Marvel's latest X-Men relaunch may have hinted at the real reason Charles Xavier chose the original X-Men heroes. Professor X's "First Class" of X-Men are the stuff of legends, as each member of the team has proven themselves time and again. They have stood front and center among the ranks of the X-Men ever since...bBut why did Charles Xavier choose these five as his original team?
Previously, viewers had simply assumed that Xavier simply went with the first mutants he discovered. Jonathan Hickman's X-Men relaunch has changed that, though, revealing that Xavier had detailed knowledge of possible futures all this time. He had access to the memories of Moira MacTaggert, a mutant with the power of reincarnation, who had lived alternate futures time and again. That would have included knowledge of potential recruits like Storm, Polaris, and Wolverine. So why did Xavier choose Cyclops, Iceman, Jean Grey, Beast, and Angel?
Powers of X #5 may have offered an important clue, in the form of one of Moira MacTaggert's journal entries. In one entry, Moira celebrates that Xavier has stopped resisting her and has used her knowledge of the future to hit upon a theory. "He had the most marvelous idea," Moira writes, "regarding the potential tandem of several mutants and what they could accomplish if they worked in harmony. The only thing we lack is a mutant with the ability to tweak primal matter or give reality as we know it a push."
There have actually been two occasions where mutants have been seen synergizing in the kind of way Xavier envisioned, and interestingly both times they were groups of five. The first were the "Five Lights," a group of mutants whose powers were triggered when Hope Summers returned to the present day, who foreshadowed the resurgence of the mutant gene. The second are five mutants on Krakoa, who use their abilities to create the Krakoan clones and who are key to everything Xavier is doing. It's quite possible that Xavier believes the number five is some sort of ideal for such a synergistic group.
If so, that suggests the original X-Men were carefully chosen because Xavier believed they too could synergize - although probably more as a combat unit. Notice the combination; Angel gives them an aerial view, Cyclops has tactical genius and phenomenally powerful force beams, Jean Grey and Iceman are two Omega Level mutants, and Beast's scientific intelligence helps the team come to creative solutions. It's even possible that, courtesy of Moira's memories, Xavier knew that Jean Grey was destined to become Phoenix - a mutant who would ultimately develop "the ability to tweak primal matter or give reality as we know it a push."
If this theory is correct, then the original X-Men essentially became Xavier's first attempt to create the kind of group he imagined he could fashion. It didn't quite work out - not least because the X-Men membership had changed quite radically by the time Jean Grey became Phoenix - but it probably helped him figure out the potential.