Under Fox, Professor Xavier was the level-headed leader of the X-Men — a just and practical-minded hero who fought to create equality between mutants and humans. He aimed to safeguard the lives of both. On the other hand, Magneto often brought fists to fists. He argued that mutants should take their place in society as the higher beings — use their powers to seize status and governmental control.
While under Fox’s cinematic vision, Professor Xavier made a few wrongful decisions, but he was always painted in a positive light. His choices were always deemed rational or purposeful — possessing a logical and morally upstanding foundation.
Because Magneto was the “bad mutant” of the bunch, Professor Xavier’s darker side (witnessed in the comics) took a backseat. Revealing Xavier’s more questionable thoughts and actions would have likely inspired too much gray in the black and white divide between good and evil — the divide that movies often push, despite the lack of historical truth to insinuate such a dichotomy exists. Yet, based on insider reports, the Marvel Cinematic Universe may be planning to revamp the original X-Men approach. When the X-Men join under Kevin Feige, Professor Xavier may not be the man Fox led us to believe he was.
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Professor X, The Illuminati, and the MCU
According to recent insider reports, Professor Xavier may join the MCU in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. He will reportedly become one of Strange’s members of The Illuminati, alongside Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four. However, if the MCU’s Illuminati is anything like the group in the comics, existing in the “gray” will be the team’s whole shtick.
Though prepped to combat extraterrestrial threats spanning galaxies far and wide, The Illuminati do not always approach scenarios with a savior mindset. They handle threats the Avengers are not suited to handle by taking questionable measures in which the ends are often said to justify the means.
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Xavier’s actions while working for The Illuminati were not always well-received. For starters, Professor X frequently took a moral high ground; thus, joining The Illuminati seemed completely out of line with his character illustration, proving to fans that he was not as “good and simple” as many believed. While working for The Illuminati, Professor X plotted and planned to banish the Hulk, and came up with a way to kill Scarlet Witch. Could the latter be the plot that comes into fruition in The Multiverse of Madness?
Professor Xavier’s questionable actions unrelated to The Illuminati
While joining The Illuminati may have seemed out of place, certain actions earlier in life proved Xavier’s less-than-concrete “goodness” As CBR notes, the man employed children as soldiers (allowing them to risk their lives for a higher cause).
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Professor X manipulated Wolverine’s memories, keeping the truth from a man who yearned to understand his history to reach self-actualization. Xavier wiped Cyclop’s memory when his first mutant team died, making it so the mutants he loved never existed. Is that what you call a friend? Is that what you call a hero? Were his motivations pure and designed to protect the emotions of those he loved? Of, were they selfish, designed to prep a team of warriors, and get them in line with his desires sooner than later? Was it easier to erase than to reflect? Who was he helping — himself or his team?
When push comes to shove, Professor X is a complex character whose motivations flip-flop between being self-serving and protective. He is not simply good. He is not simply bad. And, the MCU may be here to prove that he, simply, isn’t simple.