Erik Leaves Without His Helmet
This. is huge. HUGE. I can’t stress this enough. This may the shortest answer of all the Top Ten, but it doesn’t need a lot of explanation. The fact that Erik leaves his helmet behind at the end of DoFP is pretty much self-explanatory.
But, I’ll go over a few key points.
Let me start out by pointing out that the fact that Erik wears the helmet to specifically keep Charles out of his head is something that was invented for the original X-Men films by Singer and the writers. It doesn’t exist in canon, at all. In fact, when Charles and Erik first meet in the comics, Charles can’t read Erik’s mind. Why? Erik has a natural ability to deflect Charles’ telepathy. This is why Charles doesn’t know Erik is a mutant at first, and Erik keeps that from Charles. (I seriously love the “subtext” of that– I really do.) Erik gets the helmet later on, and while part of its ability is to deflect telepathy, that’s not its only function. And he doesn’t wear it specifically to keep Charles out. But, the filmmakers tied the helmet DIRECTLY to Erik keeping Charles away from his mind, and ONLY that. That was carried over into this new trilogy.
In canon, when Erik wants Charles in his head, he lets him in.
That part of it…is not that far from the films. Though, unlike canon, he can’t naturally keep Charles out of his head. Charles respects Erik enough to not read him without Erik’s permission. And when Erik wants Charles in his head, he lets him know. They “communicate.” We see it all the time, we just don’t hear what they’re saying.
There are more examples, but you get the point. The *only* time we hear the telepathic conversations between Erik and Charles are these three scenes:
They seem so comfortable with it in the last two scenes, like they’ve been doing it for a while…
It’s my theory that every time there’s a silent gaze between these two, it’s really a hidden conversation. I’d literally give anything to have a director’s commentary detailing what exactly these two are saying to one another during those scenes above.
Maybe we’ll get it after Apocalypse. One can only hope.
Anyway- so, Erik, in First Class, puts on Shaw’s helmet specifically to shut Charles out of his head. He doesn’t do it because he thinks the helmet would make a nice addition to his X-Men suit, it’s all because of Charles. And then, after he kills Shaw, he leaves the helmet on.
I always wondered about that. Like, I get it, he’s supposed to be Magneto now, but these two have been in each other’s heads for a while now, and Erik shut Charles out- supposedly- because he didn’t want Charles to stop him from killing Shaw. Shaw’s dead now. So why does Erik keep the helmet on? Maybe it’s to stress his definitive move from Erik to Magneto. Maybe it’s because he now has bigger goals- the humans and their missiles pointed at the beach.
I’ve seen on Tumblr a post (I wish I could find who- I’d give them credit) that suggests that this shot is where Charles finally realizes he’s lost Erik for good:
I have to agree.
So, here comes the weird abrupt beach divorce. Erik’s wearing the helmet, Charles can’t talk to him telepathically, and he can’t talk to Erik in the open because this is the 60s. Erik can’t hear what Charles is really saying, so he hears “Leave.” I have this suspicion that Charles wasn’t really telling Erik to leave, and that Erik may have figured that out later on considering he was found in rural NY after the Kennedy assasination.
Point is- the beach divorce happened fast. Like, in a blink. My official theory is that this entire scene was the culmination of a break-up that happened earlier in the films between Erik and Charles. (I know I link to this a lot, but to me, it’s a huge part of the story. And it explains the beach scene.)
Erik leaves with the helmet ON. Ten years pass. We think there’s been no communication between the two, but like I said before, Bent Bullet suggests otherwise.
When Logan, Charles, and Quicksilver bust Erik out of jail, he doesn’t have his helmet. He makes this point to Charles.
“No helmet. I couldn’t disobey you even if I wanted.”
Look at Erik’s face. That’s blatant flirting. He’s teasing Charles, like he does in FC. And Charles doesn’t like that, especially not about that helmet- it’s a really sensitive issue.
And then Charles gets all in his face. They share these long, silent looks.
I’d bet actual money that Erik is trying to communicate with Charles telepathically here. And, of course, Charles can’t hear him. Erik doesn’t know that yet. It could explain why he looks so confused the entire time. It’s like their roles are reversed from the beach scene.
So, jumping forward past the Quicksilver/chess make-up/Paris boardroom/Phone booth scenes- we get to the scene where Erik decides that he needs that helmet again.
I’ve been over this before, but I’ll kind of glance over it now so this makes sense. Basically, at this point in the film, Erik is well aware that he needs the helmet. Charles is shown getting his powers back. How does Erik know that, though? Because of the phone booth scene. Erik knows he needs the helmet to keep Charles out so he can go forward with his plans to stop Trask and the Sentinels. Charles told him “Goodbye” so they’re working apart now. Again.
Erik goes back to the Pentagon to get his helmet. I love this scene because he’s so determined about it at first, but then when he’s actually holding the helmet, he has this strange expression that looks…unsure, like he’s having mixed emotions about it.
I bet he is unsure about it. He and Charles made up, fought, had a run in at the phone booth, Charles tells him goodbye. These two are crazy. But they love each other, and I can imagine that Erik just isn’t sure if the helmet is the right path. But…he’s Erik, and in the words of Bryan Singer “he’s got a nature,” so he’s gonna go Magneto again.
He rips up the stadium, right, and just about kills Charles again, accidentally, dropping it on the White House. Mystique shoots Erik and knocks him out. Charles talks her down from the attempt on Trask’s life. She removes Erik’s helmet, telling Charles: “He’s all yours, Charles.”
(It may seem crack theory, but I SWEAR I hear a double meaning in that sentence. Like “You want him, here he is” or something like that.)
Charles gets into Erik’s head and manipulates him into moving the stadium lighting off Charles so he can move. The music that plays during these exact moments is the same music that plays during the “make up chess” scene and the “Paris phone booth” scene. It’s a very discordant version of Rage and Serenity. That connects those three scenes as being about Erik and Charles, and the fact that their once romantic theme is now dissonant rather than harmonious.
Erik comes to, and looks over to where his helmet is laying on the ground. Then he looks at Charles with this expression of confusion and surprise. I don’t think he expected Charles to “let him go.” This obviously is a bit of a turning point for Erik in how he sees Charles.
Once again, I’d put money on these two having a telepathic conversation here. There are *so many* emotions underneath their expressions. Something much deeper is going on between these two. Much deeper than what we’re being shown.
“If you let them have me, I’m as good as dead. You know that.”
“Goodbye, old friend.”
(What are they saying… Grrr… I want a director’s commentary after Apocalypse, Singer!)
LOOK at their faces. My GOD. Deep rooted passion. Betrayal. Anger. Love. They’re back in each other’s heads, now. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say they missed each other.
And then Erik leaves…WITHOUT his helmet. He leaves WITHOUT it. This not only completely resets the ending of FC where he leaves with Raven and his helmet, now leaving without both, Erik is giving Charles PERMISSION to be in his head. He’s putting trust back in Charles. Erik knows Charles will keep track of him and keep him out of trouble.
And…you know, they’ll resume their telepathic conversations, which will lead to them coming together again. Charles knows this. How do we know? Because he tells Hank: “There’s going to be a time, Hank, when we are all together.”
That infamous line that utilizes that one word that’s used for Erik and Charles through the entire film: together.
And Charles says it after everything that’s gone down between the two of them: Erik accidentally paralyzing him, leaving him, coming back after the assasination (if BB is right), turning himself in and leaving Charles again, pointing a gun at Charles, later trying to kill his sister, almost accidentally killing him again, nearly causing a catastrophe with the President. He lets Erik go after ALL that, and will keep Erik safe while he’s on the run.
The only plausible explanation for Charles doing that…is because he’s in love with Erik. We’ve all done crazy things for people we love. It comes with the territory. When we’re nuts in love, everything is fair game. I’ve been here. So many of you have, too. So it’s totally relatable.
And Erik is letting Charles back into his head, and his heart, even though Charles broke his heart in FC. He’s LEAVING BEHIND the one thing he needs to keep Charles at bay, and THE item that is tied to his whole identity as Magneto. Erik wants Charles back where he belongs- BY HIS SIDE. And it’s blatant foreshadowing of Erik giving up Magneto in Age of Apocalypse to fulfill Charles’ dreams of mutant and human coexistance.
That. is. HUGE.
The beach divorce is reset. So many things are possible now for these two. They’ll have time to come back together. Rediscover one another and grow up individually. They’ve still got obstacles to overcome, but one of the *BIGGEST* and certainly the most visible, is GONE. And it happens almost as abruptly as the beach scene in FC. Something VERY serious happened between Charles and Erik here.
The same kind of serious thing that happens in the dystopian future when Erik and Charles are together, and Erik has no helmet. That whole story of reconciliation we don’t hear about. (yet.)
“As far as X-Men: Days of Future Past, McKellen dropped a strong hint that his character’s lack of a helmet in the movie will be relevant to the film.
“And I don’t have to wear a helmet,” said McKellen. “And if you think about it, why doesn’t Magneto wear a helmet in this movie? That’s a clue to what’s going to go on in the movie.”
-Ian McKellen (source)
Because they’re TOGETHER in the future. “You and Erik sent me back here together.” And Logan means as a couple. I pointed out in a previous post that they didn’t send Logan back together- as in it was both their idea to do it; it wasn’t. It was X’s idea, and Erik decides at the end “you’ll need me as well.” Logan says “What?” in response. He wasn’t expecting that at all. He thought he just needed Charles. So, Logan means together as a couple when he says those words to Charles. And they both know *exactly* what Logan means by that. Their expressions say it all:
When Erik flies away, the music that starts to play…are the last few bars of Rage and Serenity. The four notes of Charles’ music, and then Erik’s four notes. The coolest thing? The harmony never resolves. It hangs there…unfinished. (For a musician, which is my background, that tends to drive me a little nuts. But I ADORE the symbolism behind it. This is a frequent musical tactic composers use, and have used for a long time, to illustrate emotions that are unresolved.)
Here’s the music. The music that accompanies the part where Charles enters Erik’s mind starts at 1:36. The part I’m referring to above with the unresolved R&S theme starts at 2:25. (Unfortunately, the person who posted this music mislabled the title- this should be “I Have Faith In You/Goodbyes” not “Join Me.” I would’ve left a comment but others beat me to it, lol.)
“Days of Future Past will provide clues to the storyline of Apocalypse. Says Singer, ‘You won’t feel at the end of the movie that it set up Apocalypse. What it does is it sets up possibilities.’ “
Bryan Singer on Apocalypse (source)
Apocalypse will test Charles and Erik in ways they never even imagined, and it will make their bond unbreakable. I’m 100% convinced of that. And in doing so, Apocalypse will “reveal” the true nature of their relationship. I’m also absolutely convinced of that.
These two will be together in Apocalypse. *Together.* They both know this. I honestly don’t believe for one second that Erik would’ve left without his helmet if he thought otherwise, and that goes for Charles as well with letting Erik go. And Charles SAYS that.
These two are endgame.
Culmination of a three act love story. Love story, love story, LOVE story.
I know many of you are still on the fence, hope for it but don’t want to be let down. I will believe for you because I don’t doubt it one bit. Not one single bit.