Great news. Variety recently reported that Marvel Studios and 20th Century Fox are moving forward with an “X-Men” spinoff — “Magneto,” the back story of the villain portrayed by Ian McKellen in the original trilogy.
The film, according to Variety, will open with Magneto coming “to grips with his mutant ability to manipulate metal objects as he and his parents try to survive in Auschwitz,” and track the origins of his love-hate relationship with Charles Xavier, aka Professor X, the wheelchair-bound mutant leader played by Patrick Stewart in the first films. We’ll see Magneto hone “his powers by hunting down and killing Nazi war criminals who tortured him, and his lust for vengeance turns Xavier and Magneto into enemies.”
After the release of “X2: X-Men United,” I penned this essay arguing that the films worked best when they stuck to the divide between Magneto’s post-Holocaust hatred of humanity and Professor X’s belief in co-existence — a perfect parallel of the ideological clash between the philosophies of Rabbi Meir Kahane and Rabbi Irving “Yitz” Greenberg. Magneto and Kahane both see the horrors of the Holocaust as a justification for militant violence, whereas Professor X and Greenberg adopt a more rounded view combining the need for robust self-defense with a moral imperative to seek peace with the other.
In response, Greenberg sent in this letter describing how the comparison was truer than I thought — the two rabbis had indeed been friends, and eventually split as Kahane became increasingly militant. (Still trying to figure out if that makes me a genius, or a moron for not doing some basic reporting.)
Anyway… can’t wait for this movie. The only thing that would be better — an epic flick chronicling the battle between Kahane and Greenberg for the hearts and minds of yeshiva buchers in Washington Heights and Brooklyn.