In the first X-Men film, Mystique is able to infiltrate the X-Mansion by disguising herself as a student. She then accesses Cerebro by mimicking Professor Xavier's eyes to fool the scanner on the door, and sabotages it.

But why does Professor X use an eye scanner to lock the door in the first place, since Mystique has this ability? Of course, any security system could be beaten by a mutant with the right ability—like walking through walls or teleporting, both of which are known to exist. However, Mystique is not just another mutant in the Brotherhood. She is Magneto's trusted ally, and Xavier knows this. Furthermore, it is implied that the Brotherhood of Mutants, as an organization, does not exist in this movie—it is just Magneto, Mystique, Toad, and Sabretooth.

So why does Professor X use a security system that is vulnerable to one of his known enemies, and the one most skilled at infiltration at that?

  • 3
    It doesn't answer the question, but it's worth remembering that Mystique's use of poison in Cerebro was unexpected. She wouldn't have been able to USE Cerebro even if she did get in, which is likely what Xavier was expecting when he built the bio-scan. A telepath/shapeshifter combo or team is pretty unlikely, and (except creative poisons) there's no other reason to break into that room.
    – Nerrolken
    Commented May 6, 2015 at 22:07
  • 6
    He should really have used two- or three-factor authentication on that place. It can't be that hard to make the eye scanner send a single-use random token to his smartphone.
    – Ixrec
    Commented May 6, 2015 at 22:40
  • 3
    In any case, a security system that can be broken by only one person in particular seems like a rather good one. Commented May 7, 2015 at 9:18

1 Answer 1


Based on a reading of the official novelisations of X-Men 1 and 2, there's a few good reasons why the Professor chose to use a biometric scanner to guard access to Cerebro:

  • Cerebro, and presumably its security system was designed (by Magneto) before there was a general knowledge of mutant powers and well before he and Professor X had encountered teleporters and phasers. When the school is invaded, similar systems prove largely effective in preventing X-men tech and info from falling into the wrong hands.

Technicians began swarming through the building as soon as Lyman’s troops reported it secure, but they quickly found themselves frustrated by command protocols keyed to retinal and voice prints they didn’t possess and computer codes so deviously encrypted they couldn’t begin to make sense of them.

  • The scanner itself is state of the art technology. Mystique isn't sure her replication of Professor X will be good enough and even then it's only because she's had such close access to him that she has any chance:

Everything needed to be perfect. Especially the eyes. Being young Bobby had been easy. She had fooled the girl Rogue, just as they had planned. But this shift had to be exact. And that was something she hadn’t done often.

With her most intense focus, she started to shift again. This time just changing part of herself.

She focused on every detail in her mind, as she shifted from the shoulders up into a replica of Professor Xavier.

When she was finished, she keyed in a sequence that opened the panel near the door, then knelt down slightly in front of the retinal scanner. It lit up, scanning her forehead and eyes.

For a moment she thought it might not work.

Then, with a satisfying clanking sound, the door unlocked and slowly swung open.

  • There seems to be a sense that the security system is acknowledged not to be foolproof. Despite the awesome power of Cerebro, it's really only useful in the Professor's hands and since he's not expecting to be taken over or coerced, the security devices are largely there to prevent access by students to a potentially fragile/dangerous working area rather than a completely serious attempt to keep out alpha-level mutants

Xavier moved his chair up to a panel positioned at his eye level beside the door. The screen lit up, registering his presence, and he let it scan his eyes and forehead. A measure to keep out those who shouldn’t have access to Cerebro, including any of the school’s inquisitive students.

A moment later the security computer recognized him and the massive steel door clicked loudly, then started to open.

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