James McAvoy is Young Professor X in X-Men First Class

Looks like Matthew Vaughn’s “X-Men: First Class” has just made its first major bit of casting: “Wanted” star James McAvoy has signed on to play Charles Xavier, aka Professor X in the upcoming “X-Men” prequel. The role was originally played by Patrick Stewart (of “Star Trek” fame) for the last three “X-Men” movies until he was unceremoniously (and dare I say it, lamely) killed off in the third one.

Up next: casting a Young Erik Lensherr, aka Magneto, as “First Class” will focus on the two men’s friendship and eventual growing apart, leading them to form their own separate mutant armies — Professor X’s The X-Men and Magneto’s The Brotherhood.

The film’s London shoot is scheduled for May of this year, for a June 3, 2011 release. Bryan Singer, who originally really, really wanted to direct, will have to settle for producing, while “Kick Ass” director Vaughn will call the shots for Fox. (And no, there are no truth to the rumor that Hit-Girl will be revealed to be a mutant and Wolverine’s illegitimate daughter. Though admittedly, that’d be pretty cool.)

The best part about playing Professor X? All the money you save on haricuts.