According to Heat Vision, actor James McAvoy has been cast as Charles Xavier in what is now being referred to as "X-Men: First Class."
"First Class" is one of several spin-off projects from Fox's original "X-Men" franchise. Last year's "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" was the first to be released, but an "Origins" film detailing the life of Magneto in his younger days has been discussed since the first "X-Men" was a hit. That project has fallen by the wayside as "Wolverine" stirred interest in both the "First Class" concept and a spin-off film for the Deadpool character. There was even talk of an "X-Men 4."
With each project competing for resources, "First Class" became the front runner when original "X-Men" director Bryan Singer returned to the property with intentions of directing. His commitments to another film -- "Jack the Giant Killer" -- prevented that from happening, but he took on a producer role and persuaded "Kick-Ass" director Matthew Vaughn to sign on as the film's director. Vaughn had previously been attached to "X-Men 3: The Last Stand," but quit the project before filming began.
The "Magneto" concept may have been rolled into "First Class." Quoting a Fox source, Heat Vision writes the film will "chart the epic beginning of the X-Men saga. Before Charles Xavier and Eric Lensherr took the names Professor X and Magneto, they were two young men discovering their powers for the first time. Before they were archenemies, they were the closest of friends, working together, with other Mutants (some familiar, some new), to stop the greatest threat the world has ever known. In the process, a rift between them opened, which began the eternal war between Magneto's Brotherhood and Professor X's X-Men."
The film already has a June 3rd, 2011 release date and production starts this summer. The swiftness of production is reportedly a major factor in Vaughn taking the project on.
Xavier was played by Patrick Stewart in the previous series. He made a cameo in "Wolverine" with the aid of de-aging CGI effects.