Patrick Stewart as Professor Charles Xavier is one of the most perfect castings in Hollywood history. No one else could give the leader of the X-Men the firm authority and dry wit of the comic book character. Also they’re both bald.
However, one significant difference between Stewart and Prof X is that Xavier is confined to a wheelchair. Speaking at this year’s Edinburgh Television Festival, director Bryan Singer revealed that Stewart was curious about this iconic aspect of the character back when he was cast in the first X-Men movie.
[It’s better if you imagine Patrick Stewart’s voice throughout this]
“In the early X-Men movies Patrick Stewart played Professor X. And one day he said ‘Bryan, why am I in this wheelchair?’”
“And I said, ‘well, I think, years ago, your friend/enemy/frenemy Magneto put you in that wheelchair. I don’t know how, but he did something. That’s why you’re in that wheelchair.”
“Then he says ‘well, what does it say in the comic book?’”
“Well, the comic book says that after travelling to Israel, Professor Xavier went to Tibet, where he encountered an alien agent named Lucifer.”
“Lucifer had holed up in a castle. So Xavier rallied the Tibetans, fighters that they are, to assault this castle. And this angered Lucifer.”
“So he dropped a rock on the Professor.”
“…and that’s why he’s in the wheelchair.”
“And Patrick just looked at me…”
“I like your version better.”
Of course, Singer was later able to fill in this backstory when he wrote the script for X-Men First Class, but Professor X was played by a different actor.