Throughout most of his comic book history, Xavier is paraplegic, although his body houses one of the world's most powerful mutant minds. As a high-level telepath, Xavier can read, control and influence human minds. A scientific genius, he is also a leading authority on genetics, mutation, and psionic powers. English Golden Globe nominated actor Patrick Stewart portrayed Professor X throughout the X-Men films and the X-Men Legends games.
Stan Lee has stated that the physical inspiration of Professor Xavier was from Academy Award-winning actor Yul Brynner.
He often acts as a public advocate for mutant rights and is the authority most of the Marvel superhero community turns to for advice on mutants. Despite this, his status as a mutant himself and leader of the X-Men has only recently become public.
In the comics' history, the X-Men rarely operate without Xavier. He also appears in both X-Men animated series and in many video games, although usually as a non-playable character because he can't use his legs. Patrick Stewart plays him in the 2000s film series, as well as providing his voice in some of the X-Men videogames (including some not connected to the film series). Tracy Morgan parodied him in the 2008 film Superhero Movie.
According to BusinessWeek, Charles Xavier is listed as one of the top ten most intelligent fictional characters in American comics.
In a number of comics, especially more so in recent years, Xavier is shown to have a dark side, a part of himself that he struggles to suppress. Perhaps the most notable appearance of this character element is in the Onslaught storyline, in which the crossover event's antagonist is a physical manifestation of that dark side. Also, Onslaught is created in the most violent act Xavier claims to have done: erasing the mind of Magneto. In X-Men #106 (August 1977), the new X-Men fight images of the original team, which have been created by what Xavier says is his "evil self ... who would use his powers for personal gain and conquest," which he says he is normally able to keep in check. In the 1984 four-part series titled The X-Men and the Micronauts, Xavier's dark desires manifest themselves as the Entity and threaten to destroy the Micronauts' universe.
In other instances, Xavier is shown to be secretive and manipulative. During the Onslaught storyline, the X-Men find Xavier's files, the "Xavier Protocols", which detail how to kill many of the characters, including Xavier himself, should the need ever arise, such as if they went rogue. Astonishing X-Men vol. 3, #12 (August 2005) reveals that when Xavier realizes that the Danger Room has become sentient, he keeps it trapped and experiments on it for years, an act that Cyclops calls "the oppression of a new life" and equates to humanity's treatment of mutants. In X-Men: Deadly Genesis #6, a de-powered Xavier is forced to admit that he had sent a group of hastily trained young mutants to Krakoa to save the original X-Men, resulting in their deaths. Because one of the mutants is Cyclops' brother Vulcan, Xavier erased Cyclops' memory of the event. He further manipulated the rescue team of new X-Men by making them think the meaningless noises the island made were intelligible speech—evidence that the island was alive—to match the new memories he had given Cyclops.
Xavier has multiple secrets that he hides from the X-Men beyond the Krakoa and Danger incidents. Since the inception of the X-Men, he has created and maintained a network of mutant espionage agents to work in dealings that are too dubious for the public eye of the X-Men, even entrapping Mystique into helping him (even though she killed his dear friend, Moira McTaggert). The mutant Sage was recruited at the same point as the original X-Men, however, Xavier forced Tessa into a role as a spy within the Hellfire club, seeing his team as heroes and Tessa's only ability "the capacity to betray". He has also been part of the secret Illuminati society responsible for shooting Bruce Banner into space.
In the Mutant X comic book series, set outside the Marvel Universe continuity, Xavier travels the world capturing telepaths for the purpose of stealing their mental energy. Xavier takes control of S.H.I.E.L.D., captures Gambit's daughter, and attempts to kill the X-Men with a nuclear strike. An alternate-reality version of Xavier is the enemy in the first story arc of the Exiles series. In Ultimate X-Men, Xavier frequently lies to other characters, including the X-Men, or even manipulates them when he feels it is necessary. Xavier tells the American president that he has killed Magneto, but instead he has blocked Magneto's memories and created a new personality and memories for him, along with a new life working with mentally challenged children. In issue #65, unbeknownst to the rest of the team, he directs Angel to become his mole in Emma Frost's Academy of Tomorrow in the guise of expelling the student. In Ultimate X-Men #58, he defuses a hostage situation by hiring the mutant bank robbers for a mission in which the X-Men cannot be implicated, and making the police believe they have killed them.
In the film X-Men: The Last Stand, Wolverine questions Xavier's ethics when he discovers that the professor instituted mental blocks in the mind of Jean Grey to subdue her uncontrollable powers, thus creating her alternate personality, the Phoenix. Xavier states that he does not have to answer to him and that he chose the lesser of two evils, as the Phoenix persona is dangerous.
Xavier goes to Haifa, Israel, where he falls in love with Gabrielle Haller, a catatonic Holocaust victim he forces back to awareness. Xavier and Haller are unaware when he leaves Israel that she is pregnant with his son, who would become the autistic mutant known as Legion. They separate on good terms.
American nurse Amelia Voght helps him recover from his debilitating injuries from his assault by Lucifer in India. She makes cheering him up in the hospital her pet project. They live together both in Bombay and Westchester, but she then leaves as Xavier gathers students. Xavier feels he failed her, and in a passing "maddened panic" tries to force her to stay, with her feeling betrayed. He encounters her again as an Acolyte of Magneto, and eventually she saves his life.
Charles becomes romantically interested in Teri Martin, the mother of a young mutant girl he is trying to help, after the Z'Nox incident, but he decides that he has no room for romance at the time.
Shi'ar Princess-Majestrix Lilandra forms an intense psychic bond with Xavier across the vast distance that separates their two planets, which leads her to him after she flees her Empire, in search of help against her villainous brother. Xavier has dreamt of her and Lilandra has known they were soul mates. They fall in love at first sight. Later, he helps overthrow her sister as well to return the throne to Lilandra. They are wed until the Shi'ar Counsel annuls their marriage on the grounds that involvement with Xavier has caused trouble for the Empire. However, as seen in the recent Rise and Fall of the Shi'ar Empire storyline, Lilandra still loves him, despite their troubles. No child has resulted from the union in the canon universe (he and Lilandra do have a child together in X-Men: The End).
In one instance in the start of Uncanny X-Men (issue #3), Professor X privately reflects upon his love for Jean Grey, but does not pursue it due to his feeling inadequate about being in a wheelchair, and the age difference and sacredness of the teacher-student relationship. Although Xavier never again displays a romantic interest in Jean, the idea that he once entertained this thought becomes one of his "dark secrets" and is revisited when the Professor's dark side manifests in the form of Onslaught and reveals it to Jean. There is debate, however, that it is more of a loving father-figure relationship, as Professor X has known Jean from the age of 11. He also loves her in Ultimate X-Men as it is said in the Phoenix arc and in the Cable arc.
After the wedding, Kurt moves in with the Xaviers, bringing with him his son Cain. Kurt quickly grows neglectful of Sharon, driving her to alcoholism, and abuses both Sharon and Cain. Cain takes out his frustrations and insecurities on his stepbrother. Charles uses his telepathic powers to read Cain's mind and explore the extent of his psychological damage, which only leads to Cain becoming more aggressive toward him and the young Xavier feeling Cain's pain firsthand.
Sharon dies soon after, and a fight erupts between Cain and Charles that causes some of Kurt's lab equipment to explode. Mortally wounded, Kurt drags the two children out before dying.
With help from his powers and his natural genius, Xavier becomes an excellent student and athlete, though he gives up the latter, believing his powers give him an unfair advantage. He graduates with honors at the age of 16 from Harvard University. As a college freshman, Xavier resides in Wigglesworth Hall H-11. In graduate studies he receives Ph.D.s in Genetics, Biophysics, and Psychology with a two year residence at Oxford University. He is later appointed Adjunct Professor at Columbia University.
At graduate school, he meets a Scottish girl named Moira Kinross, a fellow genetics student with whom he falls in love. The two agree to get married, but soon, Xavier is drafted into the Korean War. He carves himself a niche as a soldier in search and rescue missions alongside Shadowcat's father, Carmen Pryde, and witnesses Cain's transformation into Juggernaut. During the war, he receives a letter from Moira telling him that she is breaking up with him. He later discovers that Moira married her old boyfriend Joseph MacTaggert, who abuses her.
In a hospital in India he is brought to an American nurse, Amelia Voght, who looks after him and, as she sees to his recovery, they fall in love. When he is released from the hospital the two move into an apartment in Bombay together. Amelia is troubled to find Charles studying mutation, as she is a mutant and unsettled by it, though she calms when he reveals himself to be a mutant as well. They eventually move to the United States, living on Xavier's family estate. But the night Scott Summers moves into Xavier's mansion, Amelia leaves him, believing Charles would have changed his view and that mutants should lay low. Yet he is recruiting them to what she believes is a lost cause. Charles tries to force her to stay with his mental powers, but immediately ashamed by this, lets her go. She later becomes a disciple of Magneto.
Xavier founds Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters, which provides a safe haven for mutants and teaches them to master their abilities. In addition, he seeks to foster mutant-human relations by providing his superhero team, the X-Men, as an example of mutants acting in good faith, as he told FBI agent Fred Duncan. With his inherited fortune, he uses his ancestral mansion at 1407 Graymalkin Lane in Salem Center, Westchester County, New York as a base of operations with technologically advanced facilities, including the Danger Room - later, Fantomex mentions that Xavier is a billionaire with a net worth of 3.5 billion dollars. Presenting the image of a stern teacher, Xavier makes his students endure a rigorous training regime.
Xavier's first five students are Marvel Girl, Cyclops, Beast, Iceman, and Angel, who become the original X-Men. After he completes recruiting the original team of X-Men, he sends them into battle with Magneto.
Throughout most of his time with the team, Xavier uses his telepathic powers to keep in constant contact with his students and provides instructions and advice when needed. In addition, he uses a special machine called Cerebro, which enhances his ability to detect mutants and to allow the team to find new students in need of the school.
Among the obstacles Xavier faces is his old friend, Magneto, who has grown into an advocate of mutant superiority since their last encounter and who believes the only solution to mutant persecution is domination over humanity.
When anthropologist Bolivar Trask resurfaces the "mutant problem", Xavier counters him in a televised debate, however, he appears arrogant and Trask sends his mutant-hunting robot Sentinels to terrorize mutants. The X-Men dispatch them, but Trask sees the error in his ways too late as he is killed by his creations.
At one point, Xavier seemingly dies during the X-Men's battle with the sub-human Grotesk, but it is later revealed that Xavier arranged for a reformed former villain named Changeling to impersonate him while he went into hiding to plan a defense against an invasion by the extraterrestrial Z'Nox, imparting a portion of his telepathic abilities to the Changeling to complete the disguise.
Xavier forms a psychic bond across galaxies with Princess Lilandra from the Shi'ar Empire. When they finally meet, it is love at first sight. She implores the professor to stop her mad brother, Shi'ar Emperor D'Ken, and he instantly aids her by deploying his X-Men. When Jean Grey returns from the Savage Land to tell him that all the X-Men are dead, he shuts down the school and travels with Lilandra to her kingdom, where she is crowned Empress and he is treated like a child or a trophy husband.
Xavier senses the changes taking place in Jean Grey, and returns to Earth to help and resume leadership of the X-Men. Shortly thereafter he battles his pupil after she becomes Dark Phoenix and destroys a populated planet in the Shi'ar Empire. It hurts Xavier to be on the opposite side of Lilandra, but he has no other choice but to challenge the Shi'ar Imperial Guard to a duel over the fate of the Phoenix. Xavier would have lost against the greater power of the Dark Phoenix, but thanks to the help Jean Grey gives him (fighting her Phoenix persona), Xavier emerges victorious; she later commits suicide in order to prevent herself from endangering more innocent lives.
Xavier leaves Magneto in charge of the school, but some of the X-Men are unwilling to forgive their former enemy. Cyclops loses a duel for the leadership of the X-Men against Storm, then leaves them and joins the original five X-Men to form a new team called X-Factor.
In the meantime, Charles becomes stranded in space with the Starjammers, but he is reunited with his lover Lilandra and relishes his carefree lifestyle. He serves as a member of the Starjammers aboard the starship Starjammer, mobile in the Shi'ar Galaxy. He becomes consort to the Princess-Magestrix Lilandra while in exile, and when she later resumes her throne he takes up residence with her in the Imperial palace on the Shi'ar homeworld. Xavier joins Lilandra in her cause to overthrow her sister Deathbird, taking on the powers of Phoenix temporarily wherein he is named Bald Phoenix, but sees that he must return to help the X-Men.
While holding a mutant rights speech, Xavier is nearly assassinated by Stryfe in the guise of Cable, being infected with a fatal techno-organic virus. For reasons of his own, the villain Apocalypse saves him. As a temporary side-effect he gains full use of his legs and devotes his precious time to the youngest recruit on his team, Jubilee.
Wanda somehow forces a tearful Xavier to reveal to her the heart's desires of Magneto, the assembled New Avengers, and the X-Men, and then uses her powers to make them all real. Thanks to Magneto, though, this re-imagined world is a place where a much more numerous mutant-kind are the dominant species, humans a disenfranchised and oppressed 'silent majority', and Magneto himself rules supreme. In this reality, the only proof that Charles Xavier ever existed is a secret monument in Magneto's palace garden.
After mutant Layla Miller restores the memories of some of the X-Men and Avengers, they head to Genosha where they discover that Magneto has erected a memorial garden for Xavier commemorating his death. They are horrified until Cloak fades into the grave and discovers there is no body inside. After a battle, Scarlet Witch again uses her powers to restore reality and, as a slight against her father, causes 91.4 percent of mutants to lose their powers, leaving the mutant race on the brink of extinction and causing the lost powers to become an energy mass, the Collective. With reality restored, Xavier is still missing and the X-Men are unable to detect him with Cerebro''.
Later, when the Collective energy mass revives Vulcan, the enraged youth attacks the X-Men, causing Xavier to come out of hiding. He has had the use of his legs restored to him after the "House of M" reality was undone, presumably by Wanda, although he is no longer a mutant and has lost his mental powers. Vulcan gets Xavier to tell the X-Men what he had done. After Vulcan is defeated and flies off into space, Cyclops tells Xavier that he is no longer wanted at the X-Mansion for what he did, though some of the other students are more forgiving.
In spite of Cyclops' feelings, Xavier nevertheless forms a new team consisting of Havok, Nightcrawler, Marvel Girl III, Polaris, Warpath and Darwin to confront Vulcan before he can enact his vengeance against the Shi'ar empire. While en route to the Shi'ar home world, he is abducted by agents of the Shi'ar Vice Chancellor K'Tor. He is later thrown into the M'Kraan Crystal by Vulcan after Vulcan's marriage to Deathbird on the World With No Name. Darwin follows Charles into the crystal and pulls him out. This somehow restores his lost telepathy, and then he, Nightcrawler, Warpath, Darwin and Hepzibah escape to Earth, with help from his lover, Lilandra. This leaves Havok, Polaris and Rachel behind but they form a new Starjammers with Ch'od, Raza and Korvus.
Xavier talks to Val Cooper about what has happened to Caliban and how the O*N*E wants him. Later while the rest of the team begin looking for the Morlocks, who have been taken control of by Masque, who is also looking for Magneto, Charles and Nightcrawler leave in a X-Jet to find Magneto. They are unnoticed by the Sentinels as Xavier places some sort of cloaking device on the plane. Charles and Kurt travel to where someone claimed to see Erik. They arrive at a graveyard in Germany and they find out that Erik was looking at the headstone of one of his former loyal henchmen who had died since M-Day. Their search is cut short once they find out the Morlocks plan to blow up a church. The team stops the Morlocks and returns to the mansion.
The Professor then admits to the Hulk and to the X-Men that he would have banished the Hulk for some extended time for the Illuminati to find a cure, but would not have agreed to permanent exile. He confesses to them that he made some mistakes that harmed his students, so he is willing to give himself up. However the X-Men, now seeing their mentor conceding his mistake, are not willing to give up the Professor without a fight. While the Hulk is winning, the escaping students telepathically call for X-Factor, Uncanny X-Men, and Excalibur. Excalibur member Cain Marko—the former Juggernaut—teleports into battle. He and Wolverine are swiftly defeated.
The Hulk tries to fight off the extended X-family, as Jamie Madrox and his duplicates gather up the X-Men. Various attempts are made to slow the Hulk down, from implanting him with knives to crashing the Blackbird into him. Cain makes a last plea with the Cyttorak gem to re-power him, but it is unable to do so until Cain embraces his former identity. After he does so the Juggernaut returns to full power and both entities stall each other. The Juggernaut is momentarily distracted by Xavier and since the Hulk is short on time before the countdown, the latter simply decides to use the Juggernaut's nearly unstoppable momentum against him by stepping out of the way in combination with an additional push, letting him walk deep into the nearby lake.
With his opponent temporarily disposed of, the Hulk heads towards Xavier, who once again surrenders. The X-Men rally again. The New X-Men member Mercury attacks, and the brief battle leads them towards the graveyard housing all mutants passed away since M-day.
With Mercury's words The Hulk reaches the conclusion that both Xavier and the X-Men have suffered enough, and leaves the mansion in peace. During the aftermath, the Juggernaut warns Xavier not to follow him, as he isn't going to like what he sees. The mini-series ends with Cyclops overseeing the care of the wounded, dealing with the injuries without Xavier's help. However, Cyclops is also seen reaching out to comfort Xavier as well.Black Bolt had been replaced by a Skrull. New X-Men in an attempt to help them figure out a non-violent way to help against the Purifiers, but is quickly rebuked by Surge, who questions where he was when they were getting attacked the first time, and that they didn't need to learn from him. Charles questions Cyclops' decision to send X-Force to hunt down his own son, Cable, in front of the students. Cyclops then tells Xavier that he is a distraction that will keep getting in the way and that he must leave the mansion. Xavier is contacted by Cable, who lost the mutant newborn to the traitorous actions of Bishop, who in turn lost the child to the Marauders, and tells him that he is the only one who can help Cable save the future. In the final fight, Xavier is accidentally shot in the head by Bishop. Immediately afterward Xavier's body disappears and Cyclops declares that there are no more X-Men.
Magneto and Karima Shapandar are able to stir out Xavier's memories, coaxing him out of his coma, but slightly confused and partly amnesiac. Later, as Exodus confronts Magneto about Joanna Cargill's fate (previously Magneto was forced to fire a surgical laser beam in her eye, brain damaging her, to thwart her attempted killing of Xavier), and he is about to kill him, Xavier drags him on the Astral Plane, putting his own restored mind at stake. After a harrowing psionic battle between the two, Xavier defeats Exodus, who reveals to him that the reason he abducted and restored his mind is that he wanted Xavier to lead the Acolytes and find the mutant messiah child (now under the guardianship of Cable) in order to indoctrinate her into their cause. Xavier, disgusted with Exodus' words, calls him a fool and refuses to help him. During the battle between him and Exodus, Emma's telepathy picks up on the fight, she realizes that Xavier is alive and tells Cyclops. After Xavier, Magneto and Karima depart from the Acolytes' base, he leaves them both in order to try and regain his lost memories by visiting people from his past.
The first person Charles visits is Carter Ryking, who had gone insane after losing his powers. Charles reads Carter's memories and discovers that when the two were children they were used as test subjects by one Nathan Milbury, with the approval of Charles' father, Doctor Brian Xavier, also a member of the Black Womb Project. During Carter's memory, Mister Sinister's energy diamond is seen on Milbury's forehead which, along with the name, indicates that Milbury is Mister Sinister and he has been manipulating Charles' life as well. Afterwards, he discovers he's been targeted by assassins.
Charles eventually discovers Mister Sinister had set up himself, Sebastian Shaw, Juggernaut, and Ryking as potential new hosts as children. Bleeding to death slowly, he apparently gives in to Sinister, becoming the new Mister Sinister. But in reality, Xavier is still battling Sinister for control of his body. As Sebastian Shaw and Gambit destroy Sinister's Cronus Machine, the device that he used to transfer his consciousness into new hosts, Xavier drives Sinister out of his body permanently. Xavier thanks Shaw and Gambit for their help and declares he must go and see Cyclops immediately. Professor X returns to the X-Mansion to find it destroyed after recent events; after Xavier leaves the ruins of the X-Mansion he secretly meets up Cyclops as one last favor from his former student and friend. Xavier explains to Cyclops about the recent events with Mr. Sinister and tries to explain to Cyclops how Sinister has been manipulating him since day one. Xavier tries to convince Scott to allow him to scan his mind for any of Sinister's influences but instead Scott turns the tables on Xavier and reveals that he has secretly invited White Queen into the conversation and also into Xavier's mind. While in his mind White Queen forces Xavier to relive each of his mistakes and morally ambiguous decisions under the pretense of uncovering any traces of Sinister's presence. As the book continues Charles realizes that he is only human and that while some of his decisions were wrong he must move forward with his life and deal with the consequences. White Queen ends her incursion into Xavier's mind by reminding him of Moira's last words. As he reflects on Moira's words Xavier gives Cyclops his blessing to lead the X-Men and leaves to find his own path.
Professor X is able to perceive the thoughts of others or project his own thoughts within a radius of approximately . With extreme effort, he can greatly extend the range of his telepathy. He can learn foreign languages by reading the language centers of the brain of someone adept, and alternately "teach" languages to others in the same manner; Xavier once trained a new group of mutants mentally, subjectively making them experience months of training together, while only hours passed in the real world.
Xavier's vast psionic powers enable him to manipulate the minds of others, warp perceptions to make himself seem invisible, project mental illusions, cause loss of particular memories, and induce pain or temporary mental and/or physical paralysis in others. Within close range, he can manipulate almost any number of minds for such simple feats. However, he can only take full possession of one other mind at a time, and must strictly be within that person's physical presence. He has displayed telepathic prowess sufficient to confront Ego the Living Planet, while aided by Cadre K as well as confront and narrowly defeat Exodus.
He can cause the loss of specific memories or even total amnesia. He can also project powerful mental 'bolts,' enabling him to stun the mind of another person into unconsciousness or even cause death. These 'bolts' inflict damage only upon other minds, having a negligible effect on non-mental beings, if any. The manner in which Xavier's powers function indicates that his telepathy is physical in some way, as it can be enhanced by physical means (e.g., Cerebro) and can be disrupted by physical means (e.g., Magneto's alteration of the Earth's magnetic field).
Xavier can perceive the distinct mental presence/brain waves of other superhuman mutants within a small radius of himself. To detect mutants to a wider area beyond this radius, he must amplify his powers through Cerebro and subsequently Cerebra, computer devices of his own design which are sensitive to the psychic/physical energies produced by the mind. Professor X also possesses low-level telekinetic abilities, though these seem to no longer exist. They seem to be part of his genes however, as Cassandra Nova has telekinetic abilities and is basically a clone of Xavier.
Professor X can project his 'astral form' into a psychic 'dimension' known as the 'astral plane.' There, he can use his powers to create objects, control his surroundings, and even control and destroy the astral forms of others. He cannot project this form over long distances.
Uncanny X-Men writer Ed Brubaker has claimed that, after being de-powered by the Scarlet Witch, and then re-powered by the M'Kraan Crystal, Charles' telepathy is more powerful than was previously known. However, the extent of this enhancement is unknown.
Charles is a genius with multiple doctorates. He is a world-renowned geneticist, an expert in mutation, possesses considerable knowledge of life sciences, and is the inventor of Cerebro. He is the leading authority on genetics, mutation, and psionic powers, and possesses considerable expertise in other life sciences. He possesses a Ph.D. in genetics, biophysics, and psychology. He is highly talented in devising equipment for utilizing and enhancing psionic powers.
During his travels in Asia, Xavier learned martial arts, acquiring "refined combat skills" according to Magneto. When these skills are coordinated in tandem with his telepathic abilities, Xavier is a dangerous unarmed combatant, capable of sensing the intentions of others and countering them with superhuman efficiency. He also has extensive knowledge of pressure points.