In the X-Men: First Class movie, Sebastian Shaw holes himself up within the reactor chamber of his submarine. While in this room, Charles Xavier cannot sense or find him using his telepathy. He describes a "void" in the middle of the ship.

The walls of this room appear to be covered in mirrors. Once Erik begins smashing these mirrors (or more correctly, Shaw begins smashing them using Erik), Xavier can start seeing inside the room.

What is it about these "mirrors" that shut Xavier out? I am not aware of any instance in the comics where Xavier's telepathy was thwarted by standard mirrors.

2 Answers 2


The substance used to shield that room, making it proof against radiation is called Radiation Shielded Glass. This implies that Xavier's telepathic powers are, in theory, a form of electromagnetic radiation, capable of being shielded against using this material.

  • This glass is a composite material using lead oxide and barium making the glass able to block radiation. It is not tempered so it breaks relatively easily.

  • While it may resemble ordinary mirrors, it is most assuredly not. The material sells for $450 to $900 a square meter.

  • This would also correspond with why Magneto has some level of natural immunity to Xavier's telepathic powers.

enter image description here

Radiation Shielding Glass is a high quality optical grade lead barium glass with more than 60% heavy metal oxide including at least 55% lead oxide with sizes up to 96”x48”. The glass offers visual clarity and high light transmittance, but does not discolor due to radiation. Both glass surfaces are mirror polished.

Our standard 7mm thick lead glass shields up to 1/16” (1.6mm) @ 150Kv X-Ray Peak voltage but we can achieve higher lead equivalency by laminating multiple layers of glass together.

This glass is used to shield a variety of x-rays in medical and industrial facilities. REF: A&L Shielding ->Radiation Shielded Glass

  • "This implies that Xavier's telepathic powers are, in theory, a form of electromagnetic radiation" wouldn't this imply that Magneto could replicate Xavier's powers if he wanted to?
    – Deleteman
    Aug 1, 2013 at 9:14
  • 1
    Well, that also explains why there are so many mirrors in the reactor room.
    – phantom42
    Aug 1, 2013 at 11:05

I've read a few books in which telepathy is 'hampered' by mirrors, something to do with it reflecting back on the user. While this certainly doesn't cover being in a mirrored room yourself as protection, it was a means to jail telepaths.

There are other instances of telepathy-blocking materials in the X-men movie world, such as Wolverine's Adamantium-encased skull. As with Thaddeus' answer with the Radiation Shielding Glass, perhasp something to do with density or material. It would be interesting to see if a radioactive material (such as Depleated Uranium, which can be used as armor) or a dense metal (such as gold) would offer protection.

  • 1
    I don't recall the adamantium ever being singled out as the cause behind Xavier's difficulty accessing Wolverine's brain in the movie. I always interpreted it as Wolverine's memories being such a jumbled mess that he couldn't really get a proper picture.
    – phantom42
    Aug 1, 2013 at 16:10
  • And while there is a chance that the adamantium hindered Xavier's ability, the first interaction between Xavier and Wolverine in X-Men 1 was Xavier speaking to him telepathically.
    – phantom42
    Aug 1, 2013 at 16:32
  • Both good points, Phantom. There's also be an explaination as to Wolverine's healing abilities to erasing his memories as memories are neural scarring, and that it's hard to 'read' him as his brain is eventually wiped clean over time. ProfX definately can communicate with Wolvie, and has done so both in comics and movies.
    – Jersey
    Aug 1, 2013 at 16:38
  • From the looks of X-Men 1 and Origins, there's not a huge span of time between the reactor incident with Deadpool (presumably the Three Mile Island meltdown, putting it at 1979) and Prof X and Logan crossing paths ("not too distant future" as of the movie's release in 2000), during that time, Logan's been a nomad trying to figure out what to do with his life how to figure out what happened before then. An adamantium bullet to the head isn't exactly precision surgery, so it's possible that a lot more than just his memory got screwed up.
    – Shauna
    Aug 14, 2013 at 20:34
  • Additionally, memories aren't neural scarring, but connections between cells. It would also stand to reason that if memories were "neural scarring," Logan wouldn't be able to remember anything, and it's pretty clear in The Wolverine, that he does, given his vivid memories of both Jean and pre-3MI wars (flashbacks, dreams, and regular memories).
    – Shauna
    Aug 14, 2013 at 20:37

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