X-Men Apocalypse: Why Has Magneto Left His Powers Behind?

Michael Fassbender explains why the once powerful Master of Magnetism has stopped using his mutant abilities in X-Men: Apocalypse.

Michael Fassbender Magneto X-Men Days of Future Past

Following the history-altering events of X-Men: Days of Future Past, it may have seemed to audiences like the Mutant superheroes had faced their greatest challenge ever. But in X-Men: Apocalypse, the still-young team is set to battle an ancient enemy so powerful that some consider him a (literal) god, and who may be too much for even the full force of their combined powers to defeat.

But one fan-favorite character's powers may not be available to him at all. Screen Rant caught up with Magneto himself, actor Michael Fassbender, during a recent set visit, where he revealed The Master of Magnetism isn't keen of using his abilities at all -- at least, not at first.

The time-travel shenanigans of Days of Future Past may have led to a (seemingly) brighter future for the familiar X-Men of the present, with Cyclops, Jean Grey and Professor Xavier all restored to life, but it left the younger versions of the characters in precarious and uncertain places. And according to Fassbender, Magneto is no different, as he finds himself in an unexpected place and with his previous relationships having been altered.

Michael Fassbender Magneto X-Men Days of Future Past

Screen Rant: Can you tell us where this film finds you at the outset? 

MICHAEL FASSBENDER: I start off in Poland. Erik is basically living a normal life, has a family, has fallen in love, and has basically disappeared for the last eight years or so. He doesn’t use his powers, has left that life behind and lives a sort of simple life… I think he’s serving his family, you know. He does what he does so he can provide shelter and security for his family.

SR: What’s Erik’s relationship with Charles and Raven and Beast in this film, because Simon said it’s kind of a conclusion of your characters’ arcs from First Class?

FASSBENDER:Yeah we’re kind of just pen pals in this (laughter). So it’s like, "Eh I’m with this guy, he calls himself Apocalypto. It’s kinda weird but I’m going with it." (laughs) I had the great fortune in First Class to have that arc where you saw how Erik sort of becomes Magneto, so in Days of Future Past it was nice for Charles to have that arrival to Professor X. And then in the middle of that there was Mystique’s character that was, "Is she gonna go to the dark side or is she gonna stay to the light?" There was this sort of battle for her conscience. So for this one, for me it was nice to see after the White House debacle—I kind of left with my tail between my legs—what would happen, because he’s left on his own.

You get the idea after the last one that there’s a relationship that’s going to sort of develop and form again between Raven and Charles and Hank, whereas Magneto is off on his own. So it was nice, in this one, to see what happens when there’s nothing left for him. Where does he go? To start in this place and to really take him out of everything we’ve see him doing before—he’s working in a factory where he could use his powers but he’s doing things manually, almost like a penance thing. I just always liked that idea, when Simon and I were originally talking about this, that physically he’s sort of toiling and laboring, and in a way it’s a form of penance. But, you know, things catch up to him. We know that history catches up with people, and that’s kind of a cool thing that we see in this as well.

Michael Fassbender X-Men Apocalypse

Inspired partially by the classic 1986 Marvel Comics crossover event Fall of The Mutants, X-Men: Apocalypse brings a 1980s incarnation of the characters into a conflict with Oscar Isaacs as Apocalypse, an immortal Mutant whose powers are so vast he's said to have inspired legends of gods in ancient humanity. In that story, Apocalypse abducted and transformed members of the Mutant team X-Factor into servants called "The Four Horsemen" -- most notably leaving Angel near-permanently altered into the metal-winged "Archangel."

Fall of The Mutants helped establish Apocalypse as one of the most prominent villains in Marvel's X-Men family, touching off a decade of stories that killed many beloved characters, revived others and radically transformed many more, culminating in the massive Age of Apocalypse crossover in 1995. This period saw the X-Men reach their greatest sales figures and most prominent visibility in the popular culture (prior to the movies), but is today often cited as the beginning of an excess of characters and an over reliance on crossovers that eventually led to the line stumbling under its own weight. It is not known how many of those events will now come into play for the movie version, regarding Magneto or anyone else.

For more quotes and reveals from our X-Men: Apocalypse set visit, check out the links below:

Deadpool opens in theaters February 12, 2016; X-Men: Apocalypse on May 27, 2016; Gambit sometime in 2017; Wolverine 3 on March 3, 2017; and an unannounced X-Men film on July 13, 2018. The New Mutants is also in development.

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