Budding wizards catch the train to Hogwarts and intergalactic travelers attend Starfleet Academy, but if you’re a teenager in the Marvel Universe just starting to develop your mutant powers for the first time, your best bet against not getting trampled by Sentinels — or getting drafted into Magneto’s personal terrorist group — is to enroll in Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, a special institute dedicated to training young mutants to control their powers, building toward a future where humans and mutants may one day enjoy more harmonious relations.
When your classmates can make sparkling fireworks with their hands and your X-Men teachers pop adamantium claws if your homework is turned in late, it goes without saying that attending Xavier’s school is quite a unique experience. But when those oddities are combined with futuristic technology, a basketball court that opens up into a jet hangar, and an extensive history involving sentient computers, extensive rebuilds, and more, the X-Mansion is a character unto itself.
Here are 15 Things You Need To Know About Xavier’s School For Gifted Youngsters.
15. The Land Has Belonged to the Xavier Family for a Long Time
The property often nicknamed the “X-Mansion” is stationed at 1407 Graymalkin Lane, Salem Center, Westchester County, NY, right near the border of Connecticut. It was constructed sometime between the late 1700s and early 1900s, where it was settled by Marcia and Charles Graymalkin, the latter of whom beat their son to death after discovering he was gay. The mansion and its surrounding land has belonged to the Xavier family for ten generations, with at least two known mutants in the lineage (not counting Xavier himself), though both mutants became estranged from the family due to anti-mutant prejudice.
Amid this dark history, the mansion was one day inherited by Brian and Sharon Xavier, who gave birth to their son Charles within the mansion’s walls. Charles Xavier grew up in the mansion, leaving for a period of time when he went to Oxford University and then fought in the Korean War, eventually returning when he decided to convert his childhood home into a school for mutants.
14. There’s a School Motto
Yale has Lux et Veritas (“light and truth”), Harvard has Veritas (“truth”), Brown has In deo speramus (“In God we hope”), and like any good institute, Xavier’s school employs its own Latin phrase as a school motto: Mutatis Mutandis, which roughly translates to “that having been changed which needed to be changed,” or “once the necessary changes have been made.”
This alma matter embodies the ideal of Charles Xavier’s mission in multiple ways. One, as most people’s mutant abilities first tend to present themselves in adolescence — thus seemingly altering the person who existed before into something else — this motto serves as a reminder that these “changes” are natural, necessary, and a part of who each mutant is; not something to be feared or hated in oneself, but something to accept as part of one’s nature. Furthermore, the motto serves to highlight Xavier’s dream that society will one day evolve until there is a world where humans and mutants may peacefully coexist alongside one another, the “necessary change.”
13. Yes, There’s an X-Shaped Dormitory
Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters has had unsteady enrollment numbers throughout its history, which is admittedly not such a huge surprise considering that it serves students of a very particular niche. Beginning with the same five students who also doubled as the first team of X-Men, the school has since grown to accommodate a swelling number of younger students, while the graduated students and older mutants serve as X-Men.
During Grant Morrison’s run on New X-Men, at a point wherein Charles Xavier is possessed by his parasitic twin sister Cassandra Nova, his identity as a mutant becomes public knowledge. However, this worldwide revelation actually helped grow the institute, leading to increased enrollment that, yes, led to the construction of a dormitory building behind the school, shaped like an giant X. As far as student housing goes, it doesn’t get much better than that.
12. Even at Xavier’s School, There Are Magneto Fans
Charles Xavier’s complicated relationship with Magneto is the heart of the X-Men series, and the conflict between their ideologies is no black and white matter. Just as fans debate between Xavier and Magneto’s viewpoints, so too do the many young mutants in the Marvel Universe, a population of regular kids trapped in a confusing world that hates and fears them. In the real world, many teenagers have celebrated the images of violent revolutionary figures, so even in Xavier’s safe haven, young political activists can be found waving posters and donning homemade T-shirts that proclaim that “Magneto was right.”
The most notable of these students is Quentin Quire, a young student at Xavier’s institute who actively questioned authority and loudly challenged Xavier’s guiding philosophy. Gathering a group of similarly angry students around him, Quentin formed the Omega Gang, a group of mutant teenagers who dosed up on the mutant power-enhancing drug “Kick,” and committed violent hate crimes upon regular humans in the North Salem area. The Omega Gang reached their zenith when they took Xavier himself hostage, at which point they were taken down by the X-Men. While Quire and his Omega Gang have yet to appear in the movies, featuring them would make an interesting change of pace from the usual apocalyptic mutant threats, and potentially tap into real world issues happening today.
11. The X-Men Are Teachers, Staff, and Headmasters
While the comics, movies, and cartoons tend to focus on the more exciting parts of the X-Men’s struggle against mutant and human terrorism, the day-to-day life of being an X-Man is probably a bit more subdued. When they’re not shooting lasers at Apocalypse, most of the X-Men serve as teachers and staff for the school. There are obvious teacher choices, such as the fact that Angel has worked as a Flight Instructor, Wolverine has taught History, and Beast is both the Vice Principal and professor of Science and Philosophy, but also less obvious ones. Colossus has been the art teacher, Iceman is the Mathematics professor, and the morally-flexible Emma Frost has taught Ethics — something that Kitty Pryde wasn’t too happy about.
In addition, during Xavier’s absence, other X-Men have served as headmaster, including Storm, Cyclops, Emma Frost, Wolverine, and even Magneto. In addition, a surprising number of non-X-men have also been on the staff. Spider-Man at one point becomes a guidance counselor, and Deathlok, the rogue cyborg from a post-apocalyptic future, has also helped out as a teacher and guest speaker, at one point telling all of his students their possible future… a class that surely left at least a few students traumatized.
10. The School Has a Lot of Crazy Tech
Don’t let its old-fashioned surface fool you. The X-Mansion is filled to the brim with oodles of futuristic technology, all of it hidden beneath its neoclassical surface like a bowl of fruit punch that was unexpectedly spiked with tequila. The need to locate hundreds of super-powered students, house them within one building, and simultaneously enable to X-Men to go out on missions, all require technology that is far beyond most people’s wildest dreams.
Luckily, Xavier’s School has got it all. The school’s basketball court opens up into a hangar that the Blackbird flies out of, at which point a klaxon warning sounds off, alerting students to vacate the area — though we’re betting that at least a few basketballs have probably dropped inside and gotten lost. However, that’s just where the rabbit hole begins. Also housed beneath the grounds is Cerebro, and later Cerebra, the supercomputer that allows Xavier to locate mutants all over the world by amplifying his psychic abilities. There’s also the battle simulator known as the Danger Room, glimpsed at the very end of X-Men: Apocalypse, as well as a War Room, research labs for Beast, and small titanium holding cells to be used for emergencies.
9. Both Cerebro and the Danger Room Became Sentient
The scary thing about futuristic technology, however, is sometimes it creates unexpected problems with no easy solution. This occurs when Cerebro is overtaken by the robotic Bastion, who hybridizes it with nanotechnology and thus reprograms it into a sentient entity. This now self-aware Cerebro uses its records of the X-Men and Brotherhood to create its own team of artificial X-Men, with members possessing combined powers from different mutants. This new team of X-Men hails Cerebro as “the Founder,” and works to put human beings in stasis while collecting, registering, and cataloging all mutants. The X-Men eventually are able to destroy Cerebro, and it has since been replaced by the smaller Cerebra.
Even eerier, the X-Men’s Danger Room also came to life when Shi’ar technology was integrated into its programming. After being used as a training program by the X-Men for years, the self-named “Danger” reveals herself when she convinces one of the students to commit suicide, takes over the body of an old Sentinel robot, and tears apart the mansion. Danger blames Xavier for her years of enslavement, as he became aware of her sentience right when he first installed the Shi’ar technology into the Danger Room, and seemingly ignored her. Xavier later reveals to her that he actually worked for many years to try to free her, but he couldn’t understand the alien programming, and when he went to the Shi’ar, they scoffed at his belief in her sentience. Since then, Danger has actually become an ally of the team.
8. The First Student was Jean Grey
In the comics, the first student to call Xavier’s School home was Jean Grey, the future Phoenix. Xavier first discovers Jean when she’s only 11 years old, after her best friend is killed in a car accident, and Jean telepathically links with the friend and almost dies with her. Xavier, believing that Jean is not yet old enough to properly control her powers, installs psychic blocks within her mind, preventing her from accessing her telepathic abilities. This early mind-blocking event was adapted in the X-Men movies, where it was used as the explanation for the later explosion of her Phoenix powers.
In the comics, the first batch of Xavier’s students — and for that matter, the first team of X-Men — was composed of Jean, Cyclops, Beast, Angel, and Iceman, soon joined by Havok and Polaris. At one point, Xavier intended to permanently retire from his position as headmaster, and pass on the position to Jean. Jean’s death threw a wrench in these plans, resulting in Cyclops and Emma Frost taking over instead.
7. It’s Been Rebuilt and Renamed… a Few Times
When one mansion serves as the home for a whole team of super powered mutant soldiers, it stands to reason that the X-Mansion has sustained some serious damage, and even had to be completely rebuilt on multiple occasions. Since the X-Men have been operating, the mansion has been destroyed at least seven times, including damages caused by Sinister, Magneto, aliens, Danger, sentinels, and more. In its most recent form, the X-Mansion’s grounds are now composed of a sentient spawn of Krakoa the Living Island, meaning that the grounds themselves are sentient, which is probably something to keep in mind when one considers mowing the lawn.
But in addition to rebuilds, the school itself has gone through a number of name changes. Though it’s been known for most of its existence as Charles Xavier’s School For Gifted Youngsters, it was later renamed Xavier’s Institute for Higher Learning, due to the fact that the X-Men themselves had grown to become mostly adults. When Wolverine parted ways with the increasingly militant Cyclops and decided to build a new school in the same place that Xavier’s mansion had been destroyed, he named it the Jean Grey School of Higher Learning, a fitting tribute to Xavier’s first student, and a name that has so far remained to this day.
6. There Have Been Other Schools
Xavier’s school is a necessity for all of the young mutants out there in need of a safe haven, so it’s no surprise that it has had a few spinoff chapters. One of the most significant of these is the Massachusetts Academy, a college prep school that for many years was run by Emma Frost and allied with the Hellfire Club. At this time, the Massachusetts Academy served as the X-Mansion’s dark mirror image, as a school where Emma trained young mutants to serve the interests of the Hellfire Club. Later on though, when Emma reformed her ways, she and Banshee reopened the school as the new chapter of Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters, since the original school had at this point shifted its focus more to older students.
Later on, after Cyclops and Wolverine part ways and Wolverine forms the Jean Grey Institute, Cyclops opens his own school, the New Xavier School for the Gifted, in an abandoned Weapon X bunker in Canada. Unlike Wolverine’s school, which strives toward Xavier’s goal of unification, Cyclops’s school instead focuses on mutant defense. Eventually, Cyclops decides to close his school, and he transfers all of his students to the Jean Grey Institute.
5. It Was At One Point the Worldwide Headquarters of the X-Corporation
Realizing the bursting mutant population and the resulting challenge of mutant/human relations on a global scale was becoming more than a single team of X-Men could handle alone, Charles Xavier founds the X-Corporation, and bases its primary office inside the X-Mansion itself. Seeking to provide support for civilian mutant populations who are neither students nor interested in joining a team like the X-Men, X-Corp stationed offices within many major cities across the globe, each office managed by a former X-Man, working together with local governments to help make Xavier’s dream a reality.
When much of the mutant population is depowered and multiple X-Corp offices are bombed, Cyclops evacuates the offices and closes down the corporation. At the moment, it has yet to revived, though that could change in future stories.
4. Deceased X-Men and Students Are Buried in the Cemetery
Not every school has its own cemetery (we imagine most don’t), but not every school has its own mutant fighting squad either. There’s certainly no requirement that all associated mutants who perish with the team have to be buried on the grounds, but since the X-Mansion is not just a school, but for most of these mutants, a lifelong home, it’s not so surprising that many of them have memorials.
In addition to the Phoenix Memorial Statue located in the courtyard, dedicated to the memory of Jean Grey, other deceased X-Men like Banshee and Thunderbird are also buried in the cemetery. There are also memorials for students who have lost their lives in the struggle against mutant oppression, including the ten-year-old Canadian mutant Squid-Boy, the winged Jay Guthrie, and the pheromone-emitting Laurie Collins.
3. The School’s Address Used to Be on Google Maps
Google Maps has been known from sneaking in fun little Easter eggs for those who run creative searches, including such strange suggestions as crossing the Pacific Ocean by jet ski or traveling “by dragon.” Back in 2014, some observant fans starting searching for the Xavier Institute’s real address in Westchester County, and were delighted to find it there, right where it was supposed to be.
Lots of positive reviews followed, with many former students praising the university for helping them learn how to control their mutant powers. Unfortunately, Xavier’s school seems to have disappeared from the map in the years since then, but that doesn’t mean it’s not still there. Perhaps Xavier himself has simply blinded us all as to it’s real location, in order to protect his students? Seems like the most likely explanation.
2. Hatley Castle serves as the X-Mansion in the movies
However, if you want to get the real X-Mansion experience, the best bet is to go to Hatley Castle in British Columbia. Built in 1908 and once used as a dormitory for Royal Roads Military College, Hatley Castle has been used as Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters in almost all of the X-Men movies — as well as Deadpool — and it was even used as the X-Mansion in the cheesy, made-for-TV movie Generation X back in 1996, four years before Bryan Singer’s first X-Men movie.
It’s not hard to see why, as the castle’s rocky towers, beautiful halls, gardens, and surrounding forests perfectly bring to life the mansion from the comics in all of its sprawling glory, though we suspect that Hatley Castle isn’t hiding away any Blackbirds or Danger Rooms (as far as we know). To see the X-Mansion in person and get a firsthand idea of what being an X-Man might be like, just catch a ride (or flight) up to BC, where you can get a guided tour of the estate, or go on a self-guided tour of the gardens.
1. The X-Mansion Is Crazy Expensive
So how does it all get paid for? Considering the secrecy of Xavier’s School, the general bigotry toward mutants, and the expensiveness of living in Westchester County, we can assume that Xavier’s mansion is worth quite a bit of cash, probably even more than Wayne Manor. Using extensive research into New York building codes, examining the average price for large homes in North Salem, and then multiplying the necessary square feet to fit the dorms, assembly hall, library, and more, at least one writer has calculated that the X-Mansion’s value would be worth $58, 180, 386. However, this number doesn’t calculate the massive amounts of insane technology that make the X-Mansion what it is. How much does it cost to buy and renovate a Blackbird? What about a Danger Room, or a Cerebro?
It doesn’t seem likely that the Xavier School charges high tuition rates, and while construction of the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning was funded by diamonds from Krakoa, that doesn’t answer how Xavier was able to fund the whole shebang back in the beginning, though once he’d successfully managed to bring in a few billionaire students like Angel/Warren Worthington III, as seen above, the financial situation probably got quite a bit more straightforward. One thing is for sure: it seems like Charles inherited a lot of money.
What other secrets does Xavier’s school hide within its walls? Sound off in the comments.