Fifty years after his assassination, the circumstances behind the death of President John F. Kennedy has yet another conspiracy theory that can be added to the pile thanks to Bryan Singer and the gang behind X-Men: Days of Future Past. Forget a second shooter or even Lee Harvey Oswald’s true guilt: a new viral video and website entitled The Bent Bullet claims that Erik Lehnsherr, aka Magneto (Michael Fassbender), is the man behind Kennedy’s murder back in 1963.
The Warren Commission determined, after placing Magneto at the Grassy Knoll, that he bent the trajectory of Oswald’s bullets and manipulated the assassination, making him the true killer. While it might be easy to implicate the mutant for the crime, the report suggests that maybe it was too easy – making Magneto a patsy in a time where a nation was struggling to find someone, anyone to blame for the assassination, and already experienced a deep-seated fear and prejudice toward those with mutant abilities. Could it be that Magneto was just in the wrong place at the wrong time, or did he really kill JFK?
Back before the release of X-Men: First Class, Matthew Vaughn expressed his desire to create a sequel to the film that opened with the Kennedy Assassination, with the premise “that the magic bullet was controlled by Magneto. That would explain the physics of it, and we see that he’s pissed off because Kennedy took all the credit for saving the world and mutants weren’t even mentioned.” While Vaughn’s sequel never came to fruition, Singer’s film has definitely held on to that premise in some way.
Whether or not the film will still open with the assassination or use Magneto’s conviction as a major plot point remains to be seen until the movie is released next year, but given the depth of the material released on The Bent Bullet, it seems likely that it’s going to factor into the story in a significant way.
The report on the site states that Magneto maintained his innocence throughout his trial and his entire incarceration, claiming that he was at the scene to stop the assassination from occurring in the first place; the real killer is someone that authorities will never be able to find because she’s able to “hide in plain sight.” Are they suggesting that Mystique is our new Oswald? To dive further into the report, it states that when Oswald is arrested in the movie theater after killing the police officer and JFK, he is disoriented and vehemently denies doing so. Other witnesses claim to have seen Oswald in two places at the same time throughout the day; a plausible theory (and totally speculation at this point) is that Mystique assumed a man named Lee Harvey Oswald’s form during the assassination, with Magneto waiting on the Grassy Knoll to watch out – and to bend the bullet and guide her when her first two shots failed to kill the president.
Now, Magneto is sitting in his (plastic) prison cell while she’s off in the world. The Magneto-Kennedy (Mystique?) connection could work well with Days of Future Past’s time travel plot that’s already been talked up. Perhaps this is a finely-executed plan that must be carried out for the future of mutants and all mankind.
Attributing the Kennedy assassination to the X-Men is insane, revisionist history but it’s far from the first time a film has ever tried to tackle a major historical event using their characters’ own agenda. Zack Snyder’s Watchmen showed an alternate 1980s where President Nixon still reigned over the United States and the Cold War nearly escalated to nuclear war. Masked superheroes are outlawed, but of course the world is in desperate need of crime fighters in the end. Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds is probably the most prime example of this concept, by ending WWII in the most satisfying of ways possible – blowing up a theater full of Nazis while two Jewish-American soldiers fired round after round of bullets straight into Hitler’s face. Maybe a little bit different than you remember from class. Maybe the X-Men and some intrepid sentinels will be joining the revisionist ranks soon.
X-Men: Days of Future Past is in theaters May 23, 2014.