As shared universe storytelling has reshaped the Hollywood production landscape, audience expectations are higher than ever. Comic book movie franchises cannot rely entirely on solo-stories or individual characters - and Batman V Superman is set to galvanize the DC movie universe into action, while Captain America 3 is set to drastically shake up the established MCU. The game has changed, inspiring Sony to make a deal with Marvel to share use of Spider-Man, and with the failure of the Fantastic Four movie reboot, Fox has now focused its comic book movie slate entirely on X-Men universe characters. Deadpool is set to hit theaters in less than a month (from the time of this writing) but, while there's plenty of praise already for the Merc with a Mouth's solo movie, X-Men: Apocalypse is one of the studio's biggest 2016 releases.
Screen Rant was on set for Apocalypse and we've been releasing a steady stream of new details from the highly-anticipated follow-up to Days of Future Past. While there are several iconic characters joining the fight, returning heroes and villains are still set to play significant parts in the film - especially Michael Fassbender's Magneto. But why would a man that has seen the horror of tyranny, and fought for his people's survival ever since, agree to serve a tyrant like Apocalypse?
In our on-set conversation with Fassbender, the actor explains that Magneto is at a low point - but, more than anything else, after several failed attempts to bring judgment to close-minded mortals, Magneto sees Apocalypse as the being that can actually finish what was started in X-Men: First Class.
Check out Fassbender's full comments below:
Screen Rant: We’re used to seeing Magneto as the man who will not be ruled, so it’s a little odd to see him serving a new master.
Fassbender: Well I think he’s serving his family, you know. He does what he does so he can provide shelter and security for his family. In a way you’re right, he’s serving a new master, and I think from before we know obviously that he loses his parents in a concentration camp, but there was always that story of Magda that I thought was pretty interesting. That sort of confounds his mistrust in human beings, so that was a sort of big influence on this story, where we find him.
But yeah, this was another thing that I was discovering through talking to Oscar and talking to Simon Kinberg, and this idea of Apocalypse sort of being like a god, the original mutant. Talking to Oscar about that I was thinking, at that moment where things are being taken away from him again in Poland it’s almost like he’s looking for an answer, or he’s challenging God, it’s like, “What do you want from me? I’ve tried everything. I’ve tried to lead a good life. I’ve tried to do it correctly, whatever that is, and now you do this to me so what do you want?” It’s sort of like a challenge to God, if he’s out there, and then Oscar’s character arrives. So in a way, tied in with that I thought it was a nice link. He arrives and it’s like, “Okay well something much more powerful than me has arrived,” in a way kind of like a god; he’s the original mutant. And I think, like you were saying before Magneto doesn’t really follow anyone, so it was kind of a hard thing like, well how does he just become one of Apocalypse’s Horsemen, and is he cool with that? But he appreciates that this guy is going to do what he couldn’t do. He’s got just so much more power than him, he’s such an immense force. In a way, it’s like that classic thing of joining any cult or radical group, he’s caught him at a very low, vulnerable point where he doesn’t really care anymore whether he dies or not or what happens, so he’s like, “Yeah I’ll join this guy. I’ll go on this path of judgment.” Apocalypse is sort of bringing judgment to the Earth.
Again we know him as somebody that doesn’t like to form relationships that much, in the previous ones that I’ve done certainly. So yeah, it’s just like, “This could work.” He hasn’t seen a power like anything like Apocalypse, and the more the better in terms of if you look back to when he was trying to form his own armies, he realizes he can’t do it alone. That was the thing about Days of Future Past, he was kind of a singular, going out there on his own. But this is more about we need numbers to do damage.
From time to time Magneto has been portrayed as a relatively flat evildoer but the film series has played heavily on the layered dynamic behind a man whose family was taken from him in the holocaust - only to find out that he's one of the most powerful beings on the planet. Unwilling to see his people oppressed again, Magneto's moral compass is ever-shifting - dependent on what threat mutantkind might face. In the film series, Magneto has been singularly-focused: protecting his fellow mutants at any cost. For that reason, the character has stood by Charles Xavier's side as often as he was standing in opposition - taking on empathetic but still antagonistic roles in both X-Men: First Class and Days of Future Past.
As a result, it shouldn't come as a surprise that Lehnsherr is, once again, set to be torn between allegiances - as one of Apocalypse's horsemen. When it was first announced that Magneto would side with Apocalypse, some fans were worried that Lehnsherr could be a subservient tool but Fassbender's comments suggest that the character is actually set for another quality narrative arc. The idea that Magneto has tried everything in his power to protect mutants against prejudice and persecution, but ultimately removed himself from the picture to live a normal life, is a smart development - especially since it prepares the character for stark juxtaposition with Apocalypse, along with the likelihood for intriguing drama between the two heavy-hitting mutants.
After all, even though Magneto might be at a low-point, and susceptible to cult-like promises of redemption, it's hard to believe that Lehnsherr will be able to truly sit with an indiscriminate evil like Apocalypse.
Ultimately, the X-Men series, especially the recent prequel film series, has been about the opposing but often aligned philosophies of Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr. For that reason, it'll be interesting to see if Professor X can get through to his friend, in spite of Apocalypse's power, and where exactly Magneto will be standing in the final battle.
For more quotes and reveals from our X-Men: Apocalypse set visit, check out the links below:
- X-Men: Apocalypse’s Quicksilver Scene May Top Future Past's
- X-Men: Apocalypse – Storm’s New African Origin Details
- Bryan Singer Teases X-Men: Apocalypse’s Alien Connections & Future
- How The X-Men Franchise Connects and can Reboot Infinitely
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.