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"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[src]

Erik Lehnsherr, also known as Magneto is a mutant with the ability to manipulate magnetic fields to his will and control metallic objects. He was a founding member of the X-Men, but left the group to form the Brotherhood of Mutants, which became a rival organization to the X-Men.

Magneto firmly believed that mutants should fight back against their human oppressors by any means necessary, an ideal that conflicted with the goals of his longtime close friend Charles Xavier, who sought a more pacifist approach to mutant prosperity. As such, Magneto was often an adversary to the X-Men, but would team up with them when the situation called for it.


X-Men Prologue

"I've been at the mercy of men just following orders. Never again."

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.

X-Men: First Class

Erik and his family at the Auschwitz concentration camp.

"Peace was never an option."

While at Auschwitz, he first encounters a mutant Nazi collaborator named 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 counted to three and then shot and killed his 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.

Erik helping the teens master their powers.

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, but doesn't forgive him for murdering his mother or even the other innocent lives. Despite Xavier's pleads for him not to (because if he stays alive he can still cause more mayhem and destruction), Erik kills Shaw by magnetically pushing the Reichsmark coin from Auschwitz through his brain.

Erik becomes Magneto.

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 Prologue

Erik Lehnsherr's mugshot.

In 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.

Original Timeline

X-Men: Days of Future Past

In 1973, Magneto remained locked up in the special prison constructed for him by Trask Industries, held deep beneath the Pentagon's central courtyard, accused of the murder of John F. Kennedy. Whilst Magneto was imprisoned, his acolyte Mystique traveled to Paris and murdered Bolivar Trask, the creator of the Sentinels, who was then turned into a martyr for the anti-mutant movement. According to older Magneto, Mystique soon made contact with Erik again, who set her on the dark path.

X-Men: The Last Stand Prologue

By 1986, Magneto was somehow able to secure his release from prison (perhaps by proving that he did not, in fact, kill JFK), and he and Xavier arrive at the Greys' home, where they meet a young Jean Grey. The powers of the little girl are beyond imagination and, while Lehnsherr wants to use them, Xavier fears them and decides to create a series of psychic barriers to restrain them. During her sessions with Professor X, Jean developed a dual personality - one being her usual self who can control her power and the other being her powerful and uninhibited side which called itself "the Phoenix" - which fully emerges 20 years later when she loses control of her powers.


Magneto confronts Wolverine in the subway train.

"Mankind has always feared what it doesn't understand."

Years later, Magneto and Mystique are in charge of the Brotherhood of Mutants and, using a high-tech machine, attempt to mutate the world's leaders, unaware that it would cause humans to lose their molecular structure (as seen in Senator Kelly). Magneto is aware however that his use of the machine is potentially lethal to the user, therefore, his need for a substitute. Magneto sends Mystique to lure Rogue into capture in order to use her for his machine. Mystique shape-shifts in Iceman and convinces her to leave. Rogue does so, which eventually leads to her capture by the Brotherhood.

When warned of the dangers of the machine by Jean Grey and Storm, Magneto refuses to believe them and proceeds to use the machine. However, it is destroyed by Wolverine and Cyclops before it could affect the humans on Ellis Island. Following this, Magneto is captured by the government and is locked up in a plastic prison.

X2: X-Men United

Magneto in his plastic prison.

"You are a god among insects. Never let anyone tell you different."
―Magneto to Pyro[src]

Many months passed, Magneto is kept in his plastic prison with his own security guard, Mitchell Laurio. Colonel William Stryker, while on a visit, brainwashes Magneto, forcing him to divulge information about Cerebro and the X-Mansion. Xavier pays him a visit with regards to the attack on the President, but Magneto has no answer for him. The two are incapacitated by gas, and Charles is taken by Stryker. Later on, Magneto is able to escape from prison using iron particles extracted from Laurio's bloodstream, which had been previously injected by Mystique. He proceeds to kill the other guards before finally escaping. 

After saving the X-Men from crashing the X-Jet, he and Mystique form a temporary alliance with them in order to stop Stryker from killing all of the world's mutants, with Stryker using his own version of Cerebro at Alkali Lake to accomplish the task. It is here that Magneto encounters Pyro and intrigues the boy with his advice. Wolverine intends to enter the base first, but Erik points out that he cannot activate the spillway mechanism, and instead has Mystique enter the base. In order to use his version of Cerebro, Stryker uses his son Jason to manipulate Xavier (now Stryker's hostage) to kill all of the world's mutants.

Magneto in the Cerebro chamber at Alkali Lake.

Magneto and the others infiltrate the underground base after Mystique disables the security. Magneto and Mystique then arrive at the Cerebro chamber, where the former opens the doors and halts Xavier's mental attack. Magneto thus saves the mutant race, but he is not content. He levitates and begins to rearrange the machine. With Cerebro reversed, Magneto has Xavier, through Mastermind, trying to kill all of the humans. He gives a short farewell to Charles and proceeds to seal the chamber once more.

Xavier soon begins to attack all of the humans, incapacitating Stryker. Magneto comes across Stryker while the latter is suffering from Xavier's mental attack. Magneto binds Stryker to a rock, where he is presumably killed by the flood from the dam. He then leaves Alkali Lake in a helicopter, shortly after Pyro joins him. The X-Men intervene in time and prevent Magneto's re-programming from being fully carried out.

X-Men: The Last Stand

"I have been marked once, my dear, and let me assure you, no needle shall ever touch my skin again."
―Magneto to Callisto[src]

In 2006, after leaving Alkali Lake, Magneto attempts to expand the Brotherhood of Mutants in order to combat the new mutant "cure" produced by Worthington Labs. He attends a mutant meeting with Pyro, convincing many of the mutants present to join him. One mutant named Callisto is skeptical of him, but Magneto is impressed by her talent, and he asks to her to locate Mystique.

Magneto subsequently intercepts the convoy and makes short work of the armored vehicles. He frees Mystique and learns from her that the source of the cure is a mutant. Magneto frees other imprisoned mutants, including Juggernaut. Mystique then protects Magneto from a dart containing the cure. A dismayed Magneto finds that Mystique has been stripped of her powers, and he sadly leaves her, saying "You're not one of us anymore".

Callisto later informs Magneto of a powerful source of energy originating from a mutant. He immediately deduces it to be Jean Grey, and they set off to find her. At Jean's house, he encounters Professor X, and the two vie for Jean's loyalty. The unstable Phoenix seems to agree with Magneto's claims about Charles wanting to control her, and she lashes out with her powers. Magneto watches helplessly as Charles is lifted out of his chair and vaporized. Magneto slowly approaches Jean and convinces her to come with him. When Xavier dies at the hands of Phoenix, he shows genuine grief over his death, even severely reprimanding Pyro when the latter states that he would have killed Xavier himself had Magneto asked it of him.

Magneto in the forest confronting Wolverine.

In the forest, he muses on Jean's potential. While he levitates a gun for her to demonstrate her powers, she nearly "cures" him when she aims the darts at him. Magneto reprimands her, and Jean demands to know why he wants her. Magneto replies that he wants her to be free and that they must fight for freedom. Despite this, even Callisto warns him that Jean's powers are completely unstable, although he insists that they are safe from her wrath, as they are not attempting to control her like Charles did.

While making a speech to his brethren of mutants, Wolverine infiltrates his base and attempts to talk to Jean. But before he can speak, he is hurled against a tree by Magneto, and despite Wolverine's warnings about Jean, Magneto replies that he saw what happened to Charles. Magneto also reminds Wolverine that he cannot feasibly hold Jean against her own will. Wolverine demands Jean back, but Magneto sends him flying through the forest, and he is knocked unconscious when he hits a tree.

After learning that the cure is now being utilized as an offensive weapon, he and the Brotherhood decide to attack the Worthington facility on Alcatraz Island, where the cure is being manufactured using DNA from a young mutant known as Leech. Magneto's objective is to kill Leech so that the cure will not be reproduced. Magneto and his army arrive at the Golden Gate Bridge, where he uses his powers to rip the entire bridge free and transport it over to the island. Once there, Magneto dispatches all of his mutants to deal with the humans. The humans are quickly overwhelmed, until the arrival of the X-Men. The X-Men, working with the armed forces stationed on Alcatraz, defend the facility from the Brotherhood. Magneto orders Juggernaut to enter the lab and kill Leech.

Magneto after being cured.

Eventually, Magneto enters the battle himself. He begins to hurl abandoned vehicles from the Golden Gate Bridge, set alight by Pyro, using them as deadly projectiles. The X-Men are forced to take cover until Iceman halts one of the flaming vehicles. Magneto then sends Pyro to deal with him. During the battle, Wolverine and Beast work together to stop Magneto. Wolverine charges at Magneto, who pins him to the ground. But Beast approaches from behind and injects Magneto with the "cure", stripping him of his powers. Magneto is demoralized at the loss of his powers and becoming a human. He then warns Jean that this is what humans want for all mutants. He then withdraws from Alcatraz with the other mutants and humans when Phoenix goes on a rampage, unleashing her powers.

Some time after the attack, Magneto, now sad and deprived of his immense powers, is seen sitting in a San Francisco park, in front of a metal chess game, it is implied he used to play chess with Charles, and now he is alone, and visibly saddened by the loss of his friend. He extends his hand toward a metal chess piece and is able to move it a tiny bit, suggesting that the cure may not be permanent and/or may not have rendered him completely powerless. At some point, his powers would later manifest to their full strength once more.

The Wolverine

Magneto confronts Logan at an airport and has fully regained his immense mutant powers. He restrains Logan and solicits his help against dark forces seeking to destroy mutant-kind. When Logan asks Magneto why he should trust him, Charles Xavier arrives to assure him.

X-Men: Days of Future Past

Magneto in the dystopian future.

"All those years wasted fighting each other, Charles. To have a precious few of them back."
―Magneto to Professor X[src]

Magneto fights alongside Charles Xavier and the rest of the mutants in the dystopian future. Erik and Charles have apparently discussed the thought of sending someone further back into the past, in order to alter the timeline. However, Xavier learns from Kitty Pryde that the mind can only be stretched so far before it snaps. Logan, however, volunteers in his place, as his mind can heal faster. Magneto is more uncertain with this than sending Charles back. When the decision is made to send Logan back in time, Magneto states that Wolverine must find his (Erik's) younger self too, much to Logan's discomfort. Curiously, Magneto does not reveal explicitly where he is being held in the past.

When Wolverine goes back in time with the help of Shadowcat, he helps free a young Erik from a zero-metal facility underneath the Pentagon alongside his possible son, Quicksilver. It is stated that Erik attempted to save John F. Kennedy from the bullet by curving it but he was stopped before he could reroute it because he was "one of them". Wolverine and young Magneto acknowledge that they are future enemies, but despite this Wolverine notes that they are somewhat similar, saying "You're a survivor".

A younger Magneto attempts to kill Mystique due to her actions ultimately creating the apocalyptic future in which the older versions of Magneto and Charles live. He is, however, thwarted in his attempt. During this incident, Wolverine's encounter with William Stryker causes his future body to violently lashes out, injuring Shadowcat, and older Magneto is forced to hold him down with his powers to prevent further injury to her.

Much later in the dystopian future, older Magneto moves to defend their hideout from the approaching Sentinels. Hovering into the air, Magneto lifts the X-Jet and propels it towards the Sentinel carriers, using his powers to activate a power core within the jet. Storm then shoots the jet with lightning. The resulting detonation destroys most of the attacking Sentinels, but it sends out debris in all directions. While Magneto is able to halt all of the metal fragments in mid-air, he is punctured by a stray piece of Sentinel. The surviving Sentinels then attack the group, and one by one begin to annihilate the mutants. Magneto uses his last ounce of strength to gather the metal fragments and barricades the monastery entrance with metal. Blink then opens a portal into the building, allowing Magneto to retreat into the sanctuary (In the Rogue Cut Magneto is taken by Kitty through the wall). The others are shocked to see him wounded, and Erik apologizes to Charles for all the useless years they spent fighting, Charles forgives him and holds his hand. He is last seen as the Sentinels break into the monastery and watches as they advance on Charles. But before Erik can be killed, the future is erased from existence.

Revised Timeline

X-Men: Days of Future Past

Quicksilver, helps his father, Magneto to get out of the Pentagon prison facility.

"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."

With Wolverine being sent back to alter the timeline, a different path unfolded for the master of magnetism. In 1973, while Erik was resting in his prison underneath the Pentagon, he received a visit from Quicksilver, who gave him a subtle warning to "mind the glass". Confused, Erik watched as Quicksilver shattered the glass with his palms, showering him with shards. Quicksilver then sped Erik past the guards and into the elevator, an act which gave Erik slight nausea. While they conversed, Quicksilver mentioned that his mother once knew someone who could control metal. Erik was surprised to learn that Charles had come to free him, but he soon received a punch in the jaw. Erik did not take the bait as he bore it, instead sarcastically saying it was good to see him and noted on him walking.

He expressed dry amusement and surprise when Charles demanded he gave his word that he would help as he had no helmet and can be controlled before realizing when they were ambushed by guards that his friend had lost his powers. Erik nearly used his powers to kill them, but Quicksilver dispatched the guards without any casualties. Once they safely left the Pentagon, the group boarded a plane. Erik also met Wolverine, who informed him that he had been sent by his (Erik's) and Charles' older selves from the future. Erik was surprised but was more willing to believe the story. During the flight, Erik and Charles argued on how they abandoned each other after the Cuban Missile Crisis.

Erik was grossly unamused by the fact that Charles had sacrificed his powers to be able to walk, although he appeared to show some guilt when Charles bitterly said he had to so he could sleep, and when Charles blamed Erik for taking Raven away, Erik responded coldly by saying he should have fought harder for those closest to him and soon escalated to blaming Charles for the deaths of Azazel, Angel, Emma Frost and Banshee, his anger nearly bringing down the plane until he eventually calmed down. Wolverine remarked that Erik had always been unpleasant, from which Erik deduced that they were enemies in the future. Nevertheless, Wolverine notes that he and Erik are somewhat similar; they are survivors. Erik soon learned of the apocalyptic future that would befall them if Mystique kills Trask. Erik and Charles later sort out their differences over chess.

Magneto attempting to kill Mystique and betrays the others.

When they arrived in France, Erik, Charles, Beast and Wolverine infiltrated the building where the conference was being held. They successfully interrupted Mystique's assassination of Trask, and Erik incapacitated a young William Stryker. Despite this, Erik felt that it was only necessary to permanently secure their future by killing Mystique, thwarting the development of the Sentinels. Erik called a gun to his hand and prepared to shoot her. With Charles unable to stop him, Mystique attempted to flee through a window. Hank tackled him, but Erik magnetically fired the gun and guided the bullet into Mystique's leg as she jumped.

Both Charles and Hank were physically beaten by Erik, while Wolverine suffered a sudden bout of trauma at the sight of Stryker. Mystique meanwhile was injured before a horrified crowd of onlookers. Erik chased her out of the window, hovering down before the crowd and advanced on Mystique once more, dragging her back to him. Mystique begged for mercy, but her pleas fell on deaf ears. Erik ended up in a fight with Beast before he could kill her, causing cars and fences to react violently in the surge of power from Erik. The two landed in a nearby fountain, where Beast attempted to drown Erik, but Erik ultimately trapped Beast within the fountain's metal ornaments. Mystique got away and so did Erik. The entire scene horrified the public as well as President Nixon, therefore failing to change the future in the process.

Magneto explains to Mystique why he tried to kill her.

While passing through a subway, a disguised Mystique grabbed him and pulled him off to one side with a plastic dagger at his throat. Mystique interrogated Erik about why he tried to kill her. Erik replied that he was attempting to safeguard their future, as he knows of Trask desiring her blood. She didn't believe him at first, but Erik reminds her that he has never lied to her and will never lie to her, and she relents. However, she is bitter to learn that killing one man was never enough for Erik, and blames him for the fact that Trask has obtained her blood. Erik tried to warn her about the future but she refused to listen and disappeared again.

Erik later boarded a train that was transporting Sentinels to Washington. Erik used his powers on the tracks to rip them free and managed to place metal inside the Sentinels, allowing him to control them.

In Washington, he successfully infiltrated the Pentagon and retrieved his helmet. On the day the Sentinels were unveiled, Erik went to the RFK Stadium‏‎ and used his power to lift the entire stadium into the air. At the same time, Erik took control of the Sentinels and commanded them to attack the crowd, forcing the President and his retinue to take cover. In the ensuing chaos, Erik arrived and placed the stadium around the White house, with the falling rubble injuring Charles. He then placed all but one Sentinel on top of the stadium, all of which served as a barricade. He was encountered Wolverine and Beast, and Erik ordered the one Sentinel to attack them while he located the President. While the remaining Sentinel attacked Beast, Wolverine tried to fight Magneto. But Erik simply flung debris at Wolverine, eventually impaling Logan's body with several pieces of rebar.

Magneto giving a speech in order to provoke a revolution before his attempt to kill the humans.

Erik gave a short taunt before hurling him into the sky. Logan later fell into the Potomac River and subsequently drowned. Then, Erik ripped the President’s shelter out of the White House and broadcast a speech to everyone around the world, stating that the time of mutants had begun. The President came forward and pleaded Erik to have mercy on everyone else and to kill only him. However, Erik replied that the President did not spare the rest of his kind (mutants) and prepared to kill them all. But Erik was distracted when a Sentinel charged towards him, which he tore apart.

Little did Erik realize that the President was none other than Mystique, who shot him non-fatally through the neck. Shortly after this, Mystique knocked him unconscious. Mystique prepared to shoot Trask once and for all, but after some persuasion from Charles, she relents. This act erases the apocalyptic future. After Mystique removes Erik's helmet, Erik came to and realized that he could not continue with his plan with Charles standing nearby. Accepting this, Erik departed with a brief farewell to Charles, who let him go as they both knew that the government would execute him for his actions if he was captured.

X-Men: Apocalypse

Erik at work in Poland.

By 1983, Erik (now going by the name Henryk Gurszky,) has established a new life in Poland with his new wife Magda and daughter Nina, as well as a job at a factory. However, one day, Erik is forced to reveal his magnetic powers when a huge falling crate almost crushes one of his fellow factory workers - Erik stops it in mid-air just in time. Sometime later, some of his colleagues that witnessed his powers had the Polish authorities sent to capture Erik, mainly due to the incident years ago at the White House (after which Magneto had become the most wanted fugitive in the world) while Erik attempted to turn himself in to save his family, his daughter Nina's sudden display of mutant powers, which incidentally happens to be animal communication, causes the men to freak out. One of the shocked men accidentally fires an arrow, killing Magda and Nina in the process, much to his horror. An incredibly furious and devastated Erik promptly murders them all by magnetically manipulating his daughter's locket, after which he tearfully cradles his family's corpses.

While Erik attempts to extract his revenge on the fellow factory workers, suddenly Apocalypse appears at the scene (along with Archangel, Psylocke, and Storm) when Erik asks him who he is, he responds by murdering all the workers in simple movement of his hand. He then persuades an astonished Erik to join him. They then teleport away to the ruins of Auschwitz concentration camp, where Erik, after some encouragement from Apocalypse, destroys the remnants, finally getting some closure. He then promptly agrees to join forces with the ancient mutant (who further enhances Erik's already immense mutant powers) becoming his fourth and final Horseman of the Apocalypse.

While Scott, Jean, Kurt and newcomer Jubilation Lee go to watch Return of the Jedi, Apocalypse, Erik and the other Horsemen attack the mansion and kidnap Xavier, after which they head to Cairo. At Apocalypse's behest, Erik uses his newly enhanced powers to control Earth's magnetic poles, causing widespread destruction across the planet and mass casualties. Shortly thereafter, the X-Men arrive and battle the Horsemen, though they are unable to penetrate the magnetic field that Erik conjures up around his leader. After some persuasion, Erik is finally able to see the error of his ways, and he allies himself with the X-Men, turning against Apocalypse (who is outraged at his lieutenant's betrayal).

But while Erik bombards his former leader with numerous metal projectiles Apocalypse conjures up a protective shield, but his efforts are soon joined by Scott (shooting at the shield with his optic blasts) and Charles (who attacks Apocalypse's mind on the astral plane). However, the ancient mutant proves too powerful even for their combined might, taking all of Erik and Scott's attacks, and swiftly beating Charles' astral projection to the ground. However, Erik is then also joined by Jean, who finally helps him dismantle Apocalypse's armor, by tapping into her Phoenix Force. Once En Sabah Nur's frail true unarmored form is exposed, Erik pierces him with numerous metal projectiles, while Jean subsequently incinerates him. However, Charles (who is bald, after Apocalypse's telepathic invasion into his mind) realizes that there will always be threats human and mutant alike, and decides to train his students to become the X-Men.

Xavier and Erik are finally able to reaffirm their friendship, and Erik returns to rebuild Charles' destroyed mansion. Though Charles asked him to stay, Erik declined and left, albeit on friendly terms this time, and with a cleared name (as the world bore witness to Magneto greatly contributing to the defeat of Apocalypse). Xavier asked if there no chance he could convince Erik to stay to which Erik jokingly said Charles can easily convince him to do anything since he's psychic. Peter Maximoff observes his departing father from a distance, ultimately deciding not to tell Erik about their relation yet.

X-Men: Dark Phoenix

By 1992, Erik had a change of heart and stopped killing people after he realized he was only doing it to eliminate his own pain. He realized that his method was wrong and changed his mind about humans after finally understanding that they aren't all evil, he also became a hero, a pacifist and the leader of an island where mutants go to be left alone called Genosha.

However Jean Grey comes to visit him for help as she had a telepathic incident which killed a person, when Erik tells her about how he has back to be a good person and controlled his dark side Lehnsherr asks her who's blood is that she has on her dress, making Jean nervous and having no response from her.

Then a group of soldiers comes to the island and Erik hides Jean inside, Lehnsherr tries to convince the soldiers that Jean is not there and to resolving it without violence but Jean reveals herself and tries to kill the soldiers with their own helicopter but Erik saves them and allow them to successfully escape from Jean.

In response Grey throws Erik on the ground angrily asking him if he really is someone who protects mutants, to which Lehnsherr answers that he's helping mutants by protecting them from her, then he banishes her from the island for having tried to kill innocent soldiers and risked the inhabitants' lives.

Later Hank McCoy comes to the island and Erik asks him why he's alone and where are the other X-Men especially Charles, Hank says to him that he has to help him not for him but for Raven, when Erik asks him if Raven sent him there. McCoy reveals to him that Jean has killed her, much to Lehnsherr's shock and devastation. Angry and sad for the death of his former lover and friend Erik also reconcile with Hank telling him that he's sorry for what he did in past, but despite their differences, they both loved Raven to which McCoy agrees. Erik then says that if he found Jean he will kill her for what she had done, and Hank answers that he knows and it is the reason why he asked his help to avenge Raven.

With Raven's death, that moment the two prepared to go find Jean and kill her. Lensherr took his helmet after many years without wearing it and donned it. Accompanied by Selene Gallio and Ariki, two other inhabitants of Genosha, Magneto and Beast arrive in New York where they discovered where Jean was and were ready to kill her.

There, Magneto was called by his old friend Charles but he angrily said to him to go away from their way, Xavier tried to calm him and Hank telling that he's sorry for what Jean did but Lehnsherr answer that he's always sorry but nobody cares anymore, Charles try to adverts Lehnsherr that if they will fight each other people will see them again as monsters and he will lose his home but Lehnsherr says that will never happen, Xavier tries to convince him to stop but Magneto has made his decision.

So then started a violent fight where Magneto made his way to the palace where Jean is, Scott Summers try to kill him but Lensherr defends himself with a block of metal and Beast immobilize Scott giving time to Erik to arrive inside the palace, there Magneto tells to Jean that now who's blood that was and tries to kill her but Jean is too powerful and destroys his helmet and threw Lehnsherr and the pieces of his destroyed helmet from the window, when he lands on the street he loses consciousness, then Charles, Storm, Beast, Scott, Selene, Ariki and Lensherr are taken under arrest from the authorities as they are convinced that they're a threat and make them wear collars which inhibit their powers.

On the train, Erik awakes and Charles explains to him and Hank that Jean has been manipulated from an alien named Vuk who wants her power to destroy Earth and populate it with her species, when Erik answer to let her die but both him and his allies change ideas when Xavier reveals Vuk's plan to destroy Earth and after that Scott says that Raven would not want Jean dead making understand to Erik and Hank that Raven's murder was an incident, realizing to having been all manipulated by Vuk to fight each other so she could rule the world Erik reconciles with Charles and the X-Men definitely and tries to convince the soldiers to set them free as them are not a threat and can help them to fight the aliens who are attacking them right then, despite an initial refuse the soldiers accept and set them free, together the X-Men starts a big battle against the aliens defeating them all except Vuk, Erik tells Charles and Scott to go to set Jean free as he and the others will take time.

However Storm, Beast, Nightcrawler and the others had been all defeated by the powerful alien empress but when she arrives at the room where Charles, Scott, and Jean, Erik closes the room with metal and use guns against Vuk sacrificing himself to help Charles, despite him being defeated by Vuk he survives and Charles frees Jean successfully making Grey knocking Vuk away and then taking his family in safe.

There Jean use her powers to fight and kill all the aliens and at the end of the fight, to make ensure her family safety, Jean takes Vuk with her into space and she disappears with her in an explosion of energy, Erik, like his friends, is devastated for Jean's apparent death. After Jean's apparent death and Vuk's permanent defeat, Charles calls the school "Jean's school for Gifted Children", gives Hank the role of principal of the school and retires, then Erik jokingly asks to his best friends how is going his retirement, finally reconciled, this time for good, they started to happily play to chess unaware that Jean is alive and has returned to Earth when she has learned how to control her powers.


"We are the future."

Erik has lived a troubled life, having felt mankind's cruelty not only as a mutant but also as a Jewish person. Erik was forced to watch as his people suffered under the horrors inflicted by the Nazis.[2] 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.[1]

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.[2] 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,[3] once he found out about the Sentinels.[4] However, despite his devotion, he refused to put his life on the line unless he had no other choice and was more than willing to sacrifice mutants if it would keep him out of harm's way, forcing Rogue to take his place in a machine that would kill its user and letting the "pawns" in his Brotherhood attack Alcatraz first, the former of which Wolverine called him out on saying if he was really righteous he would carry out his plan himself instead of endangering the life of a young girl.

Magneto firmly believes that humans and mutants are not capable of co-existing, and believes mutants to be superior and the next stage in evolution. This conflicts greatly with the beliefs of Professor X, to whom Magneto frequently argues that if action isn't taken to ensure mutants' survival then a holocaust similar to that which he lived through will happen (a fate which indeed came to pass by 2023). He is not, however, above working with the X-Men when the situation calls for it despite the X-Men fighting to protect his enemies in addition to mutants, and when at death's doorstep in 2023 admits that he regrets all the years that he and Charles spent fighting each other despite their difference in goals.

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).[1] 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[4] (which, unknown to him, led to the birth of his son Quicksilver) and his wife, Magda, whom he loved dearly.[5] 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.[2][1] 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.[5] It can be argued that Magneto's hatred towards humans can be all in defense of mutant kind.

Aside from his daughter, Erik cared for no mutant more than he cared for Mystique, and was the first person who truly accepted her for who she was and thought her beautiful in her blue form, an acceptance she had never found in anyone prior to them meeting. Though willing to sacrifice her for the greater good, he refused to ever lie to her, and freely admitted his faults to her when Trask had obtained her blood in 1973 after he attempted to kill her. Though he also coldly abandoned her when she lost her powers after shielding him from a cure gun, he was nonetheless devastated when she lost her powers. Erik had a brotherly relationship with Charles, each of them frequently referring to each other as "old friend".

Despite their strong conflict of beliefs, Magneto deeply respected everything Charles had done for mutants and remained polite and cordial towards him in all their interactions. He was genuinely concerned when Phoenix levitated and began to destroy Charles, even pleading for Jean to stop, and was utterly horrified and grieving over the death of his former friend, as he severely scolded Pyro for expressing a willingness to kill the professor following his (temporary) death. Though initially angry at Charles in 1973 for letting countless mutants such as Emma Frost and Azazel be killed and experimented on his watch, he ultimately saw past this, as both were focused on preventing the apocalyptic future. Though bitterly devastated over the loss of his wife and daughter and willing to destroy the world while working with Apocalypse, aiding Apocalypse in capturing Charles and coldly refusing to help him, ultimately Mystique got through to him and he refused to see her and Charles suffer, acknowledging that they were practically family to him and switched sides.

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.[1] Lehnsherr has even go as far as to try to make Xavier use Dark Cerebro to kill every human on the planet, by extreme mental torture.[6]

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. He also had a love for chess, having played numerous games over the years with Charles and drew parallels between chess and the battle at Alcatraz, keeping his strongest mutant forces back while stating that "in chess, the pawns go first".

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.[4]

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 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.[5]

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.[1]

Powers and Abilities

"A very powerful mutant, who believes a war is brewing between mutants and the rest of humanity."
Professor X to Wolverine[src]


"He could create magnetic fields and control metal."
Professor X to Wolverine[src]

Magneto manipulating all forms of metal

Magnetokinesis: Magneto is an immensely powerful mutant, easily one of the greatest on the planet; thus far, only Phoenix and Apocalypse have been shown to be stronger. He is capable of generating and manipulating all forms of magnetism to achieve a variety of grandiose and devastating effects.

  • Metal Manipulation: At a low level, Magneto can effortlessly launch pieces of metal like bullets, alter projectile trajectories of bullets, and even manipulate the standard mechanics of tool. For grander feats, he can easily lift, immobilizing, and crumble giant structures like. His precision with this power also allows him to launch countless projectiles in rapid succession and maintain the structural integrity of his targets. Likewise, he is able to perform several feats at once, despite the amount of concentration required. Later, thanks to the guidance of Apocalypse, Magneto was able to increase the range and scale of his powers to manipulate Earth's magnetic poles (causing destruction on a global scale). He can also forcibly extract the metal within a person's body if there is a sufficient amount to be manipulated, as he did to the prison guard in X2.
  • Flight:

    Magneto flying on magnetic fields

    Magneto can fly by gliding on the magnetic fields he creates, or by having metal on him and moving with it. Alternatively, he can also draw himself to metal, as he did board a moving train.
"I know the smell of your adamantium from a mile away."
―Magneto to Wolverine[src]
  • Metal Sense: Magneto is able to sense the presence of metals in his environment, as they are crucial for the effective use of his powers. Even with Wolverine's impressive stealth skills, Magneto was able to easily detect Wolverine's adamantium skeleton from a great distance away.
  • Force-Field Projection: Magneto is able to conjure a vast shield of magnetic energy, which the X-Men were unable to penetrate, forcing Quicksilver and Mystique to instead resort to reasoning with him.
  • Metallic Bonding: Magneto can implant metal to objects or people in mere seconds as he did to fuse train rails into the Sentinels to let him control them later. It is presumed that Magneto re-coated Wolverine's claws with adamantium (after the latter's encounter with Silver Samurai).


  • Genius-Level Intellect: Magneto is extremely intelligent (on par with Professor X), with him excelling in the construction of machinery, notably helping Professor X construct Cerebro, and later successfully utilizing Dark Cerebro). He is generally a very sophisticated man, well-read on many topics. He is also a highly skilled chess player.
    • Master Tactician: Magneto is an excellent strategist, tactician, and leader, having successfully tracked down and killed multiple former Nazis on his own (even managing to locate Sebastian Shaw), originally helping Professor X lead Division X, and later successfully leading his Brotherhood of Mutants (which once included the Omegas) against Charles' X-Men on many occasions.
    • Master Manipulator: Magneto is highly skilled at bending others to his will through both his persuasive words and affable charm, with him notably swaying Mystique, Pyro, Juggernaut, Multiple Man, Emma Frost, the former Hellfire Club, and the Omegas to his cause. This aids Magneto in getting other mutants to join him, which is how his infamous Brotherhood of Mutants was first formed.
    • Expert Engineer: Magneto was able to create the Mutant Conversion Machine, a very complex device capable of altering human DNA.
    • Multilingualism: Magneto is fluent in at least six languages - his native German and Hebrew, as well as English, French, Polish, and Spanish. Having lived in the United States for more than a decade, he can speak English without a German accent.
  • Skilled Combatant: Magneto was quite capable in hand-to-hand combat in his youth, easily stopping a Nazi from stabbing him, gaining the upper hand in a fist fight with Professor X, as well as physically overpowering both an untransformed Beast and Professor X when they attempted to stop him from killing Mystique. He was able to fight multiple D'Bari warriors at once, using his combat training and abilities in tandem.
  • Skilled Marksman: Though he prefers to ferrokinetically control firearms, Magneto is a competent marksman. He used a pistol to execute the Pig Farmer and threatened Mystique with another pistol.
  • Indomitable Will: Magneto has immense determination and willpower, with him striving to complete his tasks, no matter the cost, regardless of seemingly insurmountable odds.


  • Arrogance: Despite Magneto's great intellect, he has displayed a high degree of arrogance, with it having caused him to underestimate circumstances and individuals in various situations, therefore; indirectly leading to his plans being thwarted, to which he can potentially put others in danger as well. However, this arrogance disappeared with time in the revised timeline; where Magneto forgived humans and became more pacifist.
  • Non-Metallic Objects: Magneto's greatest weakness is that he is powerless when there is no metal around for him to manipulate, evident when he is on two occasions locked in prisons that are entirely made of plastic and glass.
  • Physical/Mental Condition: Magneto's powers are proportionally affect by his physical health and level of concentration. When severely injured, his body is unable to withstand the strain of manipulating magnetic energy in effective ways. He is also susceptible to physical and mental fatigue that can ultimately affect his efficiency. As he learned since childhood, Magneto requires to be properly focused to even access his powers, otherwise he struggles to even move anything larger than hand-held in size.


  • 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. It has also been shown to be bulletproof, as the bullet Moira MacTaggert shot did no damage to Magneto's body.  After his first helmet was lost (in the revised timeline), Magneto received a new identical one as a gift from Apocalypse, although it was later destroyed by Jean Grey.
  • 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.


Original Timeline




Revised Timeline





  • 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 Romani 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.
  • David Hemblen, Christopher Lee and Terence Stamp were considered for the role of Magneto in X-Men. Hemblen was previously the voice of Magneto on X-Men: The Animated Series.
  • 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 from 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.
  • Ian McKellen was initially reluctant to accept the role of Magneto, but was convinced to accept it when he saw the costume.
  • 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 '60s as young adults before their paths diverge immediately after it. The flashback scene seemed to suggest that the two were colleagues well into the '80s, 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 Golden Gate 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 X 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 X says he can't track Rogue using his power and Bobby realizes that she is kept in Cerebro's room. Professor X, 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.
  • Ian McKellen expressed interest in Logan, but didn't appear in the film.

Behind the Scenes


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 X-Men: First Class (2011). Matthew Vaughn (director) & Ashley Edward Miller, Zack Stentz, Jane Goldman, Matthew Vaughn (writers). 20th Century Fox
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 X-Men (2000). Bryan Singer (director) & David Hayter (writer). 20th Century Fox.
  3. X-Men: The Last Stand (2006). Brett Ratner (director) & Simon Kinberg, Zak Penn (writers). 20th Century Fox.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014). Bryan Singer (director) & Simon Kinberg (writer). 20th Century Fox.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 X-Men: Apocalypse (2016). Bryan Singer (director) & Simon Kinberg (writer). 20th Century Fox.

External links