 'character' in order to encompass heroes that turn into villains, villains that turn into heroes, as well as all other kinds of side characters.
In an interview with Variety, Stewart revealed that he was unsure about reprising his role, "given that Logan had been such a powerful movie and we watched him [Professor X] die in Hugh Jackman’s arms."
However, death hasn’t stopped Professor X in the past – Patrick Stewart has portrayed the character in eight different films and he has died in four of them.
It’s worth noting that the Professor X which appears in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is not necessarily the same Professor X from the X-Men films.
In Spider-Man: No Way Home, Doctor Strange’s reality-bending shenanigans resulted in three different versions of Peter Parker/Spider-Man uniting in the same universe.
Similarly, in Doctor Strange’s latest film, more multiverse mayhem ensues as he is transported To Earth-838 from Earth-616, where he is brought before the Illuminati, of which Professor X is a member.
However, this Professor X is not sitting in his usual wheelchair. Rather, he is in the large, floating, yellow chair which features in X-Men: The Animated Series (1992-1997). The show’s theme song can also be heard as he appears on screen.
Patrick Stewart said he was "dismayed" when he first saw the "monster" he was going to be driving, which was very different to the wheelchair he had become accustomed to over the years.
"It was a very, very different world from the X-Men movies," he told Variety.
Here are all the Marvel films Patrick Stewart has appeared in during his career:
- X-Men (2000)
- X2 (2003)
- X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)
- X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)
- The Wolverine (2013)
- X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)
- Logan (2017)
- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)
Hugh Jackman will break Patrick Stewart’s record in 2024 as he is set to return as Wolverine in Deadpool 3. However, with Stewart also in talks to appear in the film, the pair could end up as joint record holders once more.
More Marvel records
- Longest gap between character appearances in Marvel films: Alfred Molina (UK) played the role of Doctor Octopus in Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021) 17 years 170 days after appearing in Spider-Man 2 (2004).
- Most feature film appearances as a Marvel superhero: Chris Evans (USA) has nine credited appearances as Captain America, in addition to two appearances as The Human Torch in Fantastic Four (2005) and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007).
- Youngest leading actor in a Marvel Cinematic Universe movie: Tom Holland (UK) was 20 years 123 days old when he played the role of Spiderman/Peter Parker in Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017).
- Most Marvel characters identified in one minute: Lara Nunan (Australia) correctly named 88 Marvel characters in 60 seconds on 5 September 2021.
- Most cinema productions attended of the same film: Ramiro Alanis (USA) reclaimed this record after watching Spider-Man: No Way Home 292 times between 16 December 2021 and 15 March 2022.