Sir Ian McKellen’s run as the big screen version of Magneto lasted for many years, but it seems as though that era is coming to an end. The esteemed, award winning actor has confirmed that he won’t have a part in Bryan Singer’s X-Men: Apocalypse, and seems ready to retire his version of the character.
McKellen is currently out promoting his work in Bill Condon’s new drama Mr. Holmes, and it was while speaking with Digital Spy that he addressed his future in the X-Men franchise. Asked if he had any plans of reprising his comic book supervillain role or heard anything about joining X-Men: Apocalypse’s ensemble, he said,
I haven’t heard that. I don’t think I am. They’re currently making a film, and I’m not in it. Michael Fassbender, poor dear, can’t get any work, so let him do it. He’s got three movies coming out this year! You’d think that he’d let me do one of them.
This is definitely a change from what we’ve been hearing – specifically from Ian McKellen’s good friend and X-Men co-star Patrick Stewart. Earlier this year, Stewart was asked about his own future with the comic book movies, and while he denied involvement in X-Men: Apocalypse, he said, "Magneto, Ian McKellen, is certainly going to be in it." Unless McKellen is lying or uninformed, it seems as though Stewart was mistaken.
As McKellen notes, the role of Magneto will once again be played by Michael Fassbender in X-Men: Apocalypse, though even his future with the franchise has been in question. In a recent interview, the German-Irish actor revealed that his contract ends with the currently in-production movie. He has said that he would be more than happy to sign on for more in the future, but right now his status is unclear.
For now it sounds as though Ian McKellen’s run as Magneto is drawing to a close (following in the footsteps of Gandalf in the Middle-earth movies), and it sounds like it will be a bittersweet departure for the actor. Asked if he would miss his time with the franchise when it’s officially brought to a close, the actor explained,
You like to be in films that people like to see, don’t you? I’ve always thought that the X-Men stories were superior, to my taste, to any other fantasy movies, because they’re about something… X-Men is about what it is to be different, and what it is to be a mutant, and society’s attitude to difference, and all that. That’s an important social thing to discuss, and when it’s done in such an entertaining way in the films…I was really happy to be a part of them.
Despite McKellen’s words, hopefully we haven’t seen the end of his version of Magneto on the big screen, but we’ll just have to wait and find out if that winds up happening. Look for X-Men: Apocalypse in theaters May 27th.