Few living actors are capable of summoning the raw power, understated dignity and, yes, incessant baldness, that Patrick Stewart managed to channel during his tenure as Professor Xavier in the original "X-Men" trilogy. So when director Matthew Vaughn took the helm of the much-anticipated prequel "X-Men: First Class" (in theaters June 3), he had quite the psychic scalp to fill.
Enter James McAvoy. Since arriving in Hollywood, this handsome (but not in a way that makes you hate him) thespian has charmed audiences with soulful performances and a headful of healthy follicles. But will he make a convincing Xavier with all that showy hair and...non-Patrick Stewartness? He's not even British! (He's Scottish.)
So we're putting these two mutants head to head, in a battle for best Prof. X of all time! Joining us today as X-treme guest judge is a hero who's no stranger to a caged death match: Wolverine!
McAvoy: James Andrew McAvoy
Stewart: Sir Patrick Hewes Stewart
Wolverine says: "Real men preferably only got one name -- and it's the name of a savage beast. But, if I gotta choose...I've always enjoyed the name 'James.'"
Wolverine says: "Every man's just an animal stuffed into a monkey suit. Eventually, we all revert back to the one true state -- the primal state."
Advantage: Tie. Wolverine refuses to give a coherent answer and -- we looked -- Scotland and England are pretty much the same thing.
McAvoy: Not bald.
Wolverine: "Excessive body hair has always been my secret shame..."
Advantage: Stewart. Hair just gets in the way of psychic powers.
Breakout Hollywood Role
McAvoy: Cast in "Band of Brothers" (2001) HBO TV mini-series
Stewart: Played Gurney Halleck in David Lynch's "Dune" (1984)
Wolverine: "Hmmm. Executive Producers Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks have a good eye for young talent. Didn't Lynch cast Sting in that version of Dune?"
Stars in the Ultimate, Sci-Fi Redux
McAvoy: "X-Men: First Class"
Stewart: "Star Trek: the Next Generation"
Wolverine: "I am, first and foremost, an X-Man but....Lt. Worf's my brother from another mother."
McAvoy: Made People Magazine's list of the "Sexiest Men of 2008"
Stewart: Won TV Guide's 1992 award for "Most Bodacious Man On TV."
Wolverine: "Both men are truly bodacious. McAvoy has a boyish, almost naive air. You can bring him him home to meet your daddy. On the other hand, Stewart's got that stern, "I know best" look for those who need a brand new daddy."
Advantage: Tie. Apples and oranges.
Plays a Professor X Who's More Likely to Roll Down a Hill Against His Will During a Fray
McAvoy: Looks pretty stable.
Stewart: It's a constant concern.
Wolverine: "Only impotent cowards laugh at the disabled."
Is an Actual Professor in Real Life
Stewart: Is a Chancellor and Professor of Performing Arts of the University of Huddersfield.
Wolverine: "I try to learn a fun fact every day. Education doesn't have to end in the classroom!"
Who Would You Let Your Mutant Child Go Live With in a Mansion in the Woods?
McAvoy: Looks less like a professor than the cute substitute teacher in high school.
Stewart: The debilitating wheelchair offsets the creepy old man vibe.
Wolverine: "I'm often mistaken for a deviant due to my 'molester' sideburns and knives that come out of my hands. Looks can be deceiving! I am a mere vigilante killer."
Advantage: Neither. Good parents accept their mutant children for who they are and raise them at home.
Wolverine's Final Ruling:
"Looks like Patrick Stewart took James McAvoy to the ass-whooping school for gifted youngsters! Perhaps, after a few more films, McAvoy's Xavier will prove just as iconic. But, for now, the original chrome dome on wheels is king, bub."