In the first X-Men movie, Senator Kelly apparently dissolves into nothingness. But when Storm recounts his death later to Magneto, he asks:

"Are you sure you saw what you saw?"

This always implied to me that he thought that perhaps Senator Kelly was still alive, appearances notwithstanding. Maybe he thought that Kelly would resubstantiate himself eventually...obviously, nothing came of this. I'm pretty sure that Kelly's mutant power was original to the picture so there's nothing in canon to help that I'm aware of.

Can anyone point to an interview with Bryan Singer perhaps, or something along those lines? Is there another interpretation of that line I'm overlooking?

  • 2
    I recall there being an interview or commentary with Bruce Davidson, possibly on the X-men DVD. He said that his character's ending was left open, that he could possibly solidify somewhere in the next film. I don't have the DVD to verify this though. Maybe someone else can?
    – spong
    Apr 6, 2012 at 0:49

3 Answers 3


He may have been referring to the fact that Mystique continues to impersonate Senator Kelly even after his "death"/dissolving. He may simply be trying to imply that while the real Senator is dead, that's not how it appears to most people.


It's definitely an interpretable comment, one to which I could find no solid answer from interviews with Singer or the actor himself. However I think the short answer remains: undetermined.

What else could "are you sure you saw what you saw," mean?

  1. earnest disbelief allowing for a self-deluded Magneto to continue with his plan to turn all humans into mutants,
  2. a ploy to instill doubt by implying what she saw could have been Kelly exercising his new mutant abilities in an attempt to persuade them to allow him to continue, or
  3. foreshadowing a future event (like his return)

I don't think the latter is necessarily likely though. If Senator Kelly were still alive, it would have proven Magneto right (in technology, not necessarily motive) and the X-men wrong. Not unheard of, but generally not desired from typical heroes (though I personally think flawed heroes make great drama).

I think #1 or #2 are most likely the intent, bases somewhat on an early version of the X-men script, from Feb 24 1999, available (originally linked from Script-o-rama). Within the pages of this alleged script, the overall story arc is pretty much the same, however the players/participants are changed, and this specific line does not exist. In it's place is the following action:


            Magneto.  I've seen the results of
            your machine.  I've seen Senator

            Ahhhh, so the good Senator survived
            his fall?  And the swim to shore?  He
            is stronger than I ever could have

            The experiment was a failure.  Kelly
            didn't make it.  Yes, you were
            successful in activating his mutator
            gene, but you failed to take into
            account the rest of his body -- it
            wasn't ready for the strain.
            Kelly was dead within hours.  Your
            machine kills.


  Magneto pauses.  Shock registering on his face that he
  could be wrong.  Thinking.  Considering what Jean is
  telling him.  His mind races and calculates the
  possibility.  Then:

                      MAGNETO (cont'd)
            I don't believe you.

            You don't understand.

  Magneto gets angry -- squeezing the metal surrounding
  Jean's head.  Jean gasps.  This drives Cyclops crazy, but
  he is helpless to stop it.

            Stop it!

            Why can't you see what I am trying to
            do?  Why do you stand in my way?

  Magneto's anger is boiling over.

While script obviously changed, Magneto's original response implies recognition of an unexpected result, and unintended consequence, a flaw in his plan. His original reaction is emotional and not entirely cunning.

By changing his response to "are you sure you saw what you saw," we got a more ambiguous, sly and crafty response.

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    The novelisation is pretty unambiguous; “Kelly’s dead,” Jean said. “His body rejected the mutation and he simply melted. His cells fell apart.” “No, that’s not possible,” Magneto said, a hint of uncertainty in his voice. He glared at her. “It happened,” Jean said flatly.
    – Valorum
    May 17, 2015 at 18:34

I'm pretty sure he was implying that Professor X was possibly playing with her perceptions.
After all he was trying to persuade the other mutants to leave X, and join his "noble" cause.

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