We knew from 2011’s X-Men: First Class that — at least in the Marvel universe — James McAvoy is what a young Patrick Stewart would look like, and Michael Fassbender a young Ian McKellen. That was easier to accept then, as Stewart and McKellen weren’t in First Class to compare and contrast. But all four are in the new film X-Men: Days of Future Past — the elders in the present, the youngsters in 1973 — and seeing them juxtaposed in one film makes it clear that while they are in sync dramatically, physically, well, they’re clearly not the same guys. Take a look at how Stewart and McKellen looked in the early ’70s, compared to their X-Men "younger selves."
What were these master thespians doing in 1973, anyway? Not exactly summer blockbusters: McKellen — a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company and Royal National Theater — was playing the love-struck Captain Plume in the BBC play of the month The Recruiting Officer, a 1706 comedy about the love lives of two officers.
Stewart also appeared in a BBC play of the month that year: He played Gurvich in Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s The Love Girl and the Innocent, about a 1945 Stalin-era Soviet prison camp. This just a few years after he made his Broadway debut in a legendary production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, staged by Tony winner Peter Brook.
While they aren’t physical doppelgangers, the younger X-patriarchs certainly know how to vocally inhabit their elders. In a recent Yahoo Movies UK video bit, Fassbender and McAvoy deliver their best, dead-on impersonations right to their older selves — and get their seal of approval.
Photo Credits: Getty Images, Mirrorpix, Everett Collection, 20th Century Fox