Is Professor X really the true villain of X-Men?


Now that we have our first look at the upcoming Dark Phoenix movie, a long-held theory that Professor X is the true villain of the X-Men series seems to be confirmed.

Whether it is the comics or the movies, the X-Men have a long and intriguing history. And one of the central figures of both series is Professor X, the man who helped to unite the mutants for good.

As reports, the new Dark Phoenix trailer seems to confirm the idea that Professor X has been the true villain of the movie franchise this entire time. Even as Charles Xavier has long been seen for his altruistic behavior, saving young mutants from a society that would shun them while also helping them learn to handle their abilities, the problem is the way he operates in general.

Professor X wants a society in which humans without abilities can live in peaceful harmony with mutants. But the way he goes about trying to achieve this goal is certainly not the way a typical hero would. He has no problem allowing young adults (they may be mutants but they are still barely more than children) fight battles that should be left to the adults.

And we certainly understand where the theory stems from, just based on this ideology, but we still have to question the idea that Professor X is the ultimate villain of the series. He is trying to build a better future for the X-Men and all people (human or mutant), and that does require sacrifices. Prejudices and intolerance are not easily fought, so it makes sense that Professor X would resort to methods that are not considered the most innocent.

Last year, Geeks put together a list of 10 crazy plot points from the Merry Mutants era of the X-Men, with one plot seeing Professor X wiping out an entire generation of X-Men by simply wishing them away. And that’s not even the worst aspect of the story: he essentially wiped out Cyclops’ memory of his own brother, which is pretty low.

The comics have repeatedly shown the dark side of Professor X, even as the movies have shown him as more of a tortured hero. And yet, we have seen his dark side in the films. From his willingness to allow children to fight battles that they should never be a part of, to his repeated attempts to mentally manipulate Jean Grey.

While he always says that his work with Jean is because of the inherent darkness he sees within her, it seems as if he has done more harm than good. We do question whether she would have chosen a different path if he had just allowed her the chance to fight the darkness on her own. As is, his mental manipulations have done nothing but make things worse for Jean Grey, allowing for the rise of the Dark Phoenix.

However, one of the examples that have been used to prove once and for all that Professor X is a villain in the movies stems from the events of Logan, or at least the events prior to the movie that we are told about and see glimpses of. In Logan, it becomes clear that Professor X’s abilities went haywire as he got older and actually worked to wipe out many of the X-Men (obviously Wolverine is the exception here).

It is hard to use this as proof of Professor X being a bad guy though. This was not something he could control and was not something he actively did. He wasn’t trying to hurt his fellow mutants, and instead, he allowed himself to be contained, away from anyone he could potentially hurt.

We understand where Dark Phoenix seems to be coming from in pointing out Professor X’s flaws and shortcomings, but making him out to be the ultimate villain of the franchise simply seems a bit much. He wants to bring peace in order to allow all mutants to live in harmony with humans and that sometimes requires sacrifice.

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While Professor X has certainly done bad things in the name of good, we have to argue that this doesn’t make him the real villain of the X-Men. Instead, we choose to think he is more of a hero who has lost his way and has made mistakes.