Can A Black Magneto Work In The Marvel Cinematic Universe?

Magneto is famous as the X-Men’s major arch nemesis, but he is also a very complex character. He has some base features which forms a crucial part of his characterization. As such, in this case will it work to cast a black actor in this role?

At this point it is basically inevitable that the X-Men and their ultimate nemesis Magneto will make their way into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s common speculation on the internet that the MCU might do a spin on these characters which will differentiate it from Fox’s version. One rumour which is making the rounds is that Marvel Studios will cast a black actor to play Magneto. But there is one other factor which makes up a huge part of who Magneto is.

Magneto Is Jewish

As a jewish boy who survived the holocaust, it forms a major part of his identity. Pic courtesy:
As a jewish boy who survived the holocaust, it forms a major part of his identity. Pic courtesy: mobilestore.marvel.comAs a jewish boy who survived the holocaust, it forms a major part of his identity. Pic courtesy:

In one word, Magneto is a Jewish man. He has faced the holocaust. He is a man who has faced oppression in one form or the other all his life. As such he has seen the worst humanity has to offer. As a Jewish boy he suffered at the hands of Nazis and as a mutant he watched people declare war on people like him just because they were different. This kind of intersectional oppression leads him to believe that there is no way for humanity to tolerate anything different from themselves.

It is this aspect of Magneto which forms the core of his characterization. But it also must be said that not every version of him involves the Nazis. In the Ultimate X-Men, Magneto grew up with Weapon X. He was horrified by the kind of mutant experimentation he witnessed. Ultimate magneto is also quite violent and leans more towards being a straight up villain rather than a well meaning extremist. For him, the priority is to destroy humans rather than create a safe haven for mutants. As such this rang false to a lot of Magneto fans.

Why A Black Magneto Can Work

A black magneto can still work for a lot of reasons. Pic courtesy:
A black magneto can still work for a lot of reasons. Pic courtesy:

It is also undeniable that black people are an oppressed minority in America. Racism remains a horrible reality which they have to face daily. It is an aspect which has yet to be explored onscreen by the X-Men. But a black magneto would allow the filmmakers to directly address one of the greatest ills of western society.

Also Magneto in any future X-Men film would be too young to have gone through the holocaust. So casting him as a black man would adequately help in portraying the kind of oppression minorities go through.

At the end, the two cores of Magneto’s character are that he is a victim of multiple forms of bigotry and that he wants to put mutants on top of the food chain. If any of these two aspects are missing it won’t feel like ol’ magneto.

To know more about Magneto comic book history, click on the video below:

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