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WEDNESDAY, MAY 31, 2006

X-MEN: THE LAST STAND: ARE THEY REALLY DEAD?

(Warning: This story reveals major details and the ending of the film and is geared only for readers who have seen the movie.)

NEW YORK -- So did Cyclops really die in X-Men: The Last Stand? Did Professor Xavier? Did Jean Grey?

It all depends on who you ask -- or what you've seen. The filmmakers didn't tie everything up, that's for sure.

Here's a look at the characters' fates:

* When last on screen, Cyclops was at Alkali Lake, reunited with Jean Grey in a kiss that apparently finished with the Phoenix side of her personality disintegrating him. When Storm and Wolverine reach the scene, all they find is Scott's glasses floating in space.

Back at the X-infirmary, Jean admits to Wolverine that she "killed someone" -- without actually naming Scott -- before going into Phoenix mode and leaving the mansion.

And at the end of the film, there's a tombstone with Scott Summers' name on it.

But did Cyclops really die?

James Marsden, who played the character in all three X-Men films, isn't 100 percent certain.

"I was presented with a concept for the third film. With that presentation came the fact that Scott meets his demise," Marsden said. "But also with the idea, nobody really dies in the X-Men universe.

"So there's a sort of feeling we can do these movies forever with the same characters. So we'll see."

* Professor Xavier, trying to save Jean from the Phoenix, is disintegrated. But if you stick around at the end of the closing credits, you'll discover in an added scene where Xavier has apparently occupied the body or mind of a brain-dead patient of Moira MacTaggart at Muir Island.

Xavier apparently moved his mind before Jean distinegrated his body. Actor Patrick Stewart noted that Charles has had a rough go of it in all three X-films.

"I've disappeared from massive sections of these movies for one obvious reason, you cannot put Xavier in the middle of an action sequence," Stewart said. "So the moment they start building to that, they've got to find a way of dumping him. And this time they found a very effective way of doing it."

Before filming began, Stewart said he had a conversation with 20th Century Fox head Tom Rothman.

"We talked about, what would be the implication about Xavier not making it to the end of the movie?" Stewart said. "What if we lost Xavier? What would this mean?

"And if we were to do that, in what way might he somehow, be cold frozen, so we could bring him back if we want to?"

Stewart said those weren't really "creative conversations." He had those with director Brett Ratner, who, after being brought aboard, talked about with Xavier's demise in his first phone conversation with Stewart.

"He said," Stewart recounted, "'I told them they're crazy. They can't kill you off. It's a mad idea. How can you kill off Professor Xavier? He is the X-Men. It's not going to happen. We're going to find some exciting things to do.'

"Of course, all this, for me, was just words in the air because, along with a lot others, we haven't seen any pages."

It was suggested to Stewart that at least the filmmakers gave Xavier the last word. "Indeed, they do," he said.

* And finally, Jean Grey seems to the most likely to be really be dead, since was she gutted by Wolverine and passes in his arms.

But wasn't she supposed to be dead at the end of X2?



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