Everyone has their favorite member of the X-Men. Some like Wolverine for his edginess and determination. Some prefer Rogue for her fascinating abilities and remarkable history. Others who prefer to answer such questions correctly choose to side with Colossus. Regardless of who your favorite mutant member of the fabled group is, however, it seems that nearly everyone harbors a fondness for Charles Xavier. The good professor has long been at the center of the X-Men even when he wasn’t serving as the defacto leader of the group. There is just something comforting about the character’s presence. Of course, that might be due to the fact that he’s one of the most powerful mutants in the world. Then again, it might just be the Patrick Stewart effect.
For as beloved as Xavier is, however, there is quite a bit about the character that most fans don’t know. Chalk that up to Xavier’s long history, which is often complicated by the events of his alternate reality activities and other such comic book chicanery. Remarkably, though, learning the full story of Xavier’s past does little to tarnish the mystique of his presence. If anything, it just makes him that much more fascinating.
This is Professor X: 20 Things You Never Knew About Charles Xavier.
20 He’s an Incredibly Gifted Martial Artist
Before he settled into the superhero life, Charles Xavier spent some time as a globe-trotter. Determined to leave some unsavory aspects of is past life behind him, Xavier began to lose himself in the culture of other countries while learning everything that he could. Infamously, these travels took him to Asia, where he took the time to learn martial arts from some of the greatest masters. Of course, this was before Xavier was paralyzed.
Still, it’s interesting to imagine how capable of a martial artist Professor X would be if he had the full use of his legs available to him. By all accounts, his fighting skills are world-class in their own right, but when combined with his ability to anticipate the moves of his opponents before they occur, then they must surely be deadly. Truth be told, we wouldn’t completely discount the deadly potential of Xavier’s hand-to-hand combat skills even when he’s only using his arms.
19 His Net Worth is in the Billions
When someone thinks of rich superheroes, they tend to start citing names like Bruce Wayne and Tony Stark. That makes sense, given that the wealth of those characters is closely associated with the skills and equipment that make them superheroes. Charles Xavier doesn’t always top the quick list of infamously wealthy superheroes, which is kind of funny when you consider that everything about Professor X suggests that he is a man of tremendous means. After all, how else would one acquire a stately mansion, a seemingly infinite supply of high-tech equipment, and the resources needed to maintain a privately-run school?
How much money Xavier has is a matter of debate, but his net worth is commonly said to be around $3.5 billion. Much of that money came from his inheritance of an old family fortune. Now, while that’s a puny figure compared to folks like Black Panther, who may be worth hundreds of billions, it’s more than enough money to keep Xavier rolling in X-branded equipment for the foreseeable future.
18 Xavier Has Lost the Ability to Walk Several Times
It’s sad enough that Charles Xavier had to lose the use of his legs once, but it’s downright tragic that he has actually been crippled several times. Well…kind of. There have been several versions of the events that led to Xavier becoming paraplegic over the years, starting with a fight against the mutant Lucifer, which ended with his legs being crushed by a boulder.
From there, Xavier gains the ability to walk again after the X-Men build him a clone body. Unfortunately, a battle with the Shadow King put him in a wheelchair once again. Then, a mutant called Xorn restores his ability to walk again. As it turns out, though, this was a ploy constructed by Magneto so that he could gain control of Xavier. Add to those incidents X-Men: First Class’s take on the matter (a bullet to the spine) and the time that Scarlett Witch rewrote history to spawn a reality where Xavier can walk again, and you start to realize that writers love to come up with ways to take Xavier’s legs.
17 He’s a Member of Marvel’s Illuminati
Ah, the Illuminati. They’re not just an elaborate meme used by internet folk as a placeholder for actual humor (Example: “John Cena = Illuminati. LUL.”), they’re a bonafide part of the Marvel universe. It was Brian Michael Bendis who created the Marvel version of the fabled group of secret puppeteers. They were formed by Tony Stark sometime after the events of the Kree-Skull War as part of his attempt to keep humanity protected against alien threats.
The group includes such high-profile heroes as Namor, Stark, Reed Richards, Black Bolt, Dr. Strange, and Charles Xavier. Professor X is there as a representative of the mutant community, but the Illuminati have often utilized his telepathic abilities to stay one step ahead of their enemies. Xavier was absent for some of the group’s most notable moments, however. He wasn’t present during the early days of the Civil War conflict, and he also claimed to be absent when the group decided to shoot Hulk into space.
16 Storm Was the First Future X-Men Member Xavier Encountered, but Jean Grey Was His First Student
This one is a bit tricky, chronologically speaking, as this version of the tale was added somewhere along the way in the comic-verse. As it hasn't been altered since, however, it’s still considered canonical. During Xavier’s aforementioned traveling days, he took a little trip to Cairo. There, he was accosted by a young thief who attempted to mug him. Using his telepathic abilities, he was able to stop the thief and, in doing so, recognized that she possessed great power. This child later grew up to become Storm.
Technically, you could make the argument that Storm wasn't the very first mutant that Xavier encountered, but she is the first future card-carrying member of the X-Men that he met in the world. However, the first student he took in was an 11-year-old Jean Grey, who had just learned of her abilities. Storm wouldn’t join the team until establishing herself as sort of a local goddess, whose legend grew so large that it caught the attention of the X-Men.
15 He Used Mental Blocks to Keep Jean Grey’s Powers in Check When She Was Only 11
Speaking of Jean Grey, let’s take a moment to examine the fascinating history of that character across various Marvel publications. As you may know, Jean Grey’s first appearance in a Marvel comic was as Marvel Girl in X-Men #1. At this time, she was a relatively weak character especially in comparison to Charles Xavier. Along the way, however, writer Chris Claremont and others decided to retweak Grey’s power level. When it was all said and done, Grey became (arguably) the most powerful member of the group.
Given the popularity of illogical comic retcons, there really was no need for the writers to explain why it was that Grey was portrayed as slightly weaker and eventually became so powerful. Yet, they crafted a fascinating bit of logic to help explain the change anyway. Later storylines would reveal that Xavier recognized the tremendous power that Grey possessed at a young age and opted to put utilize certain mental blocks that would prevent her from reaching her dangerous full potential. In the long run, it didn’t work.
14 Professor Xavier Almost Always Puts the Cause Above the Safety of the X-Men
The popular image of Professor Xavier is a sort of fatherly figure that views that the X-Men as his children. That’s a lovely image, but it’s not entirely an accurate one. Xavier certainly cares about his students and the X-Men, but he’s ultimately an idealist who puts his philosophy and vision above all. This has led to several instances over the years where he knowingly puts his team in direct danger in order to further his cause.
Putting aside the tricky morality of putting children in uniforms and sending them off to fight, Xavier has made some almost supervillain-like decisions in the past. For instance, he once recognized that the Danger Room had become sentient, but chose to allow the X-Men to use it anyway as to not impede their crucial training. Then, there was the matter of the entire group of woefully unprepared mutants he assembled that quickly died while serving Xavier. Don’t worry, though, as Professor X went out of his way to erase people’s memories of that particular incident.
13 Xavier Has Created Files that Detail How to Kill Any Mutant (Including the X-Men)
One of the most infamous DC storylines of all-time is the Justice League arc known as Tower of Babel. The crux of this famous story is the revelation that Batman has been keeping secret tabs on the rest of the Justice League over the years. He did this so that he would know how to defeat these heroes if they ever turned rogue. It was a brilliant story that fit the incredibly paranoid Batman beautifully.
As it turns out, Xavier has a similar contingency plan in play. Following an incident involving the mutant Onslaught – who was partially created as the result of Xavier’s darker side – Professor X began compiling a series of files known as the Xavier Protocols. These files were essentially a detailed blueprint that detailed how to defeat the world’s most powerful mutants, including the X-Men. The creation of these files is a tremendous example of Xavier’s logic-based motivation.
12 Marvel and DC Created an Elaborate Parody of Professor X and Doctor Strange Called Doctor Strangefate
This is a strange one, so bear with us. If you’ve never heard of the imprint known as Amalgam Comics, you’re missing out on a fascinating piece of comic book history. Amalgam was a joint venture between DC Comics and Marvel Comics. The entire thing was basically the two companies’ attempt to troll hardcore fans by creating a shared universe that they pretended had always existed. It featured such storylines as Bruce Wayne: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Iron Lantern.
One of the most memorable characters to emerge from this collaboration was Doctor Strangefate. Strangefate is a combination of Doctor Strange and Charles Xavier from the Marvel world and Doctor Fate from DC. Along with being the most powerful member of the Amalgam universe, Strangefate is also portrayed as the only person who seems to recognize the actual nature of the Amalgam continuity. He’s a joke within a joke, as well as one of the most enjoyable aspects of the strange Amalgam era.
11 X-Men: Apocalypse Featured an odd Retcon for Xavier’s Baldness
Professor X’s bald head is one of his defining physical traits. According to Marvel history, Xavier’s head is bald because his look is based on the actor Yul Brynner. In X-Men cannon, Xavier is bald because he was genetically pre-dispositioned to lose his hair, and his telepathic abilities only expedited the hair loss. Both of those explanations are simple ways to answer a simple question.
Apparently, the canonical reason for Xavier’s baldness wasn’t good enough for the writers of the film X-Men: Apocalypse. According to that movie, Xavier lost his hair because of his run-in with Apocalypse. As part of the ritual required for Apocalypse to gain Xavier’s powers, the mutant hero ended up going bald. Why? During the ritual, in which En Sabah Nur attempted to transfer his consciousness into Professor X, the latter's hair...sort of just melted off for unexplained reasons. Call us traditionalists, but if asked why Xavier is bald, we’re going to go with the explanation that doesn’t take 15 minutes to explain and leaves you with more questions than answers.
10 He Can Transfer His Consciousness to Other Beings (But Often Chooses Not To)
To be perfectly clear, Professor X’s powers might very well be limitless. What we know for sure is that Xavier is capable of tremendous feats when he’s called upon to utilize the full extent of his abilities. To put it another way, telepaths are a bit “OP” in the Marvel universe. Among Xavier’s many powers is his ability to transfer his consciousness into another host. At first, there’s nothing too strange about this, so far as strange things in the X-Men universe go. However, it does raise many questions.
Chief among these queries is why Professor X doesn’t actually use this ability in order to occupy a host with a fully-functional body. If push comes to shove, we’ll guess that he’s morally opposed to doing this, even if the morals of Xavier are a bit…questionable. However, this power also makes it seem like Xavier is technically immortal so long as he can transfer his consciousness before he dies. Again, though, using his power for that purpose seems to be a bit supervillain-ish.
9 Xavier’s Hoverchair Was a Gift From Forge and Patrick Stewart Got to Use a Real-Life Equivalent of It
If your first exposure to the X-Men universe came from the ‘90s animated series, you’ve likely always thought of Professor X tooling around in his sweet floating wheelchair. At the time, it was easy enough to write-off his wheelchair as something the obviously smart Xavier engineered in order to get around easier. However, Xavier didn’t design the wheelchair. In fact, it was a gift from the mutant Forge.
Following Xavier’s injury on the Astral Plane, he contracted Forge to design a plethora of useful devices using powerful Shi’ar technology. The hoverchair was one of Forge’s first technological gifts to the X-Men and was designed with the comfort of Xavier in mind. However, in an effort to not present mutants as freaks, Xavier never really used the hoverchair in public. Instead, he opted for a regular wheelchair. Interestingly enough, however, Patrick Stewart got to ride around in an actual hovering chair while shooting Days of Future Past. According to him, however, the chair only rose a few inches above the ground.
8 Xavier Once Let Humans Attend His School. It Didn't End Well.
During the course of X-Men events, Xavier was eventually publically revealed to be a mutant. While this could have caused his world to fall apart, the professor decided to use this as an opportunity to refocus his efforts and integrate himself into the human world. For instance, he founded the X-Corporation during this time, so that he would have a global organization that could more easily monitor the mutants of the world. He even decided to start letting both mutants and humans attend his school, since there was no need to keep its secondary purpose a secret any longer.
As it turns out, there were still plenty of good reasons to keep it a secret. The expansion of the school's student body contributed to the already boiling tensions between the mutants and non-mutants at Xavier’s school. Eventually, a mutant named Quentin Quire capitalized off this growing hatred and instigated a riot. Students died during the rebellion, and Xaver opted to hand over his headmaster position to Jean Grey as a result.
7 He’s Died Many Times and Is Currently Still Dead
Death in comic books is a lot like a light lunch in our world. The effects don’t tend to last that long. Still, Xavier has died quite a few times over the years, even by comic book standards. Even though he came back from many of these “deaths,” by our count, Professor X has been put in mortal peril somewhere around 10 times. Actually, that number may grow exponentially if you account for certain alternate realities.
The most fascinating death of Professor X occurred during the famous Avengers vs. X-Men storyline. This major event eventually led to Cyclops gaining the power of the Phoenix Force and killing Xavier when the professor tried to stop him. The event was climatic in its own right, but it's especially significant when you consider that it hasn’t really been undone yet. Aside from a few spiritual appearances and other such references, Xavier has remained dead since the events of that 2012 storyline.
6 He Once Possessed One of the Infinity Gems
As those who only follow the MCU will soon find out, the Infinity Gems (also known as the Soul Gems) are some of the most powerful objects in the entire Marvel universe. Individually, each of the gems can grant their wielder some incredible power. For instance, the Soul Gem allows the wielder to steal and manipulate living and dead beings. When combined, however, the true power of the gems is unleashed and the person who controls them is turned into a particularly powerful god. Just ask Thanos about what happens next.
Of course, something had to be done with the gems themselves following the fall of Thanos. It was eventually decided by the Illumanati that Professor X should possess the Mind Gem. This particular gem grants its wielder enhanced mental powers, which Xavier already possessed to some degree. Eventually, Beast came into possession of the Mind Gem following Xavier’s death, and it was subsequently destroyed.
5 Red Skull Stole Xavier’s Brain and Accomplished Quite a Lot With It
Given that he began his comic book life as a particularly evil Nazi – some may even call him comically evil – it shouldn’t surprise anyone to learn that Red Skull has participated in some of the most outlandishly evil villainous plots in comic history. Still, the depths of Red Skull’s creative villainy must be explored in order to be fully appreciated. After all, how many villains would take it upon themselves to rip out the brain of Charles Xavier in order to use it for nefarious means?
Yes, following the events of Xavier’s latest death, Red Skull secured Xavier’s body and removed his brain. Why? Well, to eliminate the mutant race, of course! After fusing his brain with Professor X's, Red Skull brainwashes Scarlet Witch and plans to user her to kill all known mutants. Along the way, he even manages to take control of Thor using Xavier’s brain. Through a highly convoluted series of events that includes heroes becoming villains and villains becoming heroes, Red Skull was eventually stripped of his brain-fueled abilities.
4 He Tried to kill his Evil “Twin Sister” in the Womb
As we’ve explored before, the complicated nature of creating compelling comic book storylines can often lead to writers crafting some pretty convoluted canonical moments. You may know them as “WTF” occurrences. High-profile comic book characters that have been around for years have racked up a number of WTF moments, including Xavier.
One of Xavier’s most bizarre WTF moments may also be one of the first actions he ever willingly performed. While in the womb, Xavier attempted to kill his “sister” Cassandra Nova. Xavier sensed that Cassandra was evil and didn’t belong, so he sought to end her right out of the gate. While Nova ended up being stillborn, a bizarre – bizarre even by comic book standards – series of occurrences led to Nova eventually gaining physical form. In turn, this led to her performing such vengeful actions against her brother such as unleashing Sentinels on Genosha, which caused the death of over 16 million mutants.
3 Xavier and Magneto Were Originally Supposed to Be Brothers
The complicated relationship between Magneto and Xavier is one of the things that makes the X-Men world as compelling as it is. The seemingly dynamically opposed mutants are really just two sides of the same coin. Both seek a similar outcome and have vastly different ways of achieving said outcome. The nature of the pair’s relationship has led some to question whether or not Xavier and Magneto are brothers. They’re not. In fact, Xavier’s stepbrother is actually Cain Marko (who you may know as Juggernaut).
However, Xavier and Magneto were almost actual brothers in X-Men cannon. Stan Lee once said during an interview that he originally viewed the pair as blood brothers and intended to make that revelation at some point. However, Lee simply never really got around to writing the explanation behind their relationship, and the plot point just kind of faded away over the years as Magneto and Xavier’s relationship was established.
2 He’s “Daredevil Bad” At Romantic Relationships
Hey, we get it. Professor Xavier is a pretty appealing guy. He’s rich, smart, he knows kung-fu, and he's devilishly handsome in a Patrick Stewart kind of way. It’s not hard to imagine a variety of people lining up for the chance to date Xavier, were such a thing actually possible. To those people, we say, “Don’t.” In fact, stay as far away from your fantasies involving this particular professor as your mind will allow you. Why? Well, because Xavier’s relationship history is as big of a red flag as multi-person Tinder profile pictures.
Professor X has had four well-known significant others over the years, and nearly all of them have succumbed to some horrible fate due in part to their relationship with Xavier. Lilandra Neramani’s break-up with Xavier triggered a huge war that placed her at the center of the conflict. Amelia Voght eventually became one of Magneto’s most valued lieutenants. Gabrielle Haller was eventually killed as a result of the son she and Xavier had. The memory of Moira MacTaggert’s favorite students was wiped from existence by Xavier following a catastrophic occurrence. He's not exactly relationship material.
1 He’s Apparently Harbored a Secret Romantic Love For Jean Grey Over the Years
The relationship between Jean Grey and Charles Xavier is obviously a special one. Grey was Xavier’s first student and a fellow telepath whose powers rivaled Xavier’s own. The two have fought the same fight for years and have played a starring role in some of the X-Men universe’s most crucial moments. It’s a dynamic relationship that is further complicated by the absolutely bizarre implication that Xavier has been romantically interested in Jean Grey since she was young.
1964’s X-Men #4 included a single panel which showed Xavier lamenting to himself that he could never tell Jean Grey that he loves her while he is the leader of the X-Men and bound to a wheelchair. Period-specific thoughts on who people in wheelchairs can fall in love with aside, the panel is disturbing due to the implication that Xavier is sexually attracted to a woman that is essentially his surrogate daughter. Incredibly, this plot point was revisited again during the Onslaught storyline, and was used as a plot device by Robert Kirkman during his Ultimate X-Men run.
Do you know of any other obscure factoids about the leader of the X-Men? Let us know in the comments!