James McAvoy’s Blunt Message to Fans Stuck on Old ‘X-Men’ Cast

James McAvoy in 'X Men: First Class." Photo by Murray Close/20th Century Fox

X-Men: First Class is the fourth film in the superhero franchise, but it’s a prequel, a back-to-origins story. All the key roles have been recast. James McAvoy plays a younger version of Professor Charles Xavier, who was previously played by Patrick Stewart. (Michael Fassbender has been cast as Magneto, a character that Ian McKellen played in the earlier films.)

McAvoy has little patience for those fans hankering for a new movie with the old actors. His message to them: “Don’t come to see the film. It’s set years before. Rent the old ones. They’re really good.”

The 32-year-old star believes the new film maintains the spirit of the series: “No matter how much we’ve changed the tone the main theme that runs through all the X-Men films is this theme of the outsider, the person who’s uncomfortable in their own skin who’s either on the run from persecution or can’t run away from the fact they’re persecuting themselves for the fact that they don’t like who they are. I think that’s something that a lot of people have gone through sometime in their life.”

X-Men: First Class may be rooted in a very American comic book series, but McAvoy thinks the picture definitely has a British sensibility. “It does have a British feel — all the better for it,” says McAvoy.

Not only does First Class have several British actors in its cast, but its director, Matthew Vaughn, is British. For McAvoy the end result is distinct: “I think it’s got a real British-European aesthetic and that is something that, I think, really works in the film and helps give it a more global vibe.”