[Editor’s note: The following contains spoilers for WandaVision, Season 1, Episode 5, “On a Very Special Episode…”]
Since the start of WandaVision, fans have had practically no idea what to expect from week to week. The truth about Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision’s (Paul Bettany) existence inside an ever-transforming sitcom has slowly emerged. By now, it’s been confirmed that this ill-fated Marvel couple now exists inside a warped version of reality which is most likely created by Wanda and born out of her grief over the death of Vision. We also know that this version of reality has manifested as a hexagon-shaped pocket universe that has swallowed an entire town in New Jersey and left many residents subjected to Wanda’s magical influences in order to help her and Vision live out their suburban happily ever after.
This week’s episode, “On a Very Special Episode…,” was perhaps the most jaw-dropping episode yet. After WandaVision reminded viewers numerous times that Wanda’s brother, Pietro, was dead and that on some level she was still deeply hurt by his death (as you might expect), Pietro seemed to magically return from the dead at the end of the episode. After Wanda and Vision fight about the sitcom reality Wanda has created, the doorbell rings. Wanda, assuring Vision she has no idea who that is and that she’s not responsible for making it happen, opens the door and stands there in shock. The camera cuts to reveal that it’s her brother Pietro, a.k.a. Quicksilver. But — and here’s the big surprise — it’s Evan Peters as Quicksilver, a completely different version of the character who has, until now, existed in a completely separate cinematic franchise.
Peters’ cameo (and possible recurring role) on WandaVision comes with a myriad of implications about what could happen in the MCU going forward. But, before we get too far ahead of ourselves, it’s probably best to pause and refresh our memories on who Quicksilver the character is and who Peters’ version of Quicksilver has been established as in 20th Century Studios’ X-Men franchise.
Who Is Quicksilver?
Before we get too deep into this, we should just do the speediest of overviews on Quicksilver, one of the fastest characters in the Marvel Comics canon. So, the basics: Quicksilver is the superhero nickname of Pietro Maximoff, twin brother of Wanda Maximoff. In Marvel Comics, Wanda and Pietro’s origins are oddly complex for superheroes, with the origins tweaked and refined over the years. The basic gist is this: Wanda and Pietro are the children of Magneto and his wife, Magda. Magda gave birth to the twins in secret with the help of a sentient cow named Bova on Wundagore Mountain and left the twins in Bova’s care. Eventually, Bova gave the twins to a different couple who had lost their own children, and Wanda and Pietro were raised as their own. (It’s a good thing, too, because Magneto is an extremely terrible parent to his kids in the comics.) As the twins grew older, they eventually met Bova and learned the truth of their parentage. Pietro’s superpowers include super speed, speed physiology (basically, having a body that doesn’t wear out by going extremely fast), enhanced durability, flexibility, and strength, and all of the fun extras that come with being a superpowered human.
While Pietro has had a long and eventful life in the comics, his time in the MCU was much, much shorter. Pietro appeared in one MCU movie, Avengers: Age of Ultron, and was played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson in that movie. The MCU took some liberties with Wanda and Pietro’s backstory, in part because they had to exclude Magneto (that character belongs to 20th Century Studios’ X-Men universe, which, because of the way Marvel’s rights are divvied up, couldn’t allow Marvel Studios to name the character at the time). So, in Age of Ultron, we learn Wanda and Pietro were twins from Sokovia who were orphaned at age 10 when a Stark Industries missile flew into their apartment building and detonated, killing their parents. Radicalized as teens, the twins volunteered to HYDRA to be experimented on by Wolfgang von Strucker (Thomas Kretschmann). The twins survived and, as a result, had their superpowers. Pietro and Wanda spend most of Age of Ultron‘s runtime helping Ultron (James Spader) but when they learn he wants to destroy humanity, defect to the Avengers to help destroy Ultron. Pietro is eventually killed in the final battle, dying from gunfire aimed at Hawkeye and a young Sokovian boy.
How Does Evan Peters Figure In?
So, Evan Peters as Quicksilver. Let’s talk about it.
Peters has been playing Quicksilver for much longer than Taylor-Johnson, not just in terms of chronological time but also in terms of the number of movies he’s appeared in. Peters first appeared as Quicksilver in 2014’s X-Men: Days of Future Past. This version of Quicksilver was introduced as Peter Maximoff, a high school kid who liked to use his super-speed for delinquent purposes. Quicksilver was recruited by Professor Xavier (James McAvoy) and Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) because his unique skill set made him the perfect additional asset to help jailbreak Magneto (Michael Fassbender). There is more of a nod toward the possibility Quicksilver is Magneto’s son in Days of Future Past than in any other Marvel movie, and that parentage is outright confirmed in later X-Men movies. Peters went on to play Quicksilver in two more X-Men franchise installments: 2016’s X-Men: Apocalypse and 2019’s X-Men: Dark Phoenix.
Despite appearing in three X-Men movies, Peters’ version of Quicksilver was mostly reduced to what I call the “Extremely Supporting Character.” This is a character who is mostly there to round out group scenes and who occasionally pops up for a moment or two to remind you that yes, they’re still here! Oh, and if it’s a superhero movie, they sometimes get to remind you of how cool they are by getting a sequence to showcase their cool powers. For example:
Like Magneto and his erasure from Wanda and Pietro’s MCU backstory, Peters’ Quicksilver is part of 20th Century Studios’ X-Men franchise which means his version of the character doesn’t exist in the MCU. As such, it has generally been accepted that this character would cross over into the MCU due to the various intricacies of rights. So, the character was recast with Taylor-Johnson for the MCU’s Age of Ultron.
This is the primary reason Peters’ appearance in “On a Very Special Episode…” is so shocking. It is a bold move for Marvel Studios to make. Granted, 20th Century Studios is now a sister company of Marvel’s, but since the former studio was acquired by Disney and despite Marvel head Kevin Feige‘s confirmation that some 20th Century Marvel characters would be coming into the MCU (like the Fantastic Four), fans generally assumed this would be much further down the line. And even then, it was never confirmed that the actors who originated those 20th Century Marvel characters would reprise their roles in the MCU.
Is Evan Peters the MCU’s Quicksilver Now?
Because Peters’ involvement in WandaVision has been kept under wraps for the entirety of the time leading up to this episode’s release, we’re still processing what this actually mind-blowing revelation might mean going forward. Right now, there are a few solid theories we have about how exactly WandaVision will explain Peters showing up in Episode 5.
Theory A: Peters’ Quicksilver Is a Meta Wink
There is a chance that WandaVision is toying with us. Meta casting is commonplace in television, so it could be the case that WandaVision is making a similarly knowing decision here with Peters doing a “wink-wink, nudge-nudge” cameo as Quicksilver. If this is the case, Peters’ role in the fictional WandaVision sitcom could be explained away by revealing Peters to be another real person who was sucked into the anomaly and who is now under the influence of Wanda’s magic, like the other residents of Westview. However, in the case of Peters’ character, he has been “recast” to play a sitcom version of Wanda’s late brother and will not appear in Quicksilver’s form if the anomaly is destroyed.
Theory B: This Is a Multiverse Crossover
It is also possible the appearance of Peters’ Quicksilver at the end of “On a Very Special Episode…” is our first case of multiverse shenanigans. If this were the case, then his character would have found a way to cross from one version of Earth to another, thus opening up the MCU to the rest of the multiverse. It should be noted that as the Quicksilver reveal plays out, Wanda looks genuinely stunned to see her brother somehow back from the dead — and also too stunned to comment that he looks completely different. (Given that by this point she’s given a monologue to Billy and Tommy about the feeling of grief and not using magic to bring back the dead, it seems unlikely she would have orchestrated her own brother’s return from the dead for the sake of a sitcom fantasy.) Also, as Darcy watches from the S.W.O.R.D. base camp, we hear sirens going off. These are the same sirens that went off when Wanda emerges from the anomaly to confront Monica and Hayward, which means another perimeter breach has occurred. All of this implies that Peters’ Quicksilver is legitimately the same Quicksilver from the X-Men franchise and he’s somehow crossed between worlds for reasons yet to be revealed.
Theory C: Peters Is Now the MCU’s Quicksilver
The third option we’re currently considering is that Marvel Studios has recast the role of Quicksilver and decided to retcon his past so that he can return to the MCU for good. If this is the case, then WandaVision would likely show that in addition to Peters’ recasting as the MCU’s Quicksilver being a meta nod to the actor’s time in the X-Men world, he is effectively helping to “reboot” Quicksilver with a fresh start beginning with this WandaVision cameo. Should this prove to be true, then fans could expect to see Peters’ Quicksilver pop up in future MCU projects. It also could imply that there is no intention to introduce the multiverse just yet and that Peters’ appearance is a singular event.
There is still a lot (seriously, a lot) of explaining that needs to be done regarding Peters’ appearance as Quicksilver. Once we have the how’s and why’s of Peters’ WandaVision role sorted out, we’ll get a better sense of just how long he’s going to stick around.
WandaVision episodes 1 through 5 are now available to stream on Disney+. New episodes of WandaVision air every Friday. For more, find out what’s coming to Disney+ in February.
But I am still running around sniffing plants for some reason.
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