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You built these weapons to destroy us. Why? Because you are afraid of our gifts, because we are different. Humanity has always feared that which is different. Well, I am here to tell you, to tell the world, you are right to fear us. We are the future, we are the ones who will inherit this earth, and anyone who stands in our way will suffer the same fate as these men you see before you. Today was meant to be a display of your power, instead I give you a glimpse of the devastation my race can unleash upon yours. Let this be a warning to the world and my mutant brothers and sisters out there, I say this: No more hiding, no more suffering, you have lived in the shadows in shame and fear for too long. Come out, join me, fight together in a brotherhood of our kind. A new tomorrow that starts today.
~ Magneto, in the past, convincing mutants around the world to join him in his revolution.
I've lived with vengeance my whole life. Ever since I was a child, I lost everyone I ever loved, so I hurt people. Yes, killed people. Killed whatever I thought would make the pain go away. It didn't, no matter how many souls I sent under. So I stopped.
~ Magneto to Jean Grey.

Magneto (real name Erik Lensherr), is one of the main protagonists from the X-Men film series. He is the main antagonist of the X-Men and X-Men: The Last Stand, an antihero in X2: X-Men United, a protagonist in X-Men: First Class, the tritagonist/central antagonist of X-Men: Days of a Future Past, an anti-hero of X-Men: Apocalypse and a supporting protagonist in Dark Phoenix.

Magneto is an extremely powerful and ruthless mutant with the ability to manipulate all forms of magnetism. Despite his different views on mutant superiority, he has close bond with fellow mutant and longtime friend Charles Xavier, who believed that there was still good in Erik despite his actions. Despite being an enemy of Charles and the X-Men, he has assisted them on numerous occasions to stop bigger threats, such as Sebastian Shaw, William Stryker, and Apocalypse.

He is portrayed by Ian McKellen in the modern-day films and by Michael Fassbender in the prequel series. McKellen is also well known for portraying Gandalf in The Hobbit & Lord of the Rings Trilogy, as Fassbender also portrayed Callum Lynch/Aguilar de Nerha in Assassin's Creed and Walter in Alien: Covenant.

Biography

X-Men: First Class (2011)

This society won't accept us. We form our own. The humans have played their hand, now we get ready to play ours. Who's with me?
~ Magneto to the X-Men and Hellfire Club after failing to kill the Americans and Soviets.

Magneto appears as his younger self and is the deuteragonist turned protagonist villain in this film. He starts out as young Erik Lensherr who is a Holocaust survivor. When he is persuaded by Dr. Klaus Schmidt to use his power of controlling metal, he refuses. After Schmidt kills his mother, Erik gets enraged and bursts into a rage thus enabling his powers.

Years later, Erik searches for Schmidt and vows to kill him in his quest for revenge. When he finds Schmidt (now calling himself Sebastian Shaw), 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).

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 McTaggert 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.

X-Men (2000)

We are the future, Charles, not them! They no longer matter!
~ Magneto to Charles.

Magneto appears as the main antagonist of this film. 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.'

X2: X-Men United (2003)

When will these people learn how to fly?
~ Magneto to Mystique, stopping the X-Jet from crashing.

Magneto returns as an anti-hero in this film.

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 'Your a god among insects.' and is not seen at the time of the flood of Alkali Lake.

X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)

Charles Xavier did more for mutants than you will ever know. My single greatest regret is that he had to die for our dream to live.
~ Magneto respecting Charles post his death.

Magneto returns again as the main antagonist of the third film.

In a flashback scene, Magneto and Prof. X recruit a young Jean Grey to join their School for the Gifted which she reluctantly accepts.

Several years later, after learning of a special cure for mutations, 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.

As Magneto sets out to destroy the source of the mutant Cure, 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. 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 and all the things that he has done in his life, he flees the Dark Phoenix's final stand and have a change of heart but, with Xavier apparently dead and with the affect and love by his friends lost Magneto remains unluckily alone.

At the climax of the film, Magneto reluctantly moves a chess piece magnetically thus getting his powers back.

The Wolverine (2013)

At the post-credit scene, Magneto 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.

X-Men: Days of Future Past

I don't know karate, but I know crazy
~ Erik Lensherr in X-Men: Days of Future Past

Erik Lensherr / Magneto, appears as a protagonist in the future (2023), but in the past (1973), he is the anti-hero turned central antagonist. He is one of the characters necessary to help change the future from the dystopia filled with Sentinels created by Dr. Boliviar Trask. He first appears as a prisoner held in the 100th floor below the Pentagon in a specially made cell. However, he gets freed with the aid of Charles Xavier, Wolverine, Beast, and Quicksilver. Magneto later tries to kill Mystique by putting a bullet into her, specifically, her ankle, to ensure the Mutant's future and survival, but fails to do so. Afterwards, a public showcase of the Sentinels at the White House is made to make sure that people will be kept safe from Mutants. However, Magneto has commandeered the Sentinels by inserting metal into their polymorph bodies and also uses a lifted up stadium to keep other humans out. Announcing Mutant supremacy on live television, Magneto is attacked by Beast and Wolverine but keeps them at bay. However, when threatening the President, Mystique disguised as Nixon shoots him. After Mystique spares Trask at Xavier's urging, the Professor allows Mystique and Magneto to leave, believing that there is hope for both of them to change for the better.

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, is unclear at the moment but it's knowed that he's not alone anymore and is completely redeemed and changed.

X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)

Whatever you think you saw in me, I buried it with my family.
~ Erik's response to Charles on joining Apocalypse.

Magneto returns as the secondary antagonist turned supporting character. He tried to live like a normal human in Poland and worked in a factory under name Henryk. There he used his powers to save his colleague from a falling heavy metal bucket. However his colleague reported him to local police. When he was about to be arrested for his terrorist action one decade ago of the policemen accidentally shot his daughter and wife. Despaired Erik killed them all and returned to the factory to kill all his colleagues. There Apocalypse appeared, killed ones Magneto wanted to kill and recruited him as a Horsemen of the Apocalypse under name "War". Magneto is then sent to the ruins of Auschwitz where he destroys the camp after remembering horrors that he had experienced as a young boy. He then appears in Cairo where he and the Horsemen assist Apocalypse in destroying civilization to remake the world in the image of Apocalypse but the X-Men come to save Charles. During the battle, Mystique arrives and tells Erik that he hasn't lost everything and thus, has a change of heart and betrays Apocalypse. After a brutal battle, Jean unleashes her powers on Apocalypse and destroyers his armor which allows Magneto to impale him and Jean to finally finish him off. He then helps rebuild the X-Mansion but leaves still being distrusting of humanity.

Dark Phoenix (2019)

You're always sorry, Charles. And there's always a speech. But nobody cares.
~ Magneto in the Dark Phoenix trailer.

Magneto would return in Dark Phoenix, appearing to return as somewhat as an antagonist who aids Jean on her dark path as the Phoenix. Before the events of the film, he decided to take Charles' words by helping other mutants and giving them asylum on an island.

Personality

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

Magneto is a man of conflicted morals. While he is indeed xenophobic and ruthless, he is in no way an evil person and could easily work as well with the X-Men as he did against them. Magneto is overly righteous, he believes that mutants and humans can never exist in peace and that they should have been wiped out which makes him genocidal. He values his fellow mutants as friends, specifically Mystique who is his partner and possible romance however this did not stop him from simply abandoning her after she was "cured". While Magneto was reluctant to willfully kill or harm mutants he would still murder Rogue and Jamie who were both children only to help his just cause.

Behind this Magneto was a deeply troubled man, a surviving member of the Holocaust and then later witnessed his mother murdered before his eyes. As a young man Magneto was motivated by a sense of revenge against his mentor Sebastian Shaw, the man who killed his mother. He brutally tortured a banker and three Germans at a bar to get information on Shaw, he was somewhat suicidal as when after he failed to kill him and Shaw was escaping on his submarine, he desperately tried to use his magnetic powers to being it back and ignored the fact that he might have drowned. However after meeting with Charles Xavier, he began to work with his team to bring down Shaw and his team, soon the two began to value another as friends and Xavier was able to give him advice on how to control his powers and he actually helped a troubled Raven (later named Mystique) when she wanted to be a human like everybody else. Eventually his desire for revenge proved to be great as when he forced a coin through Shaw's brain and then fired missiles on Russian and Americans submarines.

Powers and Abilities

Powers

  • Magnetogenesis: Magneto can generate, create and project magnetic fields from both his hands or his entire body.
  • Magnetokinesis: Magneto is capable of controlling and creating magnetic fields, this allows him to perform various and powerful techniques. In X-Men: First Class, he was able to easily manipulate metallic objects, deflecting bullets, and later on being capable of turning a massive satellite dish, lifting an entire submarine, and redirecting multiple missiles. In the original X-Men films Magneto has been shown to easily catch the X-Jet and in X-Men: The Last Stand, he moves the Golden Gate bridge. Being surrounded by, above or below large amounts of metal also enables Magneto to defy gravity. It is revealed in X-Men: First Class that prior to meeting and training with Charles Xavier, Eric used anger to utilize his abilities, and thus couldn't perform to his full potential, however, it should be noted he was able to move a massive anchor and take down an entire ship while still using his ability through anger. Once Charles Xavier helped Eric reach greater potential by finding a point between rage and serenity Magneto took his powers to new heights and was able to move much more metal at much greater distances. He can levitate and achieve limited flight, as he did when he tried to bend a gate at Auschwitz, to magnetically tether himself to Sebastian Shaw's submarine, which dragged him underwater, and send himself flying onto a Trask Industries train. In X-Men: Apocalypse, due to Apocalypse's enhancement, he is now able to control metal within the earth itself. His new abilities allow him to control Earths magnetic poles and rip the metallic particles from the earth, which made him capable of destroying whole parts of the planet. He can even create powerful magnetic force fields and barriers that nothing can penetrate.
  • Ferrokinesis: Magneto can manipulate all forms of metal, even non ferrous ones, seemingly by using his powers to make any metal magnetic. This allows him to levitate, move, push, pull, launch, crush and otherwise manipulate metallic objects, no matter the size. This allowed him to telekinetically manipulate metal or metallic objects as small as a bullet or as large as the Golden Gate Bridge. In X2: X-Men United and X-Men: Days of Future Past, he was able to deform and manipulate the hardness of both solid and liquid metals. This allowed him to make liquid iron that was infused into one of his prison guard's bloodstream by Mystique into ball shaped projectiles that could pierce and smash through plastic and flesh with ease. He was also able to cause railroad bars to break apart into strips and fuse into the deactivated Sentinels, which allowed him to control and command them. In addition he can also make himself fly or levitate towards metal or magnetic objects, as he did when he tried to bend a gate at Auschwitz, to magnetically tether himself to Sebastian Shaw's submarine, which dragged him underwater, and send himself flying onto a Trask Industries train.

Weaknesses

  • Non-Metallic Objects: If Magneto is in an area with no metal, he is almost completely helpless. However, this mostly applies to his older-self, as his younger-self was highly athletic and capable of physically fighting others.

Relationships

Family

  • Jakob Lehnsherr † - Father
  • Edie Lehnsherr † - Mother
  • Peter Maximoff - Son

Friends

Enemies

Family

  • Jakob Lehnsherr † - Father
  • Edie Lehnsherr † - Mother
  • Peter Maximoff - Son and Former Teammate
  • Magda Gurzsky † - Wife
  • Nina Gurzsky † - Daughter

Allies

Enemies

Quotes

I'm not gonna stop Shaw. I'm gonna kill him. Do you have it in you to allow that? You've known all along why I was here, Charles. But things have changed. What started as a covert mission, tomorrow mankind will know that mutants exist. Shaw, us, they won't differentiate. They'll fear us. And that fear will turn to hatred.
~ Erik to Charles.
We already are! We're the next stage of human evolution. You said it yourself?
~ Erik arguing to Charles.
Charles Xavier: Listen to me very carefully my friend. Killing Shaw will not bring you peace.
Erik Lehnsherr: Peace was never an option.
~ Charles and Erik amidst their argument on dealing with Shaw.
Everything you did, made me stronger. Made me the weapon I am today. It's the truth. I've known it all along. You are my creator.
~ Magneto to Shaw.
If you're in there, I'd like you to know that I agree with every word you said. We are the future. But unfortunately, you killed my mother.
~ Magneto to Shaw.
Take off your blinders, brothers and sisters. The real enemy is out there. I feel their guns moving in the water. Their metal, targeting us. Americans, Soviets, humans. United in their fear of the unknown. The Neanderthal is running scared, my fellow mutants! Go ahead, Charles. Tell me I'm wrong.
~ Magneto's speech to the X-Men and Hellfire Club after killing Shaw.
I've been at the mercy of men just following orders. Never again.
~ Erik to Charles before launching the missiles to the Americans and Soviets.
Us turning on each other. It's what they want. I tried to warn you, Charles. I want you by my side. We're brothers, you and I. All of us, together. Protecting each other. We want the same thing.
~ Magneto to Professor X.
I prefer... Magneto.
~ Erik to Emma Frost.
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.
I don't know karate, but I know crazy.
~ Erik to Quicksilver.
I've seen evil... and I'm looking at it now.
~ Magneto in Dark Phoenix
You didn't come here looking for answers. You came here looking for permission.
~ Magneto to Jean.
I've lived with vengeance my whole life. Ever since I was a child, I lost everyone I ever loved, so I hurt people. Yes, killed people. Killed whatever I thought would make the pain go away. It didn't, no matter how many souls I sent under. So I stopped.
~ Magneto to Jean Grey.

Trivia

  • Despite Magneto is redeemed, a good man and a protagonist in X-Men: Days of a Future Past his younger version, played by Michael Fassbender, see in the past is a antihero turned secondary yet main antagonist due to the fact that he was evil in that epoc.
  • The late Christopher Lee, David Hemblen, and Terence Stamp were considered for the role of Magneto.
    • Hemblen previously voiced Magneto on X-Men: The Animated Series.
  • Sir Ian McKellan was initially reluctant to accept the role of Magneto, but accepted it after seeing the character's costume.

See also

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