The X-Men franchise that has entertained over two decades introduced us to a mesmerizing world of mutants. Each mutant character has their unique abilities and compelling backstories. These characters remain ageless in our minds, frozen in the prime of their fictional lives. However, the talented actors who brought them to life have naturally and gracefully aged, much like the rest of us. This contrast serves as a testament to the timeless appeal of the X-Men series and the indelible mark it has left on popular culture. Let’s have a look at how X-Men Actors look today.
Wolverine – Hugh Jackman
Did you know Wolverine’s real name is James Howlett? Although he’s more commonly referred to as Logan. Jackman played Wolverine for 17 years, starting with the first “X-Men” movie in 2000 and ending with “Logan” in 2017. He also holds the Guinness World Record for the “longest career as a live-action Marvel superhero” for his portrayal of Wolverine.
One of Wolverine’s signature mutant abilities is his healing factor, which allows him to recover from virtually any wound, toxin, or disease. This also slows his aging. However, it hasn’t stopped him from aging in real life. Hugh Jackman is 54 years old now but he still has the same charm. It is probably the only X-Men character that has aged more than the actor.
Professor X – James McAvoy
Did you know that the serene and harmless-looking Professor X is one of the world’s most powerful mutants due to his telepathic abilities? James McAvoy first portrayed a younger version of Charles Xavier in “X-Men: First Class” (2011). McAvoy initially had hair in his portrayal. It wasn’t until “X-Men: Apocalypse” that he adopted the iconic bald look, aligning more closely with the character’s traditional appearance.
Unlike the onscreen love-hate relationship between Professor X and Magneto, the actors portraying these characters became good friends. McAvoy’s on-screen chemistry with Michael Fassbender, who plays Magneto, was often praised. It is just like reliving the youth of these two iconic characters.
Magneto – Michael Fassbender
Did you know that Magneto’s real name is Erik Magnus Lehnsherr? Michael Fassbender first appeared as a young Erik Lehnsherr in “X-Men: First Class” (2011). For the role, Fassbender underwent physical training, not just to look the part but to convey the raw, physical power Magneto possesses, especially evident in action sequences.
The old Magneto, as we saw in X-Men, appears to be a revengeful and emotionless character. In contrast, the young Magneto portrayed by Fassbender is conflicted by emotions of friendship, childhood trauma, and a deep sense of protecting mutants. Fassbender’s portrayal has been lauded for bringing depth, emotion, and intensity to Magneto. This allowed the audience to empathize with his pain and understand his motivations, even when they contrast with Xavier’s.
Jean Grey – Famke Janssen
Did you know that Jean Grey is the only mutant character in X-Men universe who doesn’t have a mutant name? Jean Grey is one of the original X-Men and is believed to be the strongest telepathic and telekinetic mutant in the X-Men universe. Famke Janssen first portrayed Jean Grey in the “X-Men” movie in 2000. Janssen underwent physical training to perform stunts and action sequences. She wanted to bring authenticity to the physical demands of the character.
Janssen deftly portrayed Jean’s relationships with Cyclops (Scott Summers) and Wolverine (Logan) which play a central role in the films. The love triangle adds emotional depth to the storylines. Even as Sophie Turner portrayed a younger version of Jean Grey, many fans still associate Famke Janssen with the definitive portrayal of the character.
Rogue – Anna Paquin
Did you know that Anna Paquin was just 17 when she played Rogue in the first “X-Men” movie and she’s 41 years old today. Most fans don’t know that she won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role in “The Piano” (1993) at the age of 11. She is one of the youngest Oscar winners in history.
The comic version of Rogue is very different than her movie version. While in the comics Rogue is known for her sassy attitude, flight, and super strength (after absorbing Ms. Marvel’s powers). However, the movie version focuses mainly on her power-absorption ability and the consequences it has on her personal life. The X-Men comics depict Rogue and Wolverine as close peers, sometimes mentor-mentee. Whereas, the films show Rogue’s relationship with Wolverine as a father-daughter dynamic.
Sabretooth – Liev Schreiber
Did you know that Liev Schreiber was, initially, hesitant to take on the role of Sabretooth (Victor Creed)? However, after learning about the character’s depth and the chance to work alongside Hugh Jackman, he accepted the role. Schreiber. He also underwent significant physical training to get into the brutish shape required for Sabretooth in “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” (2009).
He also delved into the X-Men comics to understand the essence and backstory of Sabretooth. Schreiber’s portrayal of Sabretooth digs into the emotional and psychological connection between Sabretooth and Wolverine, both being half-brothers.
Storm – Halle Berry
Did you notice that in the first “X-Men” film, Halle Berry attempted an African accent for Storm to reflect the character’s Kenyan heritage? Storm is one of the most iconic mutants from the comics and portrays strong leadership esp in “X-Men: The Last Stand”
While filming “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” Halle Berry was pregnant. As a result, her role was slightly reduced, and her costume was adjusted to be more comfortable. Ironically, even as Halle Berry played a character who can manipulate the weather, she has admitted that she’s scared of thunder in real life.
How X-Men actors look today, juxtapositioned with the agelessness of fictional characters adds an extra layer of admiration to the movie franchise. As X-Men remain eternally young and vibrant in the scenes of movies, the actors’ journey of aging, reminds us of the passage of time, the growth that comes with it, and the enduring legacy of this iconic franchise. We hope you liked this post, and if you did, don’t forget to check out our Entertainment section.