In July’s Uncanny X-Men #23and #24, Brian Michael Bendis and Chris Bachalo uncover and explore the ramifications of the discovery of the Last Will and Testament of Charles Xavier. Tying into this summer’s Original Sin summer event series, Xavier’s words from beyond the grave promise to disclose secrets of the team and its founder which Marvel says “might prove to be the X-Men’s ultimate undoing”. In life, Professor Charles Xavier founded, nurtured, led and counselled the X-Men. And even though he died in the finale of Avengers Vs. X-Men in 2012, in this upcoming arc he’s speaking from beyond the grave – and he has words for Cyclops and his team.
Calling this arc “mysterious and ominous,” Bendis promises this story’s revelations will affect every mutant in the Marvel Universe on some level. As the series’ writer and defacto conservator of this fictional will, the writer won’t reveal much about the surprises enclosed in Xavier’s document but does tell Newsarama that Xavier kept secrets from everyone, including the X-Men, and this arc begins to give readers answers.
Newsarama: Brian, the title of this arc alone is quite a gloomy and humbling portent of what we can expect. But tell us Brian, what's set to happen in Uncanny X-Men #23 and #24?
Brian Michael Bendis: First of all, this is a major X-Men story with gigantic ramifications throughout the entire corner of the X-Men universe. So although it starts in #23 and #24, and this will be going on for quite some time. This is a huge bomb being dropped on the X-Men universe.
And while you may think gloomy and humbling may I counter with mysterious and ominous. What is in Charles Xavier’s last will and testament? When did he put it together? In what state were the X-Men in when he did it? Could he perceive of a day where Cyclops would at least be partly responsible for his death? And what is in that will that matches some of the biggest revelations in the Original Sin events? What is bigger than Cyclops murdering Charles Xavier?
Nrama: As you said, Xavier died at Cyclops' hand but it was when he was possessed by the Phoenix Force. Some time has passed, but how will finding this Last Will and Testament tear open old wounds for Scott?
Bendis: This will tear open old wounds, create new ones, and open wounds people didn’t even know they had…
Nrama: Cyclops and the other adult members of the Uncanny X-Men team knew Xavier quite well, but the trainees only knew him by what they read or saw in the news. How will this revelation impact them?
Bendis: I must say, if we play our cards right, there isn’t one mutant this won’t affect on some level. Double negative be damned [laughs].
Nrama: You've written Charles Xavier briefly before, in event books and during Ultimate X-Men, but when you joined All-New X-Men and Uncanny X-Men recently Xavier had just been murdered so you never had a chance to write him proper, for an extended period. Charles is dead of course here, but what's it like writing the last will and testament of a dead person — fiction or not?
Bendis: I have written Charles and was always quite fond of him because we share membership in the ‘bald men who use our power to manipulate people without them knowing it’ club. The position Charles held in the Marvel Universe was unique and very important. He had his hands in major events going all the way back to before there was even a Marvel Universe. We have never known all of Charles’ secrets. We have never known how far Charles was willing to go, how much of his power he was willing to use, to make his dream of mutants and humans living together a reality. And we don’t know what he left behind.
Nrama: From just the name alone, the last will and testament of Charles Xavier would seem to have broader implications than just to Scott's Uncanny X-Men team. Might we perhaps see ripples of this in other X-Men books -- especially perhaps in All-New X-Men?
Bendis: Absolutely. If I haven’t made it clear this is a major X-Men story. This is potentially one of those stories people will be talking about for many years, like House of M or the “Dark Phoenix Saga.” What we are about to unleash could very well inform the X-Men in the Marvel universe for many years to come…
or not [laughs].