Well, they did it. After a long period of hints and speculation, Marvel Studios finally made use of Fox’s X-Men franchise (which they’ve owned since 2019) within Disney+ series WandaVision, introducing a key crossover character that fans had been hoping to see for a while.
It you don’t want to know who that character is (i.e. if you’ve stumbled on this piece without seeing the episode), look away now – but suffice to say it sets an intriguing precedent for the Marvel Cinematic Universe that could have interesting ramifications going forward.
Still here? Well then, to paraphrase Kat Dennings’ Darcy Lewis: “They’ve recast Pietro!” As had been rumoured for some time, Evan Peters turned up at the close of WandaVision’s fifth episode as her “long-lost bro” Pietro, as played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson in 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron before the character’s death.
Of course, since then Peters’ version of the character – owned by Fox for their series of X-Men movies – has become a much more popular incarnation, delivering fan-favourite super-speed scenes in X-Men: Days of Future Past and X-Men: Apocalypse and continuing the role for final movie Dark Phoenix.
In other words, Peters is probably the Quicksilver people know best, and along with Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool stood as a character that Disney might be keen to preserve in their merger. Now, it seems like that’s exactly what they’ve done, pulling him through universes via WandaVision’s already-weird, meta style (which presents a fairly unique opportunity to break and re-mould canon) to add him to the mix.
Finally, one of the Fox X-Men is in the MCU – and this could have major implications. After all, who’s to say that he won’t just be the first of many X-Men to cross over? Sure, WandaVision is a bit of a special case – you can’t have Olsen just warp reality for every movie to make sense – but we do have a couple of movies coming that are set to deal with parallel universes, namely Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and the as-yet-untitled Spider-Man 3.
Notably, Wanda herself stars in the Doctor Strange sequel – so what if the Fox universe is one of those featured, and Peters’ introduction here is laying the groundwork for that, and a wider return of X-Men cast from the older movies?
We already know that Deadpool 3 is on the cards, after all, so it’s not like this is a one-off. Maybe the likes of James McAvoy or Michael Fassbender could be persuaded to reprise their roles as Professor X and Magento – or maybe some of Peters’ younger castmates, who haven’t had much chance to flex their muscles as the merry mutants, could come into play as well.
What if, rather than trying to relaunch and recast the X-Men entirely so soon after their last series of movies, this was Marvel’s plan all along – to bring over the main players that already exist (and have plenty of audience awareness) and just re-situate them within the Marvel universe, allowing them to tell X-Men stories without loads of familiar set-up that fans might not be willing to go through again.
After all, would people really accept another Professor X or Magneto at this point? They might – Tom Holland’s Spider-Man is proof that these superheroes can be successfully rebooted quite quickly between franchises – but it might be that Marvel wants to do something different this time, and sees the chance to skip a few steps.
Maybe this whole thing is Marvel’s backdoor for introducing their mutant characters. Famously, in the comics Wanda’s “no more mutants” spell at the end of fan-favourite storyline House of M wiped out an awful lot of super-powered characters, depowering some X-Men and leaving barely a handful still up and running. It would sort of feel fitting for the Olsen version of the character to do the opposite, bringing mutants in force to the MCU for the first time and changing the make-up of the franchise forever.
So yes, it all kind of lines up… assuming, of course, that everything is as it seems here. In WandaVision Peters is playing “Pietro”, after all – an alternate version of Wanda’s brother, not necessarily his character Peter from the Fox universe (believe it or not, different people had different rights to Quicksilver’s name).
And given that almost everyone in WestView has another real-life identity, it could also be that Peters isn’t actually playing Quicksilver at all. Sure, for fans watching at home it’s a very meta casting – but within the world of the MCU Peters could be playing a different character who’s just been pulled into Wanda’s orbit to play this WestView “role”.
Or, alternatively he could be someone more sinister. Notably, within the episode Wanda said it wasn’t her that made this new Pietro appear, looking surprised that he’d turned up… and assuming the ultimate villain isn’t just Marvel’s brand synergy department, perhaps Peters represents someone here who’s really pulling the strings.
We think of Peters as Quicksilver, and WandaVision is using that, but lest we forget he isn’t Quicksilver in this universe. He could be anyone, really – even Mephisto, the rumoured villain of the piece – and the starry casting (and our excitement over the potential X-Men crossover) could be shielding us from the truth.
Of course, we might be reading too much into this. Maybe Wanda (or someone even more powerful) was actually able to pluck an alternate universe Quicksilver when the “real” one wasn’t available. This week’s episode suggested Wanda can’t raise the dead (beyond the synthetic Vision), which might prevent her from just bringing her brother back – but perhaps wouldn’t prevent her from sort of including him via multiverse manipulation.
Maybe it’s all real. But in the illusory world of WandaVision, we can’t help but shake the feeling that there’s more to this new – and old – Quicksilver than meets the eye. Better not start hoping for that Hugh Jackman cameo just yet.
Want more WandaVision content? Check out our latest WandaVision review, our guide to the WandaVision cast, the WandaVision release schedule, Agatha Harkness and the creepy WandaVision commercials. Plus, we ask: is Wanda pregnant? When is WandaVision set and how did Vision survive?
WandaVision releases new episodes on Disney+ on Fridays. You can sign up to Disney Plus for £5.99 a month or £59.99 a year.
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