- “I've been at the mercy of men just following orders. Never again.”
Magneto (born Erik Magnus Lehnsherr) is a mutant, leader and founder of the Brotherhood of Mutants. He has the ability to manipulate create magnetic fields and control metal telekinetically. Magneto is one of the most infamous mutants, having a stand against humans due to him being a part of the Holocaust and how humans are known to hate and fear mutants. Similarly to Professor X, Magneto has a strong belief and formed a team of his own, the Brotherhood of Mutants, after he was a founding member of the X-Men with Professor X, having been good friends. Unlike Professor X, Magneto's team's belief and goal isn't to equally live with humans, but to rise above and rule them.
Erik Lehnsherr was born to a Jewish family in Germany; he states in X-Men: First Class that his parents were from Dusseldorf. In 1944, Erik is forcibly separated from his parents by Nazi SS-troops in German-occupied Poland, specifically at the Auschwitz concentration camp. Under this stress, Lehnsherr's powers began to manifest. Even with four guards pulling him away, he managed to bend open a heavy metal gate separating him from his parents before being knocked unconscious by another guard.Sebastian Shaw (under the alias Dr. Klaus Schmidt). At first Shaw treated him in a friendly fashion, offering him chocolate and asking him to simply move a Reichsmark coin. However, when Erik was unable to, Shaw murdered Erik's mother in front of him, in order to "unlock" the boy's powers through his anger; Erik's magnetism subsequently killed two SS troopers and destroyed an entire lab room in a fit of grief and rage. Pleased, Shaw then tortured and experimented on Erik for an undisclosed length of time, attempting to further expand his magnetic powers.
Following the end of World War II in 1945 and his liberation from Auschwitz, Erik attempts to find Shaw and exact vengeance, murdering other surviving Nazis connected to Shaw along the way. In 1949, Erik emigrates to America where he saw the Statue of Liberty for the first time, thinking it to be the herald of America as the land of tolerance and peace. Erik becomes disillusioned with this fictitious image of America and returns to Europe to pursue his goal of hunting down Sebastian Shaw.
In 1962, Erik travels to Switzerland, where he interrogates a Swiss banker as to the whereabouts of Sebastian Shaw. He is directed to Villa Gesell, where he finds two Nazi officers having a drink at the bar. After seeing an old photograph of Shaw with the two officers, Erik kills them and proceeds to travel to Miami to face off against Shaw.
Erik eventually tracks him down to a small yacht off the American coast. His attempt at revenge fails when he is defeated by Shaw's Hellfire Club cohorts, being no match for their mutant powers. It was at this point that he meets Charles Xavier, Raven Darkholme and Moira MacTaggert, who were present as part of a botched U.S. Coast Guard attempt to capture Shaw. Together and with CIA support, Xavier and Lehnsherr gather a team of mutant teenagers to battle the Hellfire Club, who are attempting to ignite a nuclear war between the Soviet Union and the United States as part of a plot to eradicate non-mutant life on the planet and rule over a mutant new world order.
Xavier helps the teens master their powers at his mansion, including Erik. During this time, the two become close friends. However, Erik is still filled with hatred for Shaw and fears a mutant holocaust, despite Xavier's attempts to convince him to let go of his hatred. Erik also motivates Raven to become proud of her natural appearance, believing her desire to get rid of it is wrong. During a CIA mission within the Soviet Union, Erik and Xavier capture Emma Frost of the Hellfire Club, and extract information from her pertaining to Shaw's plans.
Ultimately, the team decides to jump into action to prevent the Cuban Missile Crisis from causing World War III. The Hellfire Club attempts to stop the CIA-sanctioned mutant team but is defeated. During the encounter, Erik confronts Shaw, who attempts to bring him to his side with promises of a new, mutant world order. As Shaw has better control of his power, he is initially able to force Erik into submission, but Erik tricks him into letting his guard down and removes his telepathy-resistant helmet, allowing Charles to take control of his mind and "freeze" him. Erik then dons the helmet to prevent Charles from stopping him. Although he states that he agrees with Shaw's goals, Erik refuses to forgive him for murdering his mother. Despite Xavier's pleads for him not to, Erik kills Shaw by magnetically pushing the Reichsmark coin from Auschwitz through his brain.
When the United States and the Soviet Union strike up an impromptu alliance to destroy the mutants, Erik magnetically deflects the missiles, then turns them back towards the fleets. Charles asks him to be the better man, but accidentally says that the men on the ships are "just following orders" which reminds Erik of his experiences at the hands of the Nazis, provoking him to launch the missiles. Xavier tackles him and the two engage in a fist fight which distracts Erik long enough to prevent the missiles from killing those at sea. During a subsequent attempt by Moria MacTaggert to shoot Erik, one of the bullets he deflects strikes Xavier in the lower back, permanently crippling him. Horrified at what had transpired, Erik bids farewell to his close friend, departing with Mystique and the remaining Hellfire Club members with the vow of battling humankind in order to save mutants. He later frees the White Queen, declares himself "Magneto", and establishes his first Brotherhood of Mutants.
X-Men: Days of Future Past PrologueIn 1963, Magneto was accused of killing John F. Kennedy and was imprisoned by Trask Industries below the Pentagon's centre court. On Friday, February 4, 1964, a trial was held against Lehnsherr where President Johnson noted in a closed-door meeting with the Warren Commission that their prime suspect - Lehnsherr - was in custody. His private trial began the next week. Recently declassified court records indicate that Lehnsherr could not refute being at Dealey Plaza's grassy knoll but he insisted that he did not assassinate the President. As the court ordered him to prove his mutant abilities, Lehnsherr bent a metal crowbar. It took the court five minutes to settle down. Lehnsherr told the court that he did know who killed the President and that he knows who she is and she is hiding in plain sight.
The court found Lehnsherr guilty of first-degree murder and conspiring to assassinate Kennedy. He was sentenced to two consecutive life sentences in a federal correctional facility with no possibility of parole. Throughout the 60's Lehnsherr had destroyed three holding cells until 1971 when Trask Industries built an escape proof cell that kept him imprisoned.
Unknown to the authorities, Erik had actually been trying to save Kennedy from the real assassin, as Kennedy was, in fact, secretly a mutant. Erik had been trying to deflect the bullet away, but when the police seized him they broke his concentration, causing the shot to strike Kennedy and kill him. Erik later explained this to Charles, who apologized for doubting him.
Erik has lived a troubled life, having felt mankind's cruelty not only as a mutant but also as a Jew. Erik was forced to watch as his people suffered under the horrors inflicted by the Nazis. He is filled with hatred and anger mainly against Sebastian Shaw, who murdered his mother before his very eyes and forced Erik to experience horrendous tortures.
Magneto is absolutely devoted to the cause of protecting mutant kind, refusing to let mutants suffer a similar holocaust. Erik will protect his species at any cost, no matter how many human lives must be sacrificed. His devotion to the cause and the fact that what he says about mankind is often true, many mutants have joined him over the years. He will even sacrifice his fellow mutants, if it will serve the cause, such as the pawns of the Brotherhood of Mutants and Mystique, once he found out about the Sentinels.
Magneto is completely accepting of any and all mutants, regardless of their abilities who they are, what they have done, and their past with him (with the exception of Sebastian Shaw, who started Erik on his dark path by murdering Erik's mother in front of him and then experimenting on him). Erik loves the mutant kind and will never turn away a mutant who wishes to fight for mutant freedom alongside him. In spite of this, Magneto does not seem to truly hate humanity on a fundamental level; he has had relationships with at least two human women, Ms. Maximoff (which, unknown to him, led to the birth of his son Quicksilver) and his wife, Magda, whom he loved dearly. Rather, Magneto hates and fears what humanity can (and in the original timeline, does) do to mutant kind, having survived the holocaust, and he does not wish to see that happen again to his fellow mutants. He is fully aware how cruel humans can be and sees that mutants can be paralleled to the Jewish population under Nazi rule. However, he does view mutants and humans as two very distinct species and does not believe that coexistence is possible. He has, however, attempted this as of the revised timeline, which leads to his family being killed, which may have further cemented this belief. He believed Charles is naive and foolish for believing humanity will not always oppress and segregate mutants. It can be argued that Magneto's hatred towards humans can be all in defense of mutant kind.
Erik excels at violence and is a skilled killer; while he was more driven by pain and rage in his younger years, in the latter years (before his reconciliation with Charles in both timelines) he became more cold and calculating. He has killed dozens, possibly hundreds of men over the years. Hunting down Nazis and mutant haters had been a major part of his life. Erik isn't shy of violence, as he put Sebastian Shaw through the excruciating pain of drilling a coin through his brain and he once ripped the iron particles out of a man's blood, smiling sadistically while doing so and then taunting the corpse. Lehnsherr has even go as far as to rebuild Cerebro into Dark Cerebro, so it would kill every human on the planet, by extreme mental torture.
Despite his violent nature, Erik is still a very sophisticated man, highly intelligent and well-read on many topics. Hence, Erik always displays a clean and proper demeanor and could be very suave, charming, and affable when he was required to be. He was always well dressed and had a love of fine wines, scotch, and classical music.
In the revised timeline, when young Erik realizes his helmet was removed after regaining consciousness, he chose to accept defeat rather than force Charles an Ultimatum: let him kill the President and his Cabinet or let the government capture and execute him, and simply retreated, knowing Charles wouldn't be able to let his old friend be captured if he didn't push his luck any further.
As seen 10 years later, Erik very much wanted a normal life after becoming a fugitive and subsequently moved to Poland to start a family. He should himself to be more compassionate towards humans – at least those whom he was close to – saving a man at the factory he worked at, though he would soon regret it. However, after Erik loses his beloved family a second time, he is again filled with incredible rage towards humanity, something Apocalypse successfully exploits, making it easy for the ancient mutant to sway Erik to his side, making him a Horseman and his lieutenant. His anger made him capable of destroying all civilization, as he already caused mass casualties across the world before Raven intervened and convinced him to fight for the people who still care for him instead of for Apocalypse. While Charles failed to convince him of having good inside him, it was Raven's point of fighting for his ally's that made him see the error of his ways and turn on Apocalypse. As a result, Erik and Charles are finally able to reaffirm their friendship, and this time part on friendly terms, with Erik's name being cleared, as the world bore witness to him greatly contributing to the defeat of Apocalypse in the final battle. While acknowledging that Charles had been right about him and Raven, Erik observed that the rest of the world continued to mistrust mutants; he also expressed great satisfaction upon seeing that Charles could finally condone violence if it meant protecting his students and other innocents, and let go of what he perceived as naivety and being overly trusting of people.
Magneto seems to be fairly agnostic in throughout his pursuit of mutant supremacy, though his Jewish upbringing has a strong influence on him. Professor X reveals to him that his memories of Chanukah with his family are his happiest moments and is his mind is at a spiritual like state vastly increasing his precision and potential when applying this memory. After losing Magda and Nina, Magneto is shown screaming at the sky directly referring to Yahweh. He is the only mutant (except for Nightcrawler, who is a devout Catholic) to show a strong connection to religion.
Powers, Abilities, and Weaknesses
- Helmet- Magneto's helmet protects him from psychic attacks, as it is able to completely negate the telepathic abilities. However, this also prevents him from making telepathic communication. After his first helmet was lost (in the revised timeline), Magneto received a new identical one as a gift from Apocalypse.
- Costume- When going into the field, Magneto always dons a uniform that is either comprised of garb fit for battle or elegant attire that displays his perceived idea of being "mutant royalty". Over the years, his costume has taken many forms but nevertheless, has always included gloves, boots, and a cloak. His newest costume (in the revised timeline) was gifted to Magneto by Apocalypse.
- In the Marvel comics continuity, Magneto's birth name is Max Eisenhardt. At the time of the first movie's development, the Erik Lehnsherr name was being used to give the character a Gypsy heritage, to avoid "demonizing" Jewish Holocaust survivor community. Marvel editors later changed their minds and claimed the character used the name merely as a cover identity. The name has yet to appear in an X-Men film.
- The number tattooed on Magneto's arm from the Nazi concentration camp is 214782. The tattoo was originally seen in Uncanny X-Men #150, written by Chris Claremont and drawn by Dave Cockrum in 1981. After the release of the Bryan Singer films, which put greater emphasis on Magneto's heritage and motivation stemming his experiences at the camps, Claremont decided to retcon the number in 2004. It was changed to 24005, a more historically accurate number that would have been used on the first group of Jews to be tattooed at Auschwitz. 24005 made its debut in Excalibur #2. Interestingly, other new elements from comics introduced after the Singer films, such as Wolverine's fully revealed origin and the character of Azazel, were introduced into the movies almost immediately.
- In the comics, Xavier and Magneto chose different paths after a fight with Wolfgang Von Strucker, in which Xavier prevents Magneto from killing Strucker. In the movie, Strucker is replaced by Sebastian Shaw as Wolfgang Von Strucker's film rights belong to Marvel Studios.
- The introductory flashback scene of X-Men: The Last Stand with a young Jean Grey, is challenged by the events of the prequel X-Men: First Class, where Xavier and Magneto have only one adventure together in the 60's as young adults before their paths diverge immediately after it. The flashback scene seemed to suggest that the two were colleagues well into the 80's, discovering and recruiting mutants; this is hard to fit in any of the two timelines, and can be explained only by assuming that the two men had reconciled for the short time between, before becoming enemies again.
- The scene in X-Men: The Last Stand in which Magneto lifts the Goldengate Bridge and uses it as a vessel for his Brotherhood is taken directly from the comics.
- Magneto was supposed to have a beard in X-Men: The Last Stand but this idea was quickly dismissed. However, on the DVD, there is a deleted scene where Pyro tells Magneto about the cure announcement. There are two versions of this scene. One is the "bearded" version and one is the shaven version.
- Following the announcement of X-Men Origins: Wolverine beginning production, a solo film with Magneto as its central character was proposed; titled X-Men Origins: Magneto, and would have focused on a young Erik being liberated from a Nazi concentration camp by an Allied soldier named Charles Xavier. However due to the poor reviews for Origins: Wolverine, coupled with the Writer's Guild of America strike, the project was put on indefinite hiatus, until most of the working script was amalgamated into Matthew Vaughn's 2011 prequel to the main series films, titled X-Men: First Class.
- In the extended 'Rogue Cut' of X-Men: Days of Future Past, after Kitty was heavily wounded by Wolverine, Bobby offers Professor to release Rogue from X-Mansion (which was appropriated by Trask Industries as a research facility thirteen years ago). As Rogue can absorb other mutants' power, she can replace Kitty. Professor says he can't track Rogue using his power and Bobby realizes that she is kept in Cerebro's room. Professor, Magneto and Iceman go to the X-Mansion; Charles stays in the X-Jet and tells Bobby and Erik the way to Cerebro using his telepathic abilities. They find and rescue Rogue but on their way back they are attacked by a group of Sentinels. Bobby sacrifices himself letting Magneto and Rogue exit the X-Mansion and get to Professor X. The X-Jet is attacked by one Sentinel but Charles manages to drop it away and fly to China with the X-Men. Rogue absorbs Kitty's powers and replaces her in holding Wolverine in past.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 X-Men
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 X-Men: First Class
- ↑ X-Men: The Last Stand
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 X-Men: Days of Future Past
- ↑ Cite error: Invalid
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- ↑ X2: X-Men United