I wasn’t a big comic reader until recently and wasn’t always a fan of comic characters. I admit the movies were amazing and I still look forward to them because they’re entertaining. When the first X-Men movies came out, I was too young or shallow to wonder about the relationships between the characters. I took everything at face value. However, I was curious about Professor X and Magneto as people and was curious about their motivations. Watching the whole series again before Days of Future Past, including First Class, I realized that there was subtext between them. After Days of Future Past, I knew there was no choice but to ship Cherik (Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr).
A Cherik relationship would counter their individual extremism (hyper violence and hyper pacifism) and could have worked together from the beginning to curve the mutant issues. Although Magneto is currently on a positive track, all the drama and deaths could have been less destructive and heartbreaking.
Who are the characters?
Cherik consists of Professor X and Magneto, based on the professor’s last name and Magneto’s movie name. They both have had tragic backstories. Professor Charles Xavier is psionic powered making him arguably the most powerful telepath. His father dies young and his mother remarried to an abusive man, Kurt Marco, with a bully for a son. After his mom passed away, the Marcos died in a fire. The tragedy doesn’t stop there for him. However, he is a genius of his own right going to college and earning his bachelors in 2 years. He then continued on to get Ph.Ds in genetics, biophysics, psychology, and anthropology, and an M.D. in psychiatry. He always looks at the bright side and aimed to build a new generation of mutants who accept themselves, know how to control their powers, and be confident in who they are.
Magneto, on the other hand, has a powerful ability to manipulate magnetism and magnetic force fields. This offered him the power to be Xavier’s counterpart and a real threat to be reckoned with. He went through the holocaust and lost his family. He met his first wife in Auschwitz. After leaving, his daughter died in a fire and his wife left him not informing him of her pregnancy with Scarlett Witch and Quicksilver. He develops multiple groups, including safe havens like Genosha, to fight against the anti-mutant regimes. His experiences caused him to change his name multiple time starting with Max Eisenhardt and ending with Erik Lehnsherr. What he lacks in education, he makes up for with experiences of being ostracized and leadership. What makes him different then Professor X is what makes him a valuable partner and balance to Xavier’s optimism. Hence, Cherik is an amazing new facet to their personal stories.
Why They Work Well Together (In My Mind)
Cherik represents to me a balance between pacifism and violence or at least their conversations about philosophy, politics, and history. These conversations could develop farther into their psyche and change how they perceive the world. They would grow and develop as individuals to be better than they were. I believe many of the situations they were in individually would have played out better if they were together. With their diverse experiences, they would have been able to present a stronger, more established front. They could have protected each other and the different mutants better. Professor X and Magneto could be better fathers together and would be able to be less volatile. Look at any of the fanworks, Cherik may not work well together (as outlined below), but they are much better as a team then as individuals.
Cherik is an interesting pairing because they could either ruin each other or make each other greater than ever. When they do end up working together and their goals align, they and their teams are a force to be reckoned with and to be feared. They are also compassionate and righteous. Xavier and Magneto could be the ones who change the world for mutants’ sake. It may have to take their whole lifetimes, but they would be living contentedly and productively to establish a world where mutants are free.
Why They Don’t Work Well Together (In Real Life)
Cherik may not work, other than their obvious heterosexuality, because of their attitudes. They are both too stubborn to compromise about their beliefs and moral codes. Although that doesn’t stop them from supporting each other in their times of need, this factor of their extreme views alone could develop into a toxic relationship. Some fanworks do explore that, based on both the comics and movies. Another area of contention with the success of Professor X and Magneto would be the idea that they both might not put in the effort into building a healthy, fruitful relationship. They would be too busy trying to fulfill their aims individually or trying to get the other to work under their ideals.
The last reason Cherik might not work would be the different attitudes they have towards their own offspring. At least in the canon, Xavier was somewhat destructive towards his son David. Magneto, on the other hand, is desperate to have his children back and develop a real relationship with them. This would be a point of contention between them. Magneto would be displeased by the discrepancy in the professor’s attitudes towards his children and the youngsters at the school.
Is It a Standard/Popular Ship? Are There Alternate Ships Involving the Characters?
Cherik is the most popular ship for these characters. There are multiple ships that involve them including Professor Xavier with Moira McTaggart and Magneto with Mystique. The earlier one is encouraged through the canon of the X-Men stories. This pairing makes sense both in the comic context and the movie context. In the comics, they meet as youngsters and developed an intimate friendship that has a lasting effect on Xavier helping him become who he is today. In the movies, she is the operative that gives Xavier the resources, as well as a goal, to gather youngsters in bad situations and help them. The second pairing was hinted at multiple times, especially in the movies. This pair is based on the fact that Mystique is Magneto’s second in command and his most trusted ally. They also find comfort in each other when they can’t seek it out by their mutual safety net (Professor X). As most couplings in comics or movies almost never last long, these ships have no lasting affect to Cherik.
Dream fantasy (keep it PG though!)
My Cherik headcanon exists in a world where Professor Xavier was able to talk down Magneto from his homicidal tendencies. Magneto was able to talk some sense into Xavier and enforce him to take a more active role in resolving the human/mutant issues. The image in my head has all their children with them and their grandchildren are the ones who live in a state of happiness and safety. Cherik, to me, can be the source of peace in the Marvel universe and place of hope for the readers. I believe they can minimize the loss of life that plagued both of their lives and the lives of the mutants around them.
Even though, they can be volatile and destructive, there is a pureness in Professor Xavier and Magneto’s relationship. Cherik could be that light for them and the escape from the dread that plagues their lives. This may never be canon but the subtext of their relationship exists beyond the world of the fans to the world of the characters.
I seriously can’t wait to read the new fics produced from X-men: Apocalypse!