The Holocaust survivor X-Men role serves a "social purpose," says the actor

By Michael Y. Park
Updated July 11, 2008 10:00 AM
Everett Collection

Don’t put Ian McKellen’s cape in storage just yet.

While there are no current plans for a fourth X-Men film, the actor says he’d be up for working in even a relatively small part on a prequel dedicated to his character, a misguided villain with power over all things metal.

“There is a script knocking around for a spinoff, but it will be a younger Magneto, so if I were involved it would be just topping and tailing the story,” the actor, 69, tells BBC News.

If a Magneto film indeed goes forward, it would be the second spinoff featuring an X-Men character. McKellen’s costar and onscreen nemesis, Hugh Jackman, has already been hard at work on a Wolverine prequel, due next May.

McKellen isn’t the only one eager to see the master of magnetism threaten the silver screen again. He says Marvel Comics sees the character of Magneto – a Holocaust survivor who leads an army of oppressed, super-powered mutants – as someone almost anyone can relate to.

“Marvel told me that this is their favorite because it has a social purpose and the strongest demographic are young blacks, Jews and gays who respond to the idea that society does treat some adults as mutants,” says McKellen, who is openly gay. “And that was what initially appealed to me about the story.”