- NOTE: This article is about the erased timeline incarnation of Magneto from the X-Men film series. His alternate version can be found here: Magneto (X-Men Movies). The mainstream version can be found here: Magneto (Marvel).
|“||There is no land of tolerance. There is no peace, not here or anywhere else. Women and children, whole families destroyed simply because they were born different from those in power. Well, after tonight, the world's powerful will be just like us. They will return home as brothers. As mutants. Our cause will be theirs. Your sacrifice will mean our survival.||„|
|~ Magneto to Rogue, explaining why he's going to kill her at Liberty Island.|
Erik Magnus Lehnsherr, also known as Magneto, is the main antagonist of the X-Men film series.
He is an extremely powerful and ruthless mutant with the ability to manipulate all forms of magnetism and is the former archenemy of the X-Men. Following the deaths of his parents at a concentration camp at the hands of the Nazi mutant scientist Sebastian Shaw, Erik Lehnsherr set himself in using his powers to avenge his parents, coming across the mutant Charles Xavier. However, after stopping Shaw, Lehnsherr turned against Xavier and formed the Brotherhood of Mutants to oppose Xavier's X-Men, with both organizations set in making humanity accept mutankind, but through different methods.
He was portrayed by Sir Ian McKellen, who also played King Richard III in the 1995 film adaptation of William Shakespeare's Richard III, Kurt Dussander in Apt Pupil, Sir Leigh Teabing in The Da Vinci Code, The Toad in Flushed Away and Horatio P. Huntington in Animal Crackers. In the prequel film, he was portrayed by Michael Fassbender, who also played Burke in Jonah Hex, David 8 in the Alien prequels, Edwin Epps in 12 Years a Slave and the title character in the 2015 version of Macbeth.
He serves as the main antagonist of X-Men and X-Men: The Last Stand, an antihero in X2, the main protagonist of X-Men: First Class, a cameo character in The Wolverine and a recurring character of X-Men: Days of Future Past.
Magneto starts out as young Erik Lehnsherr who is a Holocaust survivor. When he is persuaded by Dr. Klaus Schmidt to use his power of controlling metal, he refuses to, and tries desperately to when the villain points a gun at his mother. After Schmidt kills his mother, Erik gets enraged and bursts into a rage thus enabling his powers; he turned a filing cabinet inside-out, squeezed two guard's helmets to crush their brains and send loads of metal equipment in the neighboring surgery room flying in a murderous frenzy. Schmidt says that he will unlock his power and gives him a German 5-cent coin that he was meant to move around moments before.
Years later, Erik searches for Schmidt and vows to kill him in his quest for revenge. First, he goes to a bank manager in Geneva, Switzerland and gets him to tell of Schmidt's location; Argentina. Next, Erik went to Argentina and killed three guys in a bar who knew where to find Schmidt. When he finds Schmidt (now calling himself Sebastian Shaw) aboard the ship Caspartina, he meets Charles Xavier, who assists him in the investigation of his plans of launching missiles onto Cuba thus triggering World War III. He starts a close friendship with Charles and a romantic relationship with his fostered sister Raven (Mystique). According to Charles, the two of them may have met earlier in life when they were 17.
When Erik (now dubbed Magneto) and Shaw finally come face to face in Shaw's submarine, Magneto destroys part of Shaw's telepathy shield, removes his helmet and allows Charles to paralyze him long enough to stop him. Unfortunately, Magneto dons the helmet to block Charles' mind. He reluctantly kills Shaw by placing a Nazi coin through his brain (while ignoring Charles' begging to stop).
Later on, the USSR and the US launched missiles at the mutants threatening to kill them and stopping World War III. Magneto takes control of the missiles thus turning them on their launchers. CIA agent Moria MacTaggert tries shooting at Magneto, but Magneto deflects the bullets accidentally paralyzing Charles' legs. He invites the rest of the mutants of the Hellfire Club and the other X-Men to join him in his quest to protect mutant-kind. The X-Men refuse but Mystique joins him and the rest of the Hellfire Club. At the climax of the film, Magneto and his newly formed Brotherhood of Mutants break Emma Frost out of her prison and asks her to join them.
Meeting Jean Grey
Sometime before or in 1986, Erik escaped or was let out and went with Xavier, treating each other as friends again, to meet the psychic mutant Jean Grey, who could actually lift up numerous cars in the neighborhood they were in to prove that she's a mutant. Later, Erik left Xavier again and launched forth his plan to arrange mutant prosperity.
Targeting political leaders
Magneto appears as the main antagonist of the first-made film in the series and so far the third chronologically. He believes that a war between mutants and humanity is fast approaching and must prepare for it. His Brotherhood of Mutants in this film include Mystique, Sabretooth and Toad. His first scene in the film is when he is leaving the Senate hall before he is stopped by Professor X and persuades him to stay out of his way and not to interfere with his plans for humanity.
He is next seen when Sabretooth informs him of the attack on Wolverine and Rogue and that Prof. X and the X-Men knew about their whereabouts in Alberta, Canada. Magneto sees a small dog tag around Sabretooth's neck and grabs it magnetically and examines a bit of what the Wolverine is capable of. He then informs that the time has come to put his plans into action by testing a machine that turns humans into mutants (unknown to Magneto that his machine kills them after their mutation). Magneto sends Mystique and Toad to kidnap Senator Robert Kelly and test his machine on him stating 'Let's just say that God works too slowly'.
After Kelly falls to his apparent death, Magneto proceeds with kidnapping Rogue plans to use her as a pawn for his machine to mutate the World Leaders on Ellis Island. On Liberty Island at the climax, Wolverine attempts to save Rogue, but Magneto holds him hostage just as the machine starts expanding towards Ellis Island as he holds the other X-Men hostage. Cyclops blasts him and Magneto is therefore sent to a plastic prison. He is visited by Professor X as the two play chess. Just before Prof. X departs, Magneto states 'The war's still coming Charles. And I intend to fight it.'
Seeking humanity's destruction
Magneto returns as one of the two deuteragonists (along with Professor X), no longer intent with changing humanity but destroying it.
He is visited by Col. William Stryker various times while he retrieves information on Prof. X's mansion and Cerebro, the machine that locates mutants around the world. While conversing with Prof. X, Magneto states that his war has already begun. Later, with help from his associate Mystique, Magneto escapes prison by using the metal in the blood of one of his prison guards.
Magneto is seen afterwards and rendezvous with the X-Men and their allies, giving them information about Stryker's plan to annihilate all mutants. The X-Men and the Brotherhood form an uneasy alliance to stop Stryker for the freedom of mutation. Once at Alkali Lake, Magneto along with Mystique, arrives at Cerebro and switches it around thus revealing his intentions to destroy all humans instead of mutants. Later on, he meets up with William Stryker and nearly chokes him to death. Just before a narrow escape, Magneto recruits young Pyro, who takes his advice (You're a god among insects).
Opposing the Mutant Cure
Magneto returns again as the main antagonist of the third film, this time with a massive army of mutants ready to take down the scientists who created a supposed "cure" that erases the mutant X-gene "permanently".
In the movie, after learning of a special cure for mutations made with the blood of a mutant, Magneto declares an all-out war and expands the Brotherhood of Mutants with new members such as Juggernaut, Multiple Man, The Omegas (Callisto, Arclight, Kid Omega, Psylocke) and various others in addition to his old members Mystique and Pyro.
After a rescue attempt and recruitment, Magneto was to be stunned by the cure, but Mystique sacrificed herself and was abandoned to live amongst the humans. Just as Magneto starts to expand his new army, he learns that Jean Grey (now known as the Phoenix) has survived her death and attempts to recruit her with only Prof. X, Wolverine and Storm standing in his way. He sends for Juggernaut and the Omegas for back-up to distract Wolverine and Storm. Persuading Jean to think that Prof. X wants to control her power, Jean goes insane, destroys her house and kills Prof. X in her outrage. Feeling heartbroken, Magneto takes Jean with him back to his lair.
Battle of Alcatraz
As Magneto sets out to destroy the source of the mutant cure (a mutant as it turns out), he senses that Wolverine was in his midst and stops him from taking Jean away from the Brotherhood. On their way to Alcatraz, Magneto and his Brotherhood army use the Golden Gate bridge to destroy everything on Alcatraz to reach their goal of destroying the cure. Met with plastic gunnery, he orders Arclight to tear them down and along with Pyro he begins using cars as projectiles. After fighting the X-Men, he is cured by Beast from behind. In defeat, he says to Jean 'This is what they want for all of us'. Feeling regret on what he did to Jean, he flees the Dark Phoenix's final stand.
At the end of the film, Magneto, sitting in at a chessboard in a park, manages to move a chess piece slightly, showing that he is slowly getting his powers back.
War of the Sentinels
At the film's post-credit scene, Magneto, having managed to fully regain his powers, appears before Wolverine in search of help to fight a new kind of war that could destroy every mutant in the world with a revived Professor X there as well. A decade passes, and Magneto is a major character. Meanwhile in the future timeline, Magneto helps the X-Men fend off the Sentinels but is injured badly during the war of the sentinels. Right before the Sentinels can finish him off along with Xavier, Wolverine, and Kitty Pryde, the future is changed. What became of Magneto in the revised timeline, and how much of the original still occurred beyond X-Men: First Class, is unclear at the moment.
Magneto is a tall and slender light-skinned Jewish man with brown eyes whose intensity was accentuated by furrows appearing around them in old age. He often wears a leather suit with a black cape and numerous red accents, with dark-colored boots ideal for treading long distances.
|“||Nobody ever talks about it. They just... do it. And you go on with your lives, ignoring the signs all around you. And then one day when the air is still, and the night has fallen, they come. There's only one question you must answer: who will you stand with?||„|
|~ Magneto, to the Mutants at the church, regarding how humanity will utilize the cure against them.|
Through his own righteous nature, Magneto is a justifiable, passionate and virtuous crusader of mutant rights and justice, dispersing both to anyone, human and mutant alike that may threaten his species and is willing to kill or sacrifice members of his own Brotherhood of Mutants for the survival of mutants in general. Having felt the prejudice and cruelty of humanity as a mutant and a Jew and firmly believing that co-existence is unobtainable between the two species, Magneto decreed that humanity must either evolve to match mutantkind's standards or be exterminated altogether. Similar to how the Nazis ripped the Jews from their homes and into the concentration camps, Magneto believes that humanity will attack without warning and that it is essential for mutants to strike first lest they be put through a similar Holocaust.
However, it should be noted that Magneto has at least had a relationship with a human which caused the birth of his son, Peter Maximoff. This also implies that he does not hate humanity but rather what humankind is capable of and this is not without reason in itself. With all mutants, Magneto is completely accepting regardless of their past actions or powers. Though he displayed a willingness to kill his own species if it was beneficial to the survival of his species in a whole, such as Rogue, Jimmy and even Mystique, he displays deep remorse over doing such brutal acts, with the exclusion being Sebastian Shaw of course.
A significant driving force of Magneto, that is the primary motivation to most of his actions is how the prejudice of modern society and the people within it also enforces other mutants that their powers are a curse and that they should be ashamed of who they are. His romantic feelings for Mystique also solidified these belifies, seeing her having to hide her natural blue form and Charles Xavier, her brother figure, encouraging this due to the hatred she would undoubtedly face, Magneto was the only one who told her to embrace who she truly was. Thinking it unfair that mutants had to hide on the basis that humanity would only fear what they could not understand, Magneto's beliefs of an idyllic society was a solely mutant one without human influence on how mutantkind should behave.
For a large portion of his young adult life, though Magneto was not completely driven out of pure righteousness and devotion to his species, he was once greatly motivated by revenge and this was what led him to be a skilled Nazi-killer, hunting down anyone who participated in the capture and torture of Jews during the Holocaust. He hunted down and tortured former Nazis with connection to Klaus Schmidt, such as removing the golden tooth implants of a bank manager for information and brutally murders three others. His vicious determination over revenge led him to be almost suicidal as he continued his magnetic hold over Shaw's submarine, ignoring the fact that he would drown. Magneto's opinions seemed to change after he encountered Charles Xavier and opened his eyes to a world of mutants. For a while, he seemed to have quenched his initial driving point and now assisted with building Cerebro and locating other mutants. Ultimately, however, Magneto's desire of revenge proved to great and he painfully, slowly killed the man who murdered his mother before his eyes despite Xavier's protests which could be considered the turning point for Magneto's dark future.
By his own confession, Magneto considered the idea of fearing God to be peculiar, as he had always viewed him as a teacher and nurturer who could provide enlightenment no matter how evil the world became.
Powers and Abilities
To be added.
To be added.
- Edie Lehnsherr † - Mother
- Jakob Lehnsherr † - Father
- Ms. Maximoff - Former Lover
- Quicksilver - Son
- Darwin † - Former Student and Former Teammate
- Brotherhood of Mutants - Former Teammates
- Free Mutants - Former Teammates
- Bishop †
- Blink †
- Sunspot †
- Warpath †
- X-Men - Former Enemies
- Rogue - Kidnap Victim turned Teammate and Rescuee
- Cyclops - Former Ally
- Nightcrawler - Former Ally
- Shadowcat - Teammate
- Wolverine - Teammate
- Colossus † - Former Teammate
- Iceman † - Former Teammate
- Storm † - Former Teammate
- Moira MacTaggert - Former Teammate turned Enemy and Attempted Victim
- Mystique - Former Student, Former Teammate, and Former Lover turned Enemy
- Sebastian Shaw † - Enemy, Torturer, and Victim
- Senator Kelly † - Enemy and Victim
- Banshee † - Former Student and Former Teammate turned Enemy
- Havok - Former Student and Former Teammate turned Enemy
- Beast † - Former Teammate turned Enemy
- Jean Grey † - Former Teammate turned Enemy
- Archangel † - Enemy
- Henry Gyrich † - Enemy
- Jason Stryker † - Enemy
- Kavita Rao † - Enemy
- Lady Deathstrike † - Enemy
- Leech - Enemy
- Sentinels - Enemies
- Swiss Bank Manager - Enemy
- Warren Worthington II - Enemy
- William Stryker † - Enemy
- Marcus Lyman †
The relationship between Magneto and Professor Charles Xavier is also convoluted to an extreme, as their morals, approaches and opinions of one another often obstruct their goals and actions throughout the series. Magneto is highly skeptical of Xavier's unshakable love and admiration for the human race, whom he views as simply an evolution behind mutantkind. He is willing to hurt, threaten or even kill Charles in pursuit of his goals - he was willing to poison Charles in order to prevent him from interfering. That being said, Magneto was visibly traumatized by the man's apparent death at the hands of the Dark Phoenix, which means that his mutual respect for Charles was more broad than expected. He could have only poisoned Charles in the knowledge that he would soon recover, but simply wanted to remove him from the battlefield long enough to achieve his goals. This also implies that Magneto is so respectful of Charles that he acknowledges Charles to be one of few powerful enough to defeat him. Magneto, also, is rendered furious when Charles is insulted by Pyro, stating that Charles did more for mutantkind than can ever be measured and that it was only a regret that Charles had to die so that mutantkind could flourish.
Another interesting aspect of their relationship is how they both refer to each other affably as "old friend". Their friendship is so tactile that (to this day) the two can play a friendly game of chess with one another however their ideals of humanity will always put them on edge - Magneto recognizes that a war between humans and mutants will erupt very soon and Magneto will be there to fight it, to which Charles wittily returns that, in contrast, Professor Charles Xavier will always be there to stand in his way.
Magneto was a critically acclaimed character, despite also garnering negative attention from less astute viewers. Both of his actors received global critical acclaim for their performances.
- At the original Marvel continuity of X-Men, Magneto was born as Max Eisenhardt and not as Erik Lensherr, even if he adopted this name as an alias.
- At the time of the first installment's creation process, the name Erik Lensherr was used to give the character a Gypsy heritage to avoid "demonizing" the Jewish Holocaust survivor community.
- Several fans and critics have pointed out numerous continuity issues between Magneto's backstory in the prequels and the original X-Men movies:
- Professor X claims that he met Magneto when he was 17 years old, even though they were clearly in their thirties during First Class.
- Professor X also claims that Magneto helped him build Cerebro, even though Beast built it — unless he helped him build the new one during their time training at Charles' mansion, which seems unlikely given the amount of time they had to train to take down Shaw and his men.
- While Magneto and Professor X parted ways at the end of First Class, they regrouped together during the eighties, according to The Last Stand, to meet with Jean Grey — what makes even less sense is the fact that Magneto would have faced prison time for life due to his supposed assassination of John F. Kennedy.
- Professor X seems oblivious to Magneto's helmet and its abilities to block his powers in the original X-Men film, even though Magneto first donned it while they were together in First Class.
- The number tattooed on Erik's hand is 214782.
- The tattooed number was first shown on Uncanny X-Men #150, written by Chris Claremont in 1981.
- Following the announcement of the production beginning of X-Men Origins: Wolverine that was released on 2009, there was many other plans for a solo film focused on the character titled X-Men Origins: Magneto. This film was planned to be focused on a young Erik being liberated from the Nazi camps by his best friend; Charles Xavier, an allied American soldier. However, due to the extreme poor critical reaction to Origins Wolverine despite its box office success ($373 million), coupled with the Writer's Guild of America strike, the project of Magneto was pitted on indefinite hiatus and eventually was ultimately cancelled and the most of the working script had been amalgamated into Matthew Vaughn's prequel X-Men film from 2011; X-Men: First Class.
- In X-Men Days of Future Past, Magneto's prison identification number is 0001.