Sirs Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart talk about the LGBT themes in X-Men

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In the lead-up to their upcoming movie sequel, “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” Sirs Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart sat down with Buzzfeed to talk about the movie—and the overt LGBT themes that have always been present in the series.

Watch a preview of the film below.

McKellen, who plays the antagonist Magneto, said that he accepted the role after director Bryan Singer told him about how the sort of rejection Marvel mutants face is an allegory for the LGBT community: “they’re cast out by society for no good reason.”

He explained, “They, as in all civil rights movements, have to decide: Are they going to take the Xavier line, which is to somehow assimilate and stand up for yourself and be proud of what you are but get on with everybody, or are you going to take the alternative view, which is, if necessary, use violence to stand up for your own rights?”

“And that’s true,” he added. “I’ve come across that division within the gay rights movement.”

McKellen and Stewart, who plays protagonist Professor Charles Xavier, have starred in the current run of X-Men movies together since the first film in 2000, but have been friends for much longer—and enjoy posting pictures of some of their antics together on Twitter.

Stewart said, “It’s making us accessible to our audience, but—for us more importantly—our audience accessible to us.”

Though McKellen is gay, Stewart isn’t. But that didn’t stop McKellen from cheerfully announcing in March 2013, “I’m going to marry Patrick.” (Specifically, he meant he was going to officiate at Stewart’s wedding to partner Sunny Ozell.)

McKellen also told Buzzfeed that, from what Marvel has told him, the X-Men comics’ audience is largely made up of people who are gay, Jewish, and/or of color: “These are all people who, well, feel a little bit like mutants.”

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