Professor X (2000)
You probably already know who Professor X is. If not, a quick Googling will direct you to several seriously obsessive fanboy sites. Here's a short bio rundown from Wikipedia:
Professor X (full name Charles Francis Xavier ) is a comic book character in the Marvel Comics universe. He is the founder, mentor and sometime leader of the team of mutant superheroes the X-Men. Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, he first appeared in X-Men #1 (1963 ).
Xavier is considered one of the most powerful mutants on Earth due to his psionic powers. Xavier can read, control, and influence human minds, and cast illusions. He can also detect the presence of other mutants. A natural genius, he is also a leading authority on genetics, mutation, and psionic powers, has considerable expertise in other life sciences, and is highly talented in creating equipment for utilizing and enhancing psionic powers.
Xavier has devoted his life to helping mutants learn to live with their powers, and to helping mutants and normal humans coexist peacefully and without fear of one another.
Professor Xavier is a mutant -- one of the world's most powerful telepaths. As a young man, he was rendered a paraplegic in an accident that was later revealed to have been caused by an alien called Lucifer. In addition to his mutant gifts, Xavier is a world-class scientific intellect. His undergraduate education was at Harvard University; he later did graduate work at Oxford University.
Xavier founded a school for gifted children which had a secret purpose of providing a safe haven for mutants to master their abilities in order to function in the outside world safely. In addition, he sought to foster good mutant-human relations by providing a positive example of mutants with his superhero team, the X-Men. Among the obstacles to that goal was his old friend, Magneto, a powerful mutant himself whose experience in the Holocaust left him psychologically scarred. Magneto believed that the only solution to mutant persecution was domination of humanity.
Throughout most of the time with the team, Xavier used his telepathic powers to keep in constant contact with his students and provided instructions and advice when needed. In addition, he used a special machine called Cerebro, which enhanced his ability to detect mutants, to allow the team to find new students in need of the school. At one point, he seemed to have died, but that turned out to be a former villain named Changeling, who had agreed to impersonate Xavier while he went into hiding to plan a defense against an impending alien invasion.
There's much more massive annotation, but you get the general idea.
Professor X Rallies the Troops
From CBS News -- "From Captain Picard to Professor X":
Patrick Stewart may have one of the most recognizable bald heads in the movie business today.
And now he gets to reprise one of the most famous bald-headed characters in comics.
The actor is best known for playing Captain Jean Luc Picard in one of the biggest franchises in television and movie history, Star Trek. Stewart now returns to the role of another character partly known for his chrome, Professor Charles Xavier, in the sequel to X-Men.
Stewart says that there is seriousness about retaining the quality of the original material, and he is sure audience will be crying for more from the potential movie franchise.
Doing this movie, he said has afforded him and friend Ian McKellen, who plays Erik Lehnsherr, Magneto in X2 and Gandolf in The Lord of the Rings to work now on plays.
“Ian is doing Strindberg, I'm doing Ibsen. They're not known as big box-office writers. But that we will pull into our audience to see these plays, an audience who might otherwise never have thought have going to see Ibsen. They go to see Professor Xavier, they go to see Captain Picard; they go to see Gandolf. It doesn't matter why they come. And both Ian and I are somewhat smug about that aspect of it.
I'm Not Your Daddy's Telepathic S'more
And from Skinematic Spotlight:
Not since Blade Runner and Warren Beatty's Dick Tracy have so many skin and hair conditions been seen in a single summer celluloid sensation. The X-Men flick follows the exploits of good and evil mutants as they battle to save the world from anti-mutant prejudice. Many of the genetic mutations have resulted in dermatologic aberrations. On both sides of the moral watershed, there are enough findings in the "X-Men" to keep a skin clinic in HMO heaven.
So many films cast a hairless character as the heavy. Not so the X-Men. This groups' fearless leader Professor X shines, both with his strong ethics and by reflecting light from his (Mr.) Clean scalp. Instead, this film exploits the opposite stereotype: the hairier, the less predictable, more dangerous, more evil. Professor X's bald head and clean shaven look reflect his logic and control.
I enjoyed reading X-Men comics as a kid -- and liked both films, although I missed seeing characters like Beast and Angel. And, given my wasted youth, I spotted Professor X immediately when he suddenly materialized in today's image.