Whereas I might have been the only person to see the love connection going on between The Rock and Vin Diesel in Fast Five, there is so much HoYay* going on between super-best-friends Erik Lensherr and Charles Xavier in X-Men: First Class that it’s astonishing that them being lovers isn’t canon.
I’ll say it now: I think the reason that I never saw this bromance for what it was in the 2000-era X-Men movies is because Professor X and Magneto were being played by old men. In First Class, they’re eager young lads as wonderfully portrayed by James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender, so it’s certainly easier to slash them. But the evidence is there!
Let’s start with their first meeting. Charles and crew, trying to get the drop on Sebastian Shaw and his mutants, spot Erik in the water trying to hold on to Shaw’s submarine with his powers. (OK, that was a really charged sentence.) Charles leaps into the water and grabs Erik — a stranger — from behind, yelling, “You’ll die if you hold on! You have to let go!” He literally embraces him, shows him that there are people like him.
Because this is a “let’s get the gang together” kind of prequel, Erik is the quintessential resistor: He wants only revenge and doesn’t care about honing his powers or building alliances with humans. (Anakin Skywalker wishes he had such a nuanced origin story.) The only person he really socializes with is Charles, with their late-night chess games and moral debates. Of the group, these two have had the most training, though it’s come in different ways: A cultured, cushy education for Charles versus torture and abuse at the hands of the Nazi Shaw for Erik.
What it comes down to is that they’re both lonely and in need of a support system that neither Moira MacTaggert (Rose Byrne) nor Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) can provide.