When a live-action X-Men movie was first pitched in the 1990s, there was just one guy that everyone agreed should play Charles Xavier: Patrick Stewart then the star of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Thankfully, Stewart accepted the role, and did an outstanding job as Professor X through 2017’s Logan, which gave the character a moving sendoff. Then Marvel acquired Fox along with the rights to the X-Men movie franchise. That wound seem to spell the end of Stewart’s tenure, as Marvel wasn’t going to just continue the Fox continuity; they were going to do their own thing.

But now Marvel has an entire multiverse going in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which allows them to incorporate pre-existing superheroes from other movie universes. And, yes, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness brings back Stewart as Xavier for a fun appearance. (We won’t spoil anything more than that but this is not a surprise; Stewart and even Professor X’s yellow hoverchair have both been teased in the Doctor Strange trailers.)

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Marvel still hasn’t brought the X-Men into the main MCU, so there is a lot of uncertainty about how and when they will do that. But Stewart, at least, is open to playing Xavier again. When asked by Variety whether he would be open to another return as Professor X in the future he responded “Yeah... You know, the whole X-Men comic series is so huge, so vast, there might be an opportunity in which he comes back. We’ll see.” And lest you think Patrick Stewart’s the kind of guy who’d just say yes to any chance to pay these roles, he’s already said that the upcoming third season of Star Trek: Picard will be his farewell to that franchise.

Patrick Stewart is 81 years old, so he may not be up for another long tenure as the head of the X-Men. But Professor X is one of those characters that works just fine at pretty much any age, so if Stewart is game, it would be fun to see him back again. Or how about voicing the character on that revival of the X-Men animated series that Disney+ is working on? That would be perfect. The options are endless in a multiverse.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is in theaters now.

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