In Bryan Singer’s X-Men: Apocalypse, these are the names given to the title villain’s original line-up. We first glimpsed them in the post-credits scene for Days of Future Past, but the sequel will return to ancient Egypt to reveal them to be two men and two women, one of which stands at about 7’ 6’’ with long mace-tipped braids. Then, of course, there’s the modern-day incarnation. On the film’s set, writer-producer Simon Kinberg explained how the story for X-Men: Apocalypse was built from the inside out. For the Horsemen, they started with Magneto. "We had a very clear sense of what we wanted his emotional story to be," he said, "which actually goes back to, Michael Fassbender and I went to Russia last summer for the Days of Future Past premiere." As the two discussed what interested the actor most in continuing the evolution of the character, they landed on an arc that felt right for Magneto to become a follower of Apocalypse. Said Kinberg:
That was the first person that we decided would be an interesting Horseman, and then, truly, we just kinda sat there, the way anybody would whether you were in a role playing game or a video game or, you know, doing fan-fiction, and it was like, 'Who are the coolest characters you wanna see and who are interesting combinations with one another and who are interesting foils for the heroes of the movie?'
Ahead of X-Men: Apocalypse’s premiere on May 27, we compiled a guide to these Four Horsemen straight from the actor’s themselves on the film’s Toronto sets.
MagnetoIt’s 1983, about 10 years since the events of Days of Future Past, and Magneto has disappeared. "I start off in Poland for Erik, and he’s basically living a normal life, has a family, has fallen in love," Fassbender said. "He doesn’t use his powers, has left that life behind and lives a very sort of simple life."
In the comics, Madga is the mother of Erik’s children (you might know them as Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver), but in Apocalypse it seems she’ll feature as his new love in Europe. Erik’s goal is to provide for his new family, which involves working at a steel mill, somewhere Fassbender said he can use his powers but in a way similar to penance. Staying out of the spotlight doesn’t mean he’s at peace.
"For Magneto, he’s somebody who’s been injured, somebody who’s had all of his loved ones taken away from him and is someone who is quite singular in his thoughts," Fassbender explained, referring primarily to the concentration camp that killed his family. Once again, he’ll have something else taken away from him, and that’s when Apocalypse comes into the picture. The actor continued,
At that moment when things are being taken away from him again in Poland, it’s almost like he’s looking for an answer or he’s challenging God. It’s like, 'What do you want from me ‘cause I tried everything? I’ve tried to lead a good life. I’ve tried to do it correctly, whatever that is, and now you do this to me. So what is it that you want?'
Magneto, having been a leader and a lone wolf, but never a follower, sees Apocalypse as a God-like being who will fulfill everything he couldn’t. Fassbender, Kinberg, and Singer compared the relationship to a cult in which Apocalypse, the leader, finds Erik at his lowest point and persuades him to join his plan of "judgement," which is something he does with each of his Horsemen.
I think that’s the sort of classic thing, you know, of any sort of megalomaniac, there are huge contradictions and hypocrisies within it. It’s almost like some of the worst dictators start off as complete idealists and that almost makes them more extreme in their dictatorship later, and what Apocalypse is doing is echoing that. But, for him at that point, I think it’s just about, Okay, I’m going to bring as much pain to the human race as they’ve brought me and, basically, wipe them out once and for all.