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Dark Phoenix: Magneto Is Beat-Up And Bloody In New Image

Magneto's looking a little less magnificent and a lot more Million Dollar Baby these days. 

Studio 20th Century Fox has unveiled a new photo from Dark Phoenix, the sequel to 2016's X-Men: Apocalypse that follows the X-Men team battling Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) in her dangerous Dark Phoenix alter ego. Posted to the official Twitter account for the X-Men film franchise, the Dark Phoenix snap doesn't feature its title character but rather focuses on the mutants who must take her down. Sitting front and center is Magneto (Michael Fassbender), looking worse for wear with bloody cuts scattered across his cheeks, nose, and throat. 

Magneto has clearly been through a Very Rough Time — either having wound up on the receiving end of powerful punches and a sharp switchblade, getting glass blasted directly at his symmetrical mug while some foes leave bruises along his shoulders, or somehow reliving the events of X-Men: The Last Stand from 13 years ago – but at least he has his family of mutants by his side. Or, more accurately, behind him: Storm (Alexandra Shipp), Beast (Nicholas Hoult), Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee), Red Lotus (Andrew Stehlin), and Selene (Kota Eberhardt) surround Magneto in the photo.

This is actually the second Dark Phoenix image we've seen that shows Magneto all roughed up. Empire released an exclusive image way back in December 2017 that depicted the mutant splayed out on the ground, getting pulled by the neck through wreckage. 

Beyond the fact that Magneto has been beaten up real bad, an interesting thing to note about this new Dark Phoenix image is that Magneto isn't standing. It looks as though he's sitting in a wheelchair, and that Beast is pushing him through some kind of corridor, perhaps in a hospital. This evokes Magneto's wheelchair-bound frenemy, Charles Xavier (James McAvoy), the telepathic mutant who founded Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters and who "did certain things to try to help Jean" that "may have been misguided ... may have been guided by wanting to control her ... may have been guided by ego."

Charles' role in Dark Phoenix is an important one, as director Simon Kinberg explained that the X-Men crew looks to the telepath as a huge reason for Jean's metamorphosis into the Phoenix and for the devastation, destruction, and death she doles out while in that dark form. 

"People in the movie start to blame him for that not realizing what's actually happening to her. So, yes, he did some things in the past that one could see as dubious but he did them for a good purpose, from his point of view, and so as Jean is losing control and doing these sometimes horrific certainly destructive things, for lack of an explanation for many of the characters because they don't understand this larger cosmic entity, they are looking at Charles as the one responsible for it when in fact the movie sort of operates on two planes," Kinberg told IGN. "It operates as a very personal, intimate story about Jean and her past and her struggle with her powers, and it also operates as this much larger intergalactic story with aliens involved that Charles is not responsible for."

There's reason to believe that perhaps Magneto obtained his facial lacerations and bodily bruises while confronting Charles about his responsibility in all the chaos, and that he now doesn't have the physical strength to walk. A more harrowing theory is that maybe Magneto will experience the same sort of tragedy in Dark Phoenix that Professor X did in X-Men: First Class. That film saw Magneto deflect a bullet that hit Professor X and subsequently paralyzed him. Will Magneto suffer a similar fate, perhaps at the hand of Jean herself, in Dark Phoenix? In the X-Men comics, there is a Magneto who is confined to a wheelchair – Magneto of Earth-811 from the "Days of Future Past" storyline — so it's not as if that idea is without precedence. 

Regardless of how Magneto ends up in a wheelchair in Dark Phoenix, he will need to muster all the energy he has to keep Jean from tearing his X-Men family apart. As the film's synopsis teases, "Wrestling with this entity inside her, Jean unleashes her powers in ways she can neither comprehend nor contain. With Jean spiraling out of control, and hurting the ones she loves most, she begins to unravel the very fabric that holds the X-Men together. Now, with this family falling apart, they must find a way to unite — not only to save Jean's soul, but to save our very planet from aliens who wish to weaponize this force and rule the galaxy."

Also starring Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique, Tye Sheridan as Cyclops, Evan Peters as Quicksilver, Olivia Munn as Psylock, and Jessica Chastain as a mysterious alien shapeshifter who works as "the devil on Jean's shoulder" and manipulates the Phoenix, Dark Phoenix is due out on June 7.