X-Men: All 4 versions of Professor X ranked from worst to best

Whether animated or portrayed in live-action, Professor X has always left us with a positive message and a lot to digest. But which version of Charles Xavier is the best?
(L-R): Professor X (voiced by Ross Marquand) and Empress Lilandra (voiced by Morla Gorrondonna) in Marvel Animation's X-MEN '97. Photo courtesy of Marvel Animation. © 2024 MARVEL.
(L-R): Professor X (voiced by Ross Marquand) and Empress Lilandra (voiced by Morla Gorrondonna) in Marvel Animation's X-MEN '97. Photo courtesy of Marvel Animation. © 2024 MARVEL. /

Imagine running a school where instead of normal homework and detentions, you're dealing with teleportation mishaps and telepathic teenagers. That's Professor X's day in a nutshell.

Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters isn’t your typical high school - it’s a haven for mutants learning to master their unique powers. Charles himself is no ordinary principal; he’s a powerful telepath, which means he can read minds and even chat telepathically. When he’s not teaching, he’s often seen zooming around in a high-tech wheelchair, proving that being one of the strongest mutants and superheroes out there doesn’t require one to stand.

But Professor X is more than just a mind-reading, wheelchair-riding teacher - he's a peace-loving visionary with a dream bigger than any mutant power. He believes humans and mutants can live together in harmony, despite the endless drama from those who disagree. His arch-rival, Magneto, prefers a more "might makes right" approach, which often puts them at odds in a sort of chess match with superpowers. It’s like watching your two favorite uncles arguing at Thanksgiving, except instead of politics, they’re reading everyone's minds and bending metal. Through all the chaos, Xavier remains the calm and collected father figure, guiding his X-Men with wisdom and the occasional mind-wipe. Whether he’s rescuing them from danger or schooling them in the art of diplomacy, Charles Xavier is the brainy backbone of the X-Men team.

Let's take a look at the iconic versions of Professor X to appear on-screen over the years, and see how they rank when put up against each other. In this battle of the minds, who will be victorious?

DF-02901_crop - L-R: James McAvoy (as Charles Xavier/Professor X), Kodi Smit-McPhee (as Nightcrawler), Tye Sheridan (as Cyclops, back to camera), and Alexandra Shipp (as Storm) in Twentieth Century Fox’s X-MEN: DARK PHOENIX. Photo Credit: Doane Gregory. /

4. Wolverine and the X-Men (2008-2009)

Imagine waking up and finding out you've snoozed your way into a full-blown dystopian future - that's the wild ride Professor X, voiced by Jim Ward, finds himself on in Wolverine and the X-Men. Jim Ward gives us a Professor X who’s not just brainy but seriously gutsy. He's vulnerable, sure, dealing with his new reality, but also fiercely determined to set things right, showing a resilience that adds a rich layer to his character.

This portrayal shakes up the classic Xavier image: instead of just being the calm and collected mentor, he's a time-tossed hero facing a crisis head-on, making this version a memorable twist on the beloved professor.

3. X-Men: Evolution (2000-2003)

Meet Professor X, the cool school counselor of X-Men: Evolution, where the vibe is more high school drama than world-saving drama - at least some of the time! Voiced by David Kaye, this version of Charles Xavier ditches the usual stern professor look for a more laid-back mentor style, perfect for dealing with teenage angst and the occasional mutant meltdown.

In this series, Xavier's school is less about fighting and more about fitting in, as he guides his young X-Men through the perils of puberty and secret superpowers. It's like watching a mutant version of your favorite teen drama, with Professor X as the principal who genuinely wants to help you figure out life, not just how to zap stuff with your eyes. This portrayal provides a refreshing take on Xavier’s character, emphasizing his educational and nurturing side, which resonates deeply with a younger audience. It’s a less intense but equally impactful side of the beloved mutant leader, showing that sometimes, the real superpower is just being a great mentor.

2. X-Men: The Animated Series (1992-1997), X-Men '97 (2024)

Cedric Smith's Professor X is like the ultimate mutant mentor you never knew you needed. Voicing Charles Xavier from 1992 to 1997 in X-Men: The Animated Series, Smith gave us the wise and unwavering leader of the X-Men, capturing every bit of his comic book charisma.

This version is such a fan favorite because it’s like he stepped right out of the pages with his calm demeanor and that classic bald head, guiding his team through mutant meltdowns and epic battles against baddies. This Xavier wasn’t just about zapping brains; he brought a fatherly warmth and a kind of noble elegance that made you root for him and his dream of peace between mutants and humans. This brought Professor X to life in a way that felt both profoundly powerful and deeply personal, sticking with fans long after the show ended.

Whether he was strategizing against Magneto or offering sage advice to his students, Smith's Professor X was the wise, beating heart of the series - teaching not just powers, but patience and persistence. And with Ross Marquand stepping into the role on sequel series X-Men '97, we're beginning to see that beloved Charles Xavier back on our screens.

1. X-Men Trilogy (2000-2006), X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014), Logan (2017)

Sir Patrick Stewart as Professor X is basically the grandmaster of the X-Men universe. He brought a sense of royal class and serious gravitas to the role of Charles Xavier, making him the ultimate wise and benevolent father figure to his team of superpowered misfits.

Whether he's outsmarting enemies with his mind or offering a soothing pep talk, the X-Men movies' version of Xavier is nothing short of iconic. He first rolled onto the scene in the original X-Men trilogy, bringing a calm amidst the storm of claws and chaos. The character continued to shine through in X-Men: Days of Future Past, where Stewart's portrayal got to mix it up with his younger self, showing off layers of wisdom mixed with a pinch of sass. By the time we get to Logan, he's an old man with a fraying mind, but still dropping knowledge and showing just why he’s the heart and soul of the X-Men. It’s no wonder he ranks so high - Stewart's Xavier isn't just a hero; he's a legend, delivering everything from dramatic telepathic showdowns to heart-tugging moments, all with a distinguished British flair that can make even a "please pass the salt" sound like Shakespeare.

Bonus entry: Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness (2022)

Let’s not forget the surprise cameo that had fans squealing in their seats - Sir Patrick Stewart reprised his iconic role as Professor X in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Popping up from an alternate universe, he brought a slice of his calm, authoritative charm to the chaotic multiverse shenanigans. Sporting his classic yellow hoverchair from the animated series, he was every bit the wise, serene Professor X we all remember, even if his screen time was as brief as a commercial break.

This quick visit lands just outside of the Xavier rankings because while it was a nostalgic treat for the fans, it was just a fleeting glimpse. Yet, in those few minutes, Stewart delivered every line with the gravity and warmth we’ve come to love about his Xavier, making us all wish he could have stuck around to lend a mind or two to the multiversal madness.

Next. All 13 X-Men movies ranked from worst to best. All 13 X-Men movies ranked from worst to best. dark