How the X-Men characters have aged (or not) since First Class

Daisy Phillipson
Photo credit: 20th Century Fox
Photo credit: 20th Century Fox

From Digital Spy

Well, that’s it, the X-Men saga has come to an end (at least in this cinematic universe, anyway). Simon Kinberg's Dark Phoenix serves as the "just... fine" conclusion to the film series, wrapping up the arcs of the mutant superheroes with a story in which they grapple with Jean Grey as she evolves into the iconic titular foe.

Fans and critics alike weren’t overly enthused about the conclusion – and although we thought the film wasn’t totally without merit, we’re still baffled at one of the most bizarre aspects of the franchise that Dark Phoenix did nothing to explain...

The fact that the characters don’t seem to age.

Think about it. First Class was set in 1962, Days of Future Past in 1973, Apocalypse took place in 1983 and Dark Phoenix followed up in 1992. That’s thirty years between the films – and yet the original characters have barely developed wrinkles.

Is it because they’re mutants? This applies to Mystique, who ages slowly thanks to her shapeshifting biological make-up. But that still doesn’t explain how the rest of the team have retained their youth over the years. Take a look for yourself...

James McAvoy as Professor X (First Class / Dark Phoenix)

Photo credit: Marvel Studios
Photo credit: Marvel Studios

In First Class we find out Charles Xavier, aka Professor X, was born in 1932, which makes him 60 years of age in Dark Phoenix. Although he’s old enough to get a free bus pass, James McAvoy looks far too young for the part, resulting from the series hopscotching through time.

Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique (First Class / Dark Phoenix)

Photo credit: Marvel Studios
Photo credit: Marvel Studios

Speaking of Professor X, the character first met Raven Darkholme when she was ten and he was twelve, establishing her birth year as 1934, making the character roughly 58 years old in the latest instalment.

As said, this one’s down to her shape-shifting abilities and is explained outright in the film when Hank examines Raven's cells, and tells her: "You gotta see this. Your genes are extraordinary, you know that? Your cells age at half the rate of a normal human. When you're 40, you'll still have the leucocytes of a teenager."

No problems here.

Michael Fassbender as Magneto (First Class / Dark Phoenix)

Photo credit: Marvel Studios
Photo credit: Marvel Studios

Just like Professor X, despite technically being an OAP, Michael Fassbender sure does look great as Magneto in Dark Phoenix. In fact, think back to First Class and we find out he’s 14 during the wartime flashback in 1944, meaning he’s even older than his “old” buddy Xavier, making him 62 in the recent film.

For someone who’s had to endure the horrors of World War II, it doesn’t seem to have taken its toll on the mutant leader.

Nicholas Hoult as the Beast (First Class / Dark Phoenix)

Photo credit: Marvel Studios
Photo credit: Marvel Studios

The Beast made a return for the epic conclusion to the series as the only other survivor of the original First Class of X-Men. His exact birth date is a little murky, but we know he came to be at some point in the ‘40s, making him somewhere in his early 50s in Dark Phoenix.

Similar to Mystique, it could be that his mutant genes are the reason for his youthful look. Either that or he’s got a damn fine skin fur routine.

Evan Peters as Quicksilver (Days of Future Past / Dark Phoenix)

Photo credit: Marvel Studios
Photo credit: Marvel Studios

All that dashing about clearly doesn’t age a person, if Evan PetersQuicksilver is anything to go by. In Days of Future Past, Wolverine describes him as "a kid", placing him in his teens when the film is set in 1973. (No, we’re not buying it either.)

This would make him in his late 30s in Dark Phoenix, and yet another character we’ll have to handwave with the whole 'mutant genes' excuse.

Tye Sheridan as Cyclops (Apocalypse / Dark Phoenix)

Photo credit: Marvel Studios
Photo credit: Marvel Studios

To be fair, a lot of characters who debuted in X-Men: Apocalypse are more age appropriate, including Tye Sheridan’s Cyclops who was a teen in the film’s 1983 setting. This would make him in his 20s in Dark Phoenix, an age we can totally get on board with and one that fits with the actor’s actual age.

Sophie Turner as Dark Phoenix (Apocalypse / Dark Phoenix)

Photo credit: Marvel Studios
Photo credit: Marvel Studios

Same goes for Sophie Turner, who reprised her role as the central figure of the latest and last X-Men instalment and whose birth year is said to be somewhere in the late '60s. If Apocalypse is set in 1983, this would make her a teen in this timeline and in her 20s in Dark Phoenix. The actress is 23 IRL, meaning the film has only aged her by a couple of years at most.

Alexandra Shipp as Storm (Apocalypse / Dark Phoenix)

Photo credit: Marvel Studios
Photo credit: Marvel Studios

Alexandra Shipp returned as the superhuman cape-wearer in Dark Phoenix, joining her former classmates to become a pivotal figure in the handling of Jean Grey when she is corrupted by the mysterious cosmic force.

Since Shipp is 27, there are no burning questions to her character’s age, which is said to be somewhere in the late 20s.

Kodi Smit-McPhee as Nightcrawler (Apocalypse / Dark Phoenix)

Photo credit: Marvel Studios
Photo credit: Marvel Studios

Joining the team on the space mission gone awry was Kodi Smit-McPhee who once again starred as Nightcrawler. Just like his mutant pals, the on-screen iteration of the character was born in the '60s, making him 20-something in Dark Phoenix – a close match to his actual age of 22.

X-Men: Dark Phoenix is out in UK cinemas now and US cinemas on June 7.

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