Comics Continuity: Son of Brian and Sharon Xavier. After his father's death, Xavier's mother married Kurt Marko, an abusive SOB who sought the Xavier fortune and didn't get it. Marko took out all his frustrations on his own son Cain, and Cain beat up on Charles, both as kids and later as Juggernaut, one of the X-men's deadliest foes. Xavier's telepathic powers manifested early and, with unlimited funds at his disposal, he traveled the world. In Israel he became friends with "Magnus" (later called Erik Lensherr), helping to treat Holocaust survivors like Gabrielle Haller, who had seen her parents killed and had been physically abused at Dachau. Haller would later bear Xavier's son, David, though she kept the information from him. An encounter in Tibet with an alien creature called "Lucifer" cost him the use of his legs. Xavier founded the Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters at 1407 Graymalkin Lane in Scarsdale, New York and formed the X-Men to show that man and mutant could peacefully co-exist. Consort of Shi'ar Princess Lilandra Neramani, Xavier has died twice in continuity; been cloned and had his legs restored (twice: once crushed in battle with the Shadow King and later restored by a mutant with healing powers called Xorn). At the time of X-Men, Xavier was currently off-planet training mutants of the alien Skrull race. At the time of X2, he's back on planet. (1:Uncanny X-Men 1, Stan Lee/ Jack Kirby) In Film continuity: Professor Charles Xavier is the most powerful telepathic mind on the planet. His crippled body will forever sit in a wheelchair but his mind dreams of a world where mutant and Mankind can live in peace. Once a colleague of Erik Lensherr, the men had a philosophical falling out and have become like opposite sides of the same coin. Xavier's dream leads him to form and train the first generation of X-Men, defenders of humanity against "evil" mutants.
Patrick Stewart: I was attracted to the idea that here, also is a minority individual, a man with a handicap in a wheelchair often in this society relegated to a second class status and yet he is the leader of this group. The brains of the group, the spiritual and philosophical leader of the group, too. He carries so much power. There's a potency there, in that contradiction.
When we talked with Stewart two years back at the release of Star Trek IX, he told us that, as with Star Trek, he had no idea who the X-Men were ("I lead a very sheltered life"). But his children did. We asked him this time out if their input helped with the role, and if he was warned that X-Men could be as big as Star Trek.
Patrick Stewart: They actually said this could be bigger than Star Trek. My son is an X-Men fanatic so I turned to him for most of my early information. I had concerns about the history, yes. It felt, right at the beginning, like a lot of baggage. Because I wasn't involved in a lot of the sequences that the rest of the cast were, I didn't feel as if I was in a comic book movie. I was in a real modern movie with serious themes. It's so separate from the tone and quality of Next Generation. I no longer feel any kind of conflict at all or any unease about this. I'm just proud of this work. Xavier is a teacher as well as a leader.
And while most of the cast pointed to puberty and teen awkwardness as the point they felt most in tune with the ostracism of the Mutants, Stewart's tale was different
Patrick Stewart: I grew up with what I experienced as the shame of poverty. I left school when I was 15, so my education was minimal. In my late teens and when I went to acting school, I felt acutely of that background. But then I also was made aware of what Martin Luther King described as the significant thing being the nature of your character is what really counts. That helped me to change how I viewed myself. It's the nature of people's characters that Xavier emphasizes in this movie.
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