Were it not for a string of blockbuster films recounting the adventures of a group of mutants, many of us would be hard-pushed to say who exactly was Professor X. But thanks to Marvel’s efforts over the last few years we now know him to be the founder and leader of a group of mutant superheroes called the X-Men.
Undeniably intelligent with a knack for telepathy, Professor X (or Charles Francis Xavier) was once a promising athlete, but somewhere along the line, according to those in the know, the professor ended up paraplegic after he was crushed under a block of concrete during a battle with Lucifer in Tibet.
At a guess, being debilitated may just have enhanced his telepathic powers. Leaving Tibet, he decided to indulge his life’s work to protect innocent human beings from the growing surge of evil mutants around the world.
Working with fellow ‘mutanteers’ Dr. Karl Lykos and Dr. Moira MacTaggert, Xavier came up with the idea of a school where young mutants (the good kind) would train and learn about the world. Before work started on the school, Xavier got some free advice from someone called Cable who could equip the school with all the latest mod-cons.
And so it began — the school was built. But how much does anyone really know about the school? Read on for 20 facts that will blow your mind.
20. Redesigned After Being Destroyed By Xorn
The school (which was built around a mansion) has been levelled to the ground several times in its history, sometimes by evil mutants and other times by an angry public. For one of the first times it was razed, the evil Xorn (a Chinese mutant) was responsible and had posed as Magneto to gain access to the mansion. He destroyed the house and then enslaved the population of New York. After the attack, Professor X left Cyclops and Emma Frost to rebuild.
The pair set to work and soon created a school that was in many ways more secure and more advanced than before. Cyclops and Frost took up the positions as head teachers and divided the school’s ‘training squads’ between the X-Men mentors. This worked for a while until the new Danger Room of the school convinced one of the students to commit a crime.
19. Professor X Left The School To Magneto
After Xavier was critically injured in another attack on the school, he was sent away to recover and he left the care of the school to Magneto. However, no-one was expecting an attack by the brilliant super-villain Mr. Sinister who again razed the mansion. The X-Men that had been at the school at the time were swiftly relocated to Cooterman’s Creek in Australia. When they returned, they continued to study beneath the ruins.
It is said Mr. Sinister rivalled the professor in mental ability and had the advantage of superhuman physical power. He was almost an indestructible villain. One of whom Xavier would most surely have been afraid. In fact, it is still unclear whether Mr. Sinister was in fact destroyed by Mystique in the book X-Men: The End.
18. Xavier Inherited The Family Home
The mansion has been the home of the Xavier family for ten generations. In the 1800s a piece of land was bought beside Breakstone Lake just a few miles from New York and it was on this land that the famous mansion was built, although by who is not especially clear. What we do know is that more recently the land and the house were inherited by someone called Brian Xavier who lived there with his wife Sharon. Their son Charles was born and grew up in the house.
When Charles was still young, his father died and his mother went on to marry her colleague Dr. Kurt Marko. Marko brought with him his son called Cain and the two boys became friends. When Charles’s mother died, ownership of the estate, the grounds, and the house passed to Charles who in the end had the house turned into his school.
17. Xavier Taught His Students About The Importance Of Equality
Two things come to mind when we think of Charles Xavier: his school and the gifted youngsters who go there to learn. Yet the school is really nothing more than Xavier’s concept in bricks and mortar. His goal was to find a way to teach mutants about the world, to have them respect their peers, and to learn ways to combat the villains. Xavier believed that mutants and humans could live in peace, and this was his way to define that idea.
Most mutants who passed through the doors of the school became famous in their own right. A shortened list of students includes: Cyclops, Iceman, Angel, Beast, Marvel Girl, and Sage. Incidentally, Sage’s intern at the school was deliberately kept quiet by Xavier who wanted instead to use her telepathic talents in his fight against prejudice and evil.
16. The School Had To Shut Its Doors After An Attack
When M-Day came, many mutants lost their power: the Scarlet Witch was responsible for denuding almost every one of their core abilities. After this only 27 mutants held onto their power, according to FanDom. And the remainder? Well, most were brought to the school and held there under the protection of the Sentinels; the ones that didn’t want to stay in the house left sporadically and went into hiding. However, when a bus full of mutant children was attacked by Purifiers, the doors were closed for the foreseeable future.
Other X-related premises were also closed and the faction went into lockdown. For those left inside the mansion they were effectively isolated from the outside world. In the Necrosha comic story, plans were put in place to reanimate any mutant that had been deceased, and thereby restore a working collection of mutants to fight both the Purifiers and the Witch.
15. The X-Mansion Hosted Special Occasions
It’s true the X-Mansion was the lynchpin of Xavier’s entire operation. It was from here that he controlled the outreaches of the mutant X system, but after realizing just how big his challenge was to bring peace to the world he needed to recruit more mutants. This motive was one of the guiding forces behind his decision to open up the school (that, and realizing that his enemies were never too far away).
However, the school was not just a school. To many mutants who passed between its hallowed (and extremely hi-tech) walls, it was a place of solace, of companionship and of familiarity. For mutants were in effect outcasts and had their fair share of enemies. The X-Mansion soon became popular for hosting ceremonies and events to celebrate the mutant world, including hosting two marriages: of Cyclops to Madelyne Pryor and then to Jean Grey.
14. Going Public Brought In More Mutant Students
It was Cassandra Nova who finally convinced Professor X to reveal himself to the world as a mutant. He was understandably reluctant to do so, especially since many of his benefactors for the school were normal human beings. However, soon after he made the announcement the school’s attendance sky-rocketed and it was soon apparent that Xavier’s revealing of his own secrets lent courage to those who had previously believed they were being singled out.
As a response, a new X-shaped dormitory was built for the influx of students and a new telepathic tracking device was installed at the school for the students’ safety; namely, Cerebra, the female version of the previously too-big-for-his-boots Cerebro. After this, security was tightened and the students were able to live and learn in relative safety. But it wasn’t long though until the new influx gave rise to enemies within.
13. Students Were Forced To Leave The School And Go Into Hiding
With its population booming the school was increasingly vulnerable to attack from the outside. The first battle encountered was with the Sidri — an alien race and sworn rivals of the X-Men that took on the appearance of beetles. The battle was fierce but won by the X-Men at the cost of almost the entire building. During its rebuild staff and students were relocated for their own safety to an island in the Bermuda Triangle.
On their return, the X-Mansion’s inhabitants still faced hostility from the outside. There was a cult of humans who were hell-bent on destroying the mutants who they saw as a threat to civilization. Then there was Xorn who, as one of the tutors, collected a brotherhood of students who would work from the inside to destroy Xavier’s pride and joy. They succeeded, if only for a short period of time.
12. The Mansion Needed An Upgrade After The Danger Room Attacked The Students
After a further attack that left Professor X recuperating in space, the mansion was again rebuilt and this time made more impenetrable than before. Realizing the extent of the anti-mutant feeling and the strength of his opponents, X decided to incorporate state of the art security technology in the rebuild in an attempt to protect his students still further. According to FanDom, the upgraded mansions included a Danger Room, war room, and a new hanger for a vehicle called the Blackbird.
Even then, X didn’t feel safe though, especially when the Danger Room began asking him questions. The professor’s realization that the room had developed some sort of sentient ability gave him great concern, but he told no-one. Alas, in the end the Danger Room convinced one of his students that they should kill themselves. Successful in its quest, Danger Room was then able to use the body of the student to join the physical realm.
11. Frost Was Responsible To Teach The Next Generation
Emma Frost’s mutant power came in the form of telepathy. It was for this reason that her talents were put to use in various undercover roles. After she had formed an unlikely alliance with a dance club owner, Frost fell into a coma under the orders of Mastermind. The chances increased that her cover would be blown while unconscious and so her rescue was authorized by Xavier, who sent to her aid new mutants.
Once lifted from her coma, Frost agreed with Xavier that she should begin a new “School for Gifted Youngsters” and train the next generation of X-Men. Xavier agreed to pass on the title and allowed for the relocation of the school to another facility in Massachusetts. The mansion then remained the headquarters of the X-Men Institute with Xavier then able to concentrate his efforts on supporting the worldwide body of mutants.
10. The X-Men Were Left With Almost Nothing
After supervillain Bastion forced the pyrotechnic goddess Jubilee to hand over the secrets of the mansion’s defenses he stormed the building and stripped it of almost everything. It wasn’t long though until the X-Men fought back and, with greater numbers, and defeated Bastion. By the time they regained control of the mansion, there was just about nothing left and they were forced to restock with everything that was missing.
The X-Men may have thought that Bastion was dead but they were mistaken. Instead, he was able to transport himself to the future using his superpowers of telekinesis. He was, however, badly injured and decided to dedicate what little life he had left to the protection of mutants. Which would have been a nice ending to the story had he not wanted to build the mutant population up again just so he could destroy them.
9. Wolverine And Kitty Did A Better Job
The reincarnation of the school by Wolverine and Kitty Pryde proved as successful as Xavier’s and perhaps more so. It was equipped with even more state of the art defenses and training facilities. The new mansion was designed by Beast who incorporated special engineering into the plans in order to make it more difficult to attack. The facility was now also self-sufficient and generated its own power and food.
On the opening day of the new mansion, Beast was infected by gremlins from one of the living structures within the complex. He had a way of dealing with such problems, though. Those of you familiar with the extended universe may remember when he was badly wounded in X-Treme X-Men. His body underwent a metamorphosis which increased his speed, senses, agility and athleticism. His body also has an ability to heal itself within only a few hours.
8. Professor X Was Her Only Hope
Some of you may be wondering who the first student of Professor X was. You have to do some serious universal reading to discover that it is none other than Jean Grey: “a Class Five mutant with immensely powerful telepathic and telekinetic abilities.” But how did she end up the first student, and did she decide to enroll or was she picked from a list of hopeful mutants? The answer lies with none other than Xavier himself.
After a young Jean Grey experienced the thoughts and emotions of a dying friend she fell into a two year coma. She awoke at home and discovered her parents had been visited by Professor X. On one occasion she overheard him talking to them about his wish to find a mutant with great telepathic power. Grey’s parents explained what had happened to her and Xavier immediately took interest.
7. Professor X Barely Survived To Protect The Mansion
With the final battle being fought between the X-Men and the 15 Marauders, the students’ training teams were disbanded and most of the students were sent away to an X-facility in San Francisco, at least until the dust settled. However, with the students gone, the mansion was even more vulnerable to attack and the tide of the battle seemed to be turning in favor of the Marauders.
As if to add insult to injury, both Pacifiers and supervillain Belasco joined in the last push to capture the mansion. Finally superhero Bishop who had previously been on side with the X-Men managed to gain access to the Sentinels control — the mansion’s last hope of survival. With his help, the Marauders stormed the mansion and destroyed everything in their path. Professor X narrowly escaped with his life and soon joined the others in San Francisco.
6. The School Is Forced To Move To New York
By the time the M-Pox outbreak was underway, the school had been renamed Jean Grey School, in honor of the professor’s first student. The M-Pox afflicted any mutants who came into contact with the Terrigen Mist, a power source of inhuman beings. With it quickly becoming pandemic, Storm arranged for the students and tutors of the school to be relocated to the realm of Limbo, a place that was not of this world.
By doing so, she ensured that the mutants would be immune from further M-Pox outbreaks. When the pandemic subsided, the school moved back to Earth, but instead of returning to the mansion, it was relocated to Central Park, NYC. This seemed an ideal place for mutants and humans to becoming reacquainted, particularly in light of the increasing animosity between the two cultures. However, the bill for its relocation came to $18,000,000.
5. Where Were All The Vehicles?
The Marvel extended universe includes numerous vehicles for use by the X-Men, such as the Blackbird, the X-wing, and the Cyclops’s car. But the question is, where are all these vehicles kept? Well, in the redesign of Professor X’s mansion there was a hanger bay which was large enough to house all of the machines at the X-Mens’ disposal. And so experts believe, nearby Devil’s Rock was used as the entry and exit to the hanger.
That was, however, before the final destruction of the mansion by the Marauders. Since then the hanger bay has been located beneath the basketball court of the mansion itself which slides away when a vehicle is needed. The Blackbird especially will be familiar to fans of the movies: it was used extensively to ferry X-Men to and from battles. Lately equipped with Stealth mode, it is said to be undetectable by the sentinels.
4. The Mansion Was Used As A Prison
The Holding Cells beneath the mansion were an essential part of Professor X’s bid to bring peace to the world. They were used for mutant villains who the X-Men deemed too dangerous to be allowed to live in a world where innocent lives may be put at risk. Thus, the prison held them for as long as the X-Men deemed appropriate, which sometimes meant an indefinite period of time. Justice in the X-Men universe is harsh and for good reason: allow villains to populate Earth and Earth will end.
Various safety measures were in place, including titanium doors, force fields, and machines that could denude a mutant of his superpowers, allowing them to be subdued if the need arose. The prison was also equipped with a system of holding particularly dangerous villains in static animation, effectively rendering them dead until they could be re-animated.
3. The Mansion Had Its Own Cemetery
Every mansion has a cemetery (or so it seems), where generations of owners are laid to rest. Professor X’s mansion is no exception. Just outside the school grounds is a cemetery where X-Men and relatives of Xavier are buried. Those interred include X-Men and students who fought and died in the field of battle, such as (SPOILER ALERT) Thunderbird, Banshee, and Jean Grey. Located next to the cemetery is the courtyard where stands a baseball court and memorial statue to the memory of Jean Grey. There used to also be a swimming pool adjacent to the courtyard but this was destroyed along with a phoenix statue.
The importance of the Phoenix cannot be underestimated. Jean Grey was a telepath, but her powers were so strong, they had to be restrained by Xavier and Magneto. However, when this ability was hindered or controlled, Grey would turn into Phoenix.
2. The Danger Room Was More Dangerous Than We Thought
After the Danger Room was redesigned with hologram technology it was used more often as a battle simulator for X-Men students. It was here that the young X-Men would have cut their teeth against such villains as Magneto, Apocalypse, Mr. Sinister, and Mastermind, and they would have done so in a safe and secure environment. It was also used for a brief amount of time as a headquarters for the Young X-Men who used the space as living quarters.
Its technology is highly advanced and is sourced from various X-Men realms such as the Shi-ar empire. In subsequent assaults on the mansion it seems that at the very least the Danger Room was saved from destruction. Following its previous incarnation as a sentient being with malicious intent, students are no longer permitted to enter the Danger Room without the presence of an instructor.
1. Visit The X-Mansion In Real Life
It may come as a surprise to many of you that Professor X’s school is not a real place. The setting for the building was found at Hatley Castle in British Columbia, although several other locations were used in some of the films. For instance in X-Men: First Class, the mansion used was Englefield House in England, UK.
Hatley Castle was built in 1908 for a wealthy couple of newly rich called the Dunsmuirs. It was in fact only intended to be their retirement home since they both lived and worked in Vancouver at the time.
In the extended universe a boathouse was constructed on nearby Breakstone Lake, although it was never clear why. Some experts have guessed that it may have been a secret portal to the underground facility at the school. In any case it was seconded by Cyclops and Phoenix as their home shortly after they were married.
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