The final trailer for Bryan Singer’s “X-Men: Apocalypse” suggests that the movie might follow its comic book source material and move past the influence of Charles Xavier.
A brief exchange in the trailer reveals that Apocalypse (Isaac) has kidnapped Xavier, leaving Beast (Nicholas Hoult) and Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) to gather a new team of X-Men without him, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
In terms of the movie series that started with 2000’s “X-Men”, this is totally different — Xavier has been front-and-center of the franchise, whether as Patrick Stewart’s aged mentor of the original trilogy or James McAvoy’s younger, more impetuous incarnation in the prequel trilogy launched with 2011’s “X-Men: First Class”.
Sidelining Xavier when it comes to the team, in that light, seems almost transgressive.
In comic book lore, however, Xavier’s relationship with the X-Men is far more complicated than in the movies.
It’s not just that he doesn’t hold the same premiere position within the comic book franchise; it’s that the comic book “X-Men” franchise has a history of actively rejecting Xavier as a character and writing him out for long periods of time, allowing the property to explore different directions and story possibilities beyond the Xavier/Magneto relationship that dominates the movie storylines.
Since his 1963 debut, Xavier’s comic book incarnation has been killed off twice, sent into space to recover from a near death experience, and depowered on at least one occasion, with each of these events used to sever his relationship to the X-Men for a period of time.
While it’s unlikely that “X-Men: Apocalypse” is going to keep Xavier and the X-Men separated for too long, it will, hopefully, set the stage for future “X-Men” releases that allow Xavier to step onto the sidelines however temporarily and let other characters shine.