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In the first X-Men movie (2000), Wolverine and Rogue are driving through icy Canada when they are attacked by Sabertooth. He knocks Wolverine unconscious and is on the verge of victory when Storm and Cyclops arrive and drive him away.

Why were they there at that time? Magneto infers that Charles Xavier had sent them, but why did he do so? Did he send uniformed X-Men to pick up every random mutant? Why then? Did he have foreknowledge of the attack and, if so, how?

  • 1
    Regarding how, in X2 we are shown the precision with which Xavier can track a mutant using Cerebro. – faintsignal Jan 19 '17 at 4:34
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It's a hold over from the older script for the movie. In it, Rogue is nowhere to be seen. Storm and Cyclops are there to stop Sabertooth and rescue his target. Wolverine. Whom Magneto wants due to the Adamantium in him (and apparently his little dog tags too).

Max "Magneto" Leshner explicitly says that Xavier has been using Cerebro to mess with Magneto's plans:

  Magneto glances at Storm, then Cyclops.

                     MAGNETO
             The two in Alaska.  Just how do you
             people manage to be in the right place
             at the right time?  Still tinkering
             with Cerebro?

                      XAVIER
                 (referring to Logan)
             What do you want with him?

  Magneto smiles now, tapping his METAL HELMET.

                      MAGNETO
             Can't read my mind?

Of course this version is a tad different than the final. Erik, I mean Max and Xavier don't have that touching "en guarde" moment at the beginning of the film. Logan is the energy source for the machine. Rogue saves the day. But considering that we know Xavier uses Cerebro to locate mutants and read minds at a distance, this is still proof.

In another version, Xavier was supposedly just looking for Logan, even though Sabertooth still thinks they know:

LOGAN
      How did they find me, anyway?

XAVIER
      I make it my primary interest to find the
      mutants with the most extraordinary powers.
      The best potential. We've been tracking you for some time.

LOGAN
      Impossible. I would have known.

Xavier taps a finger to his temple.
XAVIER
      The mind leaves no tracks/ breaks no branches.

In the final movie when Sabertooth surmises that they knew, Magneto blames Charles without any explanation. Charles says he doesn't know what Magneto was planning due to the helmet. So it's a plot hole in the final cut.

4

Erik (Magneto) isn't wearing his helmet when he first encounters Xavier at the beginning of the film.

Xavier might have read that Erik sent Sabertooth to track someone down, so Xavier could have been using Cerebro to keep tabs on him. He sent Cyclops and Storm when he detected Sabertooth was close to his prey, but there were two mutants there. They wrongly concluded Wolverine was the mutant of interest and not Rogue.

That is one hypothesis.

Xavier could be using Cerebro to find young mutants who are running scared that he can help, like Rogue. So he sends Cyclops and Storm to pick up Rogue, and they happen to stumble upon Sabertooth, who they presumably know works with Erik, and jump to the conclusion that Wolverine is a mutant of Interest to Magneto.

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