In the scene where Professor X and Magneto go to Jean Grey's house after she woke up and escaped, he says something like

Don't let it control you.

Then, Wolverine manages to open some door, and makes eye contact with Professor X.
Professor X smiles at him, and is killed.

Why the smile? Did it have a deep meaning? Or was it just death acceptance?

The Phoenix facing Professor X Professor X smiling right before he's killed

  • 35
    "Phew, no more of these bloody awful films." Commented Aug 28, 2013 at 10:35
  • 25
    He'd just finished working out how much he got paid for each of the seventeen minutes he appeared in. Commented Aug 28, 2013 at 10:51
  • 11
    @PaulD.Waite Do you realize that Anthony Hopkins won the Academy Award for Best Actor for appearing 16 minutes in The Silence of the Lambs? :p
    – Kalissar
    Commented Aug 28, 2013 at 11:29
  • 6
    @Kalissar: that's no excuse for Hannibal and Red Dragon. Commented Aug 28, 2013 at 12:42
  • 25
    @Kalissar - But he squeezed in eating 2 people into it! How many people did Jean-Luke Picard eat in X-Men? Commented Aug 28, 2013 at 19:10

4 Answers 4


If you watch the extra scene after the credits, Xavier has transferred his consciousness to the body in a coma he was referring to in the ethics class earlier in the film. This was when he asked, would it be ethical for a telepath to take over a body which was born with no mind and so kept in a coma for its entire life.

He is smiling as he has an escape plan.

  • 1
    Isn't that body Xaviers twin brother? Which is why, when Xavier returns, he still needs a wheelchair? Commented Nov 30, 2013 at 17:26
  • 8
    @Reanimation Except wasn't the reason Xavier needed a wheelchair due to injury, not a birth condition?
    – Doc
    Commented Jun 2, 2014 at 13:43
  • 4
    Because multiple times we are shown that Xavier ' s wheelchair use is dependent on his having his mutant powers. In the comics and cartoons and everything.
    – user16696
    Commented Jun 27, 2015 at 17:16

At the time I took it for acceptance of death, as you say. After seeing the end of the film, however, with the obvious tease that Xavier had placed his mind in the body of a braindead coma patient, I changed my mind. I would assume the smile was actually the closest he could come at the time to informing Logaan that he was not, in fact, about to die. He'd found a way out. Since no fourth film in that series (not counting the prequel film and the upcoming alternate universe movie) was made though, we can't be sure if that actually happened, but it seems to fit.

  • Wait, what? The new movie is not in the same continuity of the first 3 x-man movies?, so now we have the continuity of the first 3 x-man, two stand alone wolverine films (or are they in the same continuity?), x-man first class and days of our future past? so what is movie canon and what not? jeez!
    – jsedano
    Commented Aug 28, 2013 at 16:14
  • the new Wolverine is continuous with the trilogy, and sets up a fourth X-men movie coming soon!
    – childcat15
    Commented Aug 28, 2013 at 17:04
  • I thought Days of Future Past was supposed to bring them together into continuity.
    – PiousVenom
    Commented Aug 28, 2013 at 20:16
  • Until the film is actually released, I'm not confident about its effect on continuity. Commented Aug 31, 2013 at 3:08

Days of Future past will bring together "first class" the prequel movie about how Xavier and Magento came to be, and the Original Trilogy of films. Xmen Origins: Wolverine is a prequel as well of the Trilogy, setting up how Wolverine came to be. The movie "The Wolverine" is a sort of sequel to "Last Stand", but a prequel to "Days of Future Past." The latter mentioned is the true sequel to Xmen 3, "Last Stand."

The answer to the smiling, lays in the movie coming, 4th in the main story line, Days of Future Past. How professor X actually remained alive. Basically, it's as everyone said. There was a scene where professor X was lecturing his students regarding mutant ethics, speaks of the ability to transfer human consciousness into the body of a brain dead man in comatose. Mentioning that it raises serious concern (against ethics) even of that transferred consciousness was one of a father of 4, dying of cancer.

I believe professor Xavier was smiling, because the irony of it, was he went against his own ethical nature, and saved is own hide by transferring his consciousness into this patient aforementioned.

  • 2
    Unfortunately, Days of Future Past did not at all explain how he survived his apparent death in The Last Stand
    – phantom42
    Commented May 28, 2014 at 21:50
  • 1
    That's because The Last Stand already explained it. Commented Sep 10, 2015 at 23:54

The only other possibility is that at some point he had been warned about this... after all if Kitty can time shift people for DOFP it could have happened before if she felt knowledge of his death was important enough to risk someone. Of course then the movie would wipe that out... but if it's not the first time Kitty sent Logan back, for example when she learned she had this power and figured that it was important to warn the Prof of Pheonix... Logan of course wouldn't remember, so the smile might be a thank you... and this would explain more the end scene of the Wolverine where Xavier is in modern time.

More likely is the brother theory...a man in a bed his entire life wouldn't be able to walk any more than Charles could.

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