Just how old are the X-Men and Magneto supposed to be in Dark Phoenix? Since the soft reboot of X-Men: First Class reintroduced the mutants played by a younger cast of actors, the way the X-Men age – or rather don’t seem to age – has become one of the franchise’s most bizarre aspects. This is only compounded by how the X-Men films occur roughly every ten years in their timeline: First Class was in 1962, Days of Future Past mostly happened in 1973, and X-Men: Apocalypse took place in 1983. Dark Phoenix is following suit with a 1993 setting.
For the mutants who were in First Class, this means roughly thirty years have passed across the four movies! James McAvoy’s Charles Xavier, Michael Fassbender’s Magneto, and Jennifer Lawrence’s Mystique frankly look great (perhaps unbelievably so), all things considered. X-Men: Apocalypse poked fun at how ageless Moira McTaggart (Rose Byrne) looked considering over 20 years passed since Professor X met the CIA agent. Moira was roughly in her early 30s during the events of First Class, which climaxed with the X-Men stopping the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. But the reality of Xavier, Magneto, and Mystique’s ages borders on the absurd in Dark Phoenix. The filmmakers can’t be blamed for not recasting actors the caliber of McAvoy, Fassbender, and Lawrence but suspension of disbelief from fans is required more than ever before.
So how old are all of the mutants in Dark Phoenix? Starting with the original trio fans met in First Class, Charles Xavier was born in 1932, which means Professor X is roughly 61 years old in 1993. First Class established that Charles met Raven Darkholme/Mystique when he was ten and he was a little older than she; Raven was born in 1934, so Mystique is roughly 59 in Dark Phoenix. However, Mystique’s mutant power of shapeshifting also ages her very slowly, so there is an in-universe explanation for her perpetually youthful appearance. McAvoy’s Xavier has no such excuse, although he did lose his hair in X-Men: Apocalypse and McAvoy performs with a countenance that lets him portray Professor X as a man in his early 60s somewhat believably.
Meanwhile, Erik Lensherr/Magneto is supposed to be even older than Charles and Mystique. He was born in 1930, which means Magneto is roughly 63 in 1993. Erik was 14 when he was sent to a concentration camp in Auschwitz in 1944, where his mutant power over magnetism manifested. It’s interesting to note that Patrick Stewart was 60 and Ian McKellan was 61 in 2000 when the first X-Men movie premiered, so the current ages of the characters now line up with the original actors’ ages when they debuted. However, McAvoy and Fassbender simply do not look like men in their early 60s.
The next two oldest mutants include Hank McCoy/Beast (Nicholas Hoult), the only other survivor of the original ‘first class’ of X-Men. He was born sometime in the 1940s and looked to be in his early-20s during First Class; this means Beast is somewhere in his early 50’s during Dark Phoenix. Meanwhile, it’s unclear how old Peter Maximoff/Quicksilver (Evan Peters) is; Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) said he was “a kid” during Days of Future Past but if Quicksilver was a teenager in 1973, he joined the X-Men in his late 20s a decade later. Therefore, Quicksilver must be in his late 30s in Dark Phoenix.
Thankfully, the actors playing the next generation of X-Men are age-appropriate. Cyclops (Tye Sheridan), Jean Grey (Sophie Turner), Storm (Alexandra Shipp), and Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee) were all teenagers and classmates at the Xavier School during X-Men: Apocalypse. Since they are all roughly the same age, the X-Men are in their mid-20s during Dark Phoenix, which lines up nicely with the real ages of the actors. Now, just don’t ask us how old Jessica Chastain‘s mysterious, shapeshifting, extraterrestrial villain is supposed to be.