Writer/Director, David S. Goyer, the guru behind The Dark Knight, has recently given (somewhat) of an update on his X-Men prequel, X-Men Origins: Magneto. Apparently, Goyer believes that the stalled film will indeed move forward. As he tells MTV about its current state:
"They're still thinking about doing it, they're definitely looking into doing other X-Men spinoffs." Later adding: "I've been in touch with them, I'm sure that project will move forward in the next year or so."
The project, which has been known about nearly as long as this year's X-Men Origins: Wolverine, has been in developmental limbo for a long time. Earlier in the year, it appeared that Marvel Studios and/or 20th Century Fox were simply waiting out the numbers for the May release of Wolverine. Those numbers yielded nearly $180 million domestic with a $363 million worldwide total. Plus we have yet to see revenues for the September 15 Blu Ray/DVD release of the film. (Which are sure to boost those numbers.) Needless to say, Wolverine certainly pulled his weight. Whether Magneto could do even close to the same, is a bit more of a complex question.
Even if Ian McKellen were able to reprise his role in the film (which would be likely) and in a full-time starring capacity (not so likely), Magneto will probably need an established star to play a younger version of the iconic X-Villain and master of magnetism. Why is that? Because at the end of the day, Wolverine is Wolverine -- one of the most popular and beloved characters in the Marvel Universe. Magneto, while an essential character, is nowhere in that stratosphere.
What also must be taken into consideration, is that the X-Men film franchise of Bryan Singer has essentially been left in shambles after the third film (which Singer did not direct and was critically reviled.) We've already seen storyline evidence in Wolverine that there has been somewhat of a tacit reboot of the X-franchise (in spite of a Patrick Stewart cameo as Xavier), which looks to continue in greater magnitude as more films get made. Point being, stock in the Singer franchise has lost a bit of its luster, and Ian McKellen's Magneto character is rooted more firmly in it than Hugh Jackman's Wolverine. (Who always kind of was a franchise unto himself.) Therefore, I can't imagine a Magneto solo film taking off, unless it is piggy-backed on some of the other X-Men spinoffs that Goyer mentions, which, as far as we know, include, X-Men: First Class, Wolverine 2, Deadpool, and possibly The Avengers films. (Should Magneto's children and future Avengers members, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch take center stage.)
The origin tale of Magneto will be a dark, somewhat realistic one that is centered on child, Erik Lehnsherr's ordeal during the era of WWII, interned by Nazis at Auschwitz, awaiting certain death. He is freed by a young soldier, Charles Xavier with whom he develops a friendship and common cause, as both of them also happen to be extremely powerful mutants. That commonality however, would not last long, as their ideological differences turned them into enemies on opposite sides of a different kind of war, one that would dominate the X-Men mythos.
The world of comic movie adaptations is only going to grow in the next few years and it's going to be an extremely crowded field. Is there room for Magneto? Only time will tell.