Burning Questions! 'X-Men: First Class': Why is Professor X British? And where have I seen this person before?


Image Credit: Murray Close

It’s another week of EW’s summer movie burning questions. This week: X-Men: First Class. If you have some, don’t be shy! Ask away!

Professor X is clearly British in the movie, but he grew up in Westchester (where the mansion is located). Explain. – H.B.
Professor X is American in the comic books (born and raised in NYC), but it’s known — as shown in the movie — that he attended Oxford. My first theory? The Professor might have the power of mind control, but perhaps he can’t control his own accent. It happens to me all the time when I’m around British people; I’m bloody influential, old bean. Theory No. 2: Remember that episode of Friends when Ross turned British for his graduate class? Yes, Professor X might, in fact, just be trying to sound smarter and more interesting. It’s working. But honestly, I posed this question to professor of comic books, Darren Franich, who brings us theory No. 3: “I think he’s supposed to have one of those mid-20th century upper-class American accents, like FDR. Fun fact: It’s referred to as ‘Mid-Atlantic’.” That wasn’t a “fun fact” at all, Professor D, but certainly helpful. As I hope this answer was to you, H.B. Bonus mini-poll: 

Is the human lady also in that movie about bridesmaids? – my mom
Yes, mom. And the movie you would be referring to is, in fact, called Bridesmaids. But Rose Byrne wasn’t the only familiar face that threw me for a loop while watching the movie. (I had about ten minutes of: “I just saw her in something!”) I also had to do a double take whenever Hank (young Beast) was on screen because I knew his face from somewhere I couldn’t quite pin down. Since I’m relatively unfamiliar with the British version of Skins, I hadn’t realized that Beast was Nicholas Hoult, a.k.a. Marcus from About A Boy, which just so happens to be only movie in my DVD collection of which I own in both the widescreen and regular versions (on two separate discs). Also, did I spy Seely Booth’s brother (Brendan Fehr) on board one of the American ships in the final battle? Small world.

We just saw it! Fantastic! Will there be another? #yespleasemayIhaveanother — @BaBricken
No word. I hope so. #MoreMcAvoyPlease

The butterfly chick was rather lame. Did she get screwed in the powers department? – Daniel
A little bit. In the comics, Angel’s spit is acidic, which is pretty cool. But in the movie, we only see her flutter around and spit a few fireballs, which compared to the rest, is pretty lame. It sort of reminded me of when the Griffins got superpowers on Family Guy. She’s Meg. And since filmmakers went to the effort to poke around the X-Men timeline to find these mutants, you’d think they’d pick the most interesting ones. Oh, well. She was better than the Fembot.

January Jones’ white, bosom-tastic outfit looks extremely familiar. Have I seen that somewhere before? — Sandra’s mind during the movie
EW’s Kate Ward: Yes; in Austin Powers on Elizabeth Hurley. In black.

More burning questions, PopWatchers? Ask below!

Follow Sandra on Twitter: @EWSandraG

Comments (52 total) Add your comment
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  • Marc B

    Well to answer your question in the easiest way possible (pay attention folks), In X-Men First Class you will notice that when Mystique portrays Xavier’s Mum at the beginning of the film, she also has a British accent. We later learn when Xavier and Magneto take the ‘First Class’ to his mansion, that it was owned by his Step-Father, therefore his Step-Father was American and Xavier retained both British and American citizenship. Therefore it’s quite clear that he was born in the UK and moved to the US as a child.

    • Jon

      That was my thought too

    • therealeverton

      That’s what I always thought. HE was British, as was his mum and they moved to AMerica and his step dad and brother (juggernaut, no thx to X3!) were americans.

    • Margie

      Thanks. Great answer!

    • Soso

      very liable the issue. it was made with rnnuing XP. The MM was modified to run Vista and 7 Transitions etc in XP. SO I can see where rnnuing this on windows 7 wouldnt work very well.

  • M

    Mystique gave Professor X a raw deal, leaving him like that? It seems a little coldhearted to me, was that the goal of the writers?

    • JBD

      I don’t believe so given the fact that Prof X told her to go himself because he read her mind and saw what she really wanted. So it was really Prof X giving Mystique the boot to allow the audience to still support Mystique and the Brotherhood.

    • therealeverton

      given that Charles not only proved oblivious to the fact that she was in love with him for years he didn’t treat her very well. He was the definition of the old “black people are ok as long as they don’t live here or marry my kids” attitude. He only wanted to see her in disguise and was embarrassed by her true form. He grew up but given that Erik & co embraced mutants however they looked it was easy for her to move.

  • Rock Golf

    The big question: Just before the end of the film, the X Men and Magneto’s band are stranded on an island, presumably Cuba or near Cuba. They have a submarine and a jet, both destroyed, and Xavier has been paralyzed from the waist down by a bullet. They are surrounded by dozens of hostile US Navy and Russian ships which just fired 50 odd missiles at them. Presumably they still have some shells left.
    So how did they get off the island apparently unscathed?
    How did they

    • C

      Azazel poofed Magneto’s band away because he’s a teleporter.

      I don’t think they showed how the good guys got away, but I’m sure between them all they could have found some transportation. I mean Banshee can fly. The island’s not deserted or anything either. They could even call 911.

      And I don’t think any of the ships would try to fire again, even if they had missiles. Last time they just got it sent right back.

      • anna

        I’m not sure if 1960’s Cuba had 911…

      • McFassySoSassy!

        Professor X can still control minds. I’m sure he could have found a doctor and transportation *somewhere* nearby in Cuba and gotten them help.

        It bothered me too, though.

    • Minvike

      There are countless ways they could explain that away. The first that comes to my mind is Prof X “freezing” everyone else in there place (like we’ve seen him do a bunch of times throughout the movies) while they make their escape.
      Plus, after the militaries just fired hundreds of missles that were then sent flying back at them, and then they all celebrated the missles exploding before it hit them allowing them to all live (after the captains had already accepted they were about to die (ex “It’s been great serving with you men” etc)), I seriously doubt they were anxious to fire any more missles at that moment.

    • therealeverton

      As said above there’s no way they were firing any more missles. Prof X could have mind controlled a ship to come to their aid and C.I.A girl could have called for help.

  • Wynter

    Before I read the article, I thought the “where have I seen this person?” in the title was referring to James. I was about to flip.

  • Dash

    I noticed Brendan Fehr too and hoped it meant he would finally be acting in something again. No lines this time right? And PLEASE shut the front door that is the same kid from About a Boy!?! Please next time he’s in the best costume have him break out in Killing me Softly…

  • Beth

    I for one am fine with Prof X being British if James McAvoy is going to to play him. I need more James on my movie screens!

  • lacey

    why exactly didn’t they have Banshee and Moria with their native accents? I found that more odd than Professor X’s British one

    • JBD

      I had that same question. I’m thinking the same reason the first movie decided to ditch Storm’s accent, it sounded awkward and too comical.

    • therealeverton

      Given the number of people from varying countries playing people from other countries in these films you wonder just how difficult it would have been to find an Irish person (other than Fassbender) who can act to play Banshee and so on…

  • Nicole

    Couple of questions, how does Moira in X-Men-First Class exist as an American CIA, when we saw her in X3 being British (and portrayed by Olivia Williams)? Don’t even get me started on how she’s supposed to be Scottish in the comics. Also, didn’t they mention that the uniforms were supposed to be bullet-proof? Then how did Prof. X get injured?!

    • JBD

      I don’t think that this is a prequel to the original X-Men series. But even if it was, the 2000 series always changed actors with no care for continuity like accents. Example: 3 Kitty Prydes of varying ages. That last one is a good question though. I didn’t think about the uniforms being bullet-proof.

    • Stacie

      Good point. Prof. X’s spine was like the one-armed guy from Hot Tub Time Machine. I was waiting the entire movie for him to get paralyzed.

    • therealeverton

      I’d guess that whilst the uniforms were fairly bullet proof they were very thin and Kevlar wasn’t invented yet so they were likely only good for small calibre bullets at a reasonable distance. Even the best bullet proof vests available today severely decrease in effectiveness the closer to the firing weapon they are. Charles was hit at almost point blank rage because The bullet effectively cae from Magneto, not Moira’s gun and possibly at a faster speed than normal too.

    • Bohemiben

      I had that same question about the bulletproof thing, but if you notice when Magneto pulls the bullet there is no blood. So the bulletproof part did work, however even with a bulletproof vest on when cops get shot it still hurts and can bruise them. Sometimes bullets may even penetrate the vest. Since there was no blood, I don’t think that was the case. But my buddy who was watching the movie with me and was in the military said even with the bulletproof uniform the force could still crack/damage the spinal cord. Similar to the bruising that can happen. I know it’s sort of a complicated explanation and the average moviegoer (myself included) would have thought of that, but it’s the best I can come up with to explain it.

      • Bohemiben

        *wouldn’t have thought of that

      • therealeverton

        I like this too, same time posting guy. I’d just assumed there was no blood because of the film’s rating, but again, given how thin the uniforms were, even a stopped bullet would put a lot of ofrce through the suit, just like you said.

        Of course your answer also helps with those storylines where Prof X can walk again, usually related to him losing his powers. There hass been a history / theory that his illness is in his head. Maybe the shock just cased his power to overload his brain, like when he was in agony feeling Shaw get “what happens to him, done to him”. Er spoiler…

    • Rin

      I prefer to believe that X3 did not exist.

      • Zod

        Dear Emily,I am so glad that your blog is the only one I read. I have learned so much. What is your maniilg address? I lost it. You can email it to me if you want (adean@smith.edu).your fan,Alida

  • yoga_girl

    Nicholas Hoult also played the young student of Colin Firth’s in A Single Man.

  • mscisluv

    I immediately spotted Brenden Fehr on the American ship, but perhaps that’s because I’ve been watching Roswell on Netflix.

    • AT

      We recognized him as being the guy from Roswell too.

    • Steven

      I was like “Michael!” I loved Roswell. Too bad he had no lines and was basically an extra.

  • anna

    Why was Moira American instead of Scottish? Her character was the biggest disappointment to me. They turned this fierce scientist into a love sick CIA agent.

    • JBD

      Why was William Stryker a scientist rather than a priest in X2? These types of questions are just answered by reading the script. They needed a CIA agent, so she became one. They needed a scientist, not a priest, so Stryker became one. I’m not really complaining with either because both movies were great.

      • JBD

        *Not priest, reverend, sry…

  • LOfringeST

    X-Men: First Class 2!!!

    • Mat

      I’ve never seen Yojimbo, embarrassingly engouh. It’s a gap in my cinematic education.The list took me a while to make I had to dig through my movie ratings on a couple of sites to come up with a lot of my answers. Oh, and Dark City is enthralling, even though the plot is a bit silly. (Aliens in overcoats and fedoras keep rearranging the world and messing with people’s memories, and only one guy realizes what’s going on! Dramatic showdown ensues! But it’s visually amazing.)

    • Failet

      1. Name three of your favorite mivoes.The Notebook, Tangled, and I am Number 42. Now pick your all-time favorite. It can only be one!The Notebook3. What has been the stupidest idea for a movie that came out?The Invention of Lying! NEVER watch it!4. Do you go to the movie theater a lot or would you rather watch it on DVD at home?Both 5. Whate28099s your favorite genre? (Horror, drama, foreign, comedy, etc.)Any!6. What is your least favorite movie?Ummm I can’t remember 7. Which movie do you know all the words to?Hmmm theres prolly a lot haha The Notebook8. Which book do you wish would get turned into a movie?Hmmm i think all the ones i like have been mivoes ha9. Do you have Netflix?Yes10. Name the best movie youe28099ve seen in the last six months.Hmmmm I have no idea. maybe crazy stupid love11. How often do you watch mivoes?Pretty often12. Have you ever seen a movie you thought you would hate but ended up loving?Yeaa13. Everyone has a favorite Disney movie. Whate28099s yours?Tangled <314. What is the most unrealistic movie youe28099ve ever seen?Hmmm haha there's been a lot15. Which movie makes you laugh the most?Hmmm Grown ups was pretty funny16. What movie have you seen the most?Prolly The Notebook17. Which is your favorite old movie?Hmm not sure18. What was the last movie you saw in theaters?Crazy Stupid Love19. Best movie snack: popcorn, candy, or stuff you sneak in?Popcorn or stuff i bring 20. Which do you think is the worst movie of this summer?Dunno21. Who are is your favorite actress and actor?Taylor Lautner! and many others lol22. Which movie do you think deserves an Oscar nomination so far this year?Not sure23. Have you ever wanted to be an actress?Yea at one point24. Do you have an idea for an awesome movie?Hahah u dont wanna know25. Scariest movie youe28099ve ever seen?The Orphan!

  • LOfringeST

    X-Men: Second Class

  • Dan Radke

    How can professor x walk in the flashback with magneto when meeting gene in the second original x men movie?

    • Nicole

      also, i’m pretty sure professor x was standing at the end of the wolverine movie when he guided cyclops and the other young mutants out of the facility on three mile island. which made me wonder how he magically started walking again years later…

      • Ddubsolider

        Yes…they have some explaining 2 do…*cracks knuckles* James mcavoy is Irish… Just pointing that out

  • mutant

    i seriously think that they shuld make an origin on storm or cyclops, i mean they are one of those group leader people right? and they should also make an x-men 22nd class or wtv but this time more action im guessing and show the finding of cyclops and storm and everything and hte birth of my favourite mutant, nightcrawler. oh and who do you guys think is the most powrful mutant?

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