X-Men Origins: Magneto
After X-Men 3: The Last Stand made its run, talk about the future of the franchise was focused on going backwards in time with prequels of the more popular characters introduced in the trilogy: Wolverine and Magneto.
At the time, we knew the following about the plot for the film:
“The storyline will heavily involve Professor X, the wheelchair-using X-Men leader. That character was a soldier in the allied force that liberated the concentration camps. The professor meets Magneto after the war and while they bond over the realization that they are alike in their special powers, their differences soon turn them into enemies.”
Although a de-aging special effect was used in X3 and to make Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen appear many years younger, there would need to be a re-cast of Charles Xavier and Eric Lensherr for a movie based heavily when they were younger.
Fast forward to present and we see that McKellen is doubtful of him playing Magneto in the prequel as well and hasn’t been kept in the loop in terms of the script. In an interview with Empire several weeks back, he discussed the situation.
“There’s meant to be a ‘Magneto’ script floating around… [But] I’ve not read it, so I suspect it wouldn’t involve me… I think it would be about the younger Magneto, and the most I could hope for would be to top and tail that. They can’t have someone whose face is as lined as mine any longer!”
With McKellen and Stewart not involved and this solo film standing alone from the X-Men movies, this project seems harder to sell to mainstream movie audiences in my mind, at least, compared to the other characters we’ve heard rumblings about. In Empire’s interview with Lauren Shuler Donner, the producer also touched on this project briefly but hinted at it being very low priority for the studio.
“David Goyer has written a brilliant script. It starts in the concentration camps and has Magneto coming out of there. But you know, I’m not sure that film is going to be made. The studio has a wealth of potential stories, and they have to stand back and decide which ones to make. And Magneto, I think, is at the back of the queue. Maybe it’ll get made in five years – who knows? I can tell you that Ian McKellen won’t be playing the character the whole way through. We used Lola technology in X-Men 3 to de-age Ian and Patrick for one scene, but it’s very expensive. To do that for a two-hour movie would be prohibitive financially. And to find a younger actor to fill Ian’s shoes, that’s pretty daunting. It’s not easy.”
I’m sorry for the Magneto fans out there but I think the idea of a movie featuring a younger Magneto and Prof. X has been replaced by X-Men: First Class where they can again play with a large cast of characters to market and merchandise. If my predictions on that come true, I think it’s possible we see a younger Magneto working alongside Patrick Stewart’s Xavier in that movie to build and start the school for mutants.