James McAvoy To Portray Professor X In ‘X-Men: First Class’

After “Kick-Ass” director Matthew Vaugnn was hired earlier this month to helm “X-Men: First Class,” Fox announced that the film would be placed under an accelerated development and released next summer. Towards that end, the first cast member has been revealed.

James McAvoy has agreed to play a younger Professor Charles Xavier (aka Professor X) in “X-Men: First Class,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. The story reportedly follows the early days of the partnership between Professor X and Magneto as they trained the first generation of mutants before a violent rift developed between them.

McAvoy has previously appeared in several films, including “Becoming,” “The Last King of Scotland,” “Atonement,” “The Last Station” and “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.” However, McAvoy may be best known for his role as Wesley Gibson in the adaptation of Mark Millar’s “Wanted.” It is currently unknown if McAvoy’s role in “X-Men: First Class” will affect the development of ’Wanted 2.”

Back in March, Bryan Singer was forced to step aside from directing “X-Men: First Class” due to his commitments to the Warner Brothers film, “Jack The Giant Killer.” However, Singer will remain on board to produce “First Class” with Lauren Shuler Donner and Simon Kinberg.

More recently, screenwriter Jane Goldman was reported to be working on the “X-Men: First Class” script following a series of posts by her husband, Jonathan Ross. Goldman has previously collaborated with Vaughn on “Kick-Ass” and “Stardust.”

“X-Men: First Class” will be released on June 3, 2011.

What are your thoughts on James McAvoy playing a younger Charles Xavier? Should Patrick Stewart have been kept in the role with the same “de-aging” special effects used for his appearance in “X-Men Origins: Wolverine.”? Who would you like to see cast opposite McAvoy as Magneto? Build your own Cerebro and let us know what you’re thinking in the comment section or on Twitter!