James McAvoy is a beast, and we're not talking about the character he plays in Split! For the better part of two decades, McAvoy has been stepping up to some huge roles in the sci-fi and fantasy realm. Anyone remember his portrayal of Leto II Atreides in the SYFY original miniseries, Frank Herbert's Children of Dune?
From there, McAvoy inhabited the adorably soulful faun named Mr. Tumnus in The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. And long before it became cool to star in a comic book movie, he headlined Wanted as Wesley A. Gibson. He even voiced the title role in the animated flick Arthur Christmas.
But McAvoy's greatest claim to genre fame may be his four X-Men movies as the founder of the team, Charles Xavier. For the first time in live action, McAvoy got to introduce fans to a much younger Xavier, back when he was still friends with Magneto. He not only stepped into Patrick Stewart's iconic role, he also made it his own.
McAvoy really got to show off his acting chops in Split as Kevin Wendell Crumb, a man with 23 different personalities, as well as an alter ego called The Beast. That movie allowed McAvoy to play a character who could be male or female, young or old, and meek or menacing at the drop of the hat. He was such a revelation that Split led to Glass, the long-awaited sequel to Unbreakable.
More recently, McAvoy has played Bill Denbrough in It Chapter Two and Lord Asriel Belacqua in HBO's adaptation of His Dark Materials. When combined with his previous roles, it makes a strong case that McAvoy is the low-key king of sci-fi. His range is incredible, and he's only getting better with age.
For more about McAvoy's roles, check out Roles Ranked, a new original video from SYFY!