However, there’s one crucial detail I’ve noticed that could completely ruin the entire film, while simultaneously wiping years of canon off the board.
Patrick Stewart’s Professor X, here seen in a frail, older form (possibly with dementia)….has hair.
Like, I wouldn’t say it’s bouffant, but still… quite a bit of hair by his usual standards. Charles Dance levels.
Famously, as you may remember, Professor X has NO hair. In the comics this is a side-effect of his psychic abilities while the films recently presented it as part of his half-transformation into a purple Egyptian (don’t ask), but whatever the reasons, throughout the increasingly confused world of the X-Men films we had one constant – a bald Professor X.
Look, here he is in the first X-Men film.
And the one after that.
And X-men 3.
And X-men: Days of Future Past.
And even in that one Wolverine film we don’t talk about, where he’s still walking around. Bald.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re poised at the keyboard ready to type “But I watched at least three X-Men films where James McAvoy played Professor X, and he had so much hair.” And you’d be right – but that was always presented as a playful push-and-pull against his future, more natural bald state.
When McAvoy is finally chrome-domed in X-Men: Apocalypse it’s a triumphant scene, a talismanic moment that binds together the confused timelines and mistakes made in Fox’s X-Men series beneath one bald, shining beacon. The correct, default status of the X-Men franchise seemed, then, to be back once more – and now in one fell swoop, the Logan trailer has called all of that into question. He’s not even the baldest character in the film any more.
Could he always have grown his hair back? Was it an affectation? Is this something to do with his clone body after dying in X-Men 3 (you know, the other thing we don’t discuss)? Or has something about Logan’s post-apocalyptic, possibly post-nuclear war-ravaged world had pleasant, follicle-rejuvenating side-effects? We just don’t know.
To this, you’re probably scoffing. You may be pausing from playing different Nine Inch Nails covers on YouTube to point out that this is largely an irrelevant detail, probably intended to make Patrick Stewart look weaker and more unkempt, and planning to yell at me in the comments for taking comic books too seriously.
But the thing is, I’m not saying a non-bald Professor X is bad. A non-bald Professor X is simply a new paradigm we all need to process, a shift in the fundamental nature of cinema that bears discussion – and all I’m doing is starting that discussion.
So do tell us what you think. Do you feel frightened and unsure in the new, hairy Xavier world – or are you excited by the storytelling opportunities it presents? Do you feel that this is an insult to the character thus far, or a new slant on Professor X that’ll give Stewart’s performance a spectacular send-off? Or is it just hair and make-up?
Only through robust discussion will we be able to work this out. I’m counting on you all.