The latest episode of WandaVision surprised audiences with its last-minute reveal, and how it was done captures the MCU theatrical experience.

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for WandaVision Episode 5, “On a Very Special Episode…,” now streaming on Disney+.

In a move that nobody saw coming, the final moments of WandaVision’s fifth episode“On a Very Special Episode…,” saw the surprise appearance of Wanda’s twin brother, Pietro Maximoff, a.k.a. Quicksilver; however he wasn’t the original character from the MCU. This appears to be the Fox X-Men version of Pietro, played by Evan Peters, rather than Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s version of the character from Avengers: Age of Ultron. This shocking moment was, in true sitcom style, accompanied by a round of audience applause, which in a way, mimics the typical Marvel movie-going experience, where audience reactions play a big part in what makes MCU screenings major events.

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WandaVision Captures The MCU Theatrical Experience

WandaVision - Evan Peters as Pietro

The very last moments of the episode accurately capture the full spectrum of the audience’s expected reactions. Those who are familiar with the Fox X-Men franchise would have been ecstatic to see Peters’ Quicksilver once again, while those who are not may have had the same reaction as Darcy, who was shocked to see that Wanda’s speedster brother was recast as an unfamiliar face. As the MCU’s Pietro was previously played by Taylor-Johnson, the dramatically different look of Peters’ version would have caused those unfamiliar with his past portrayal to be just as confused as Darcy seemed to be.

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The reaction from fans has long been a major part of the movie-going experience, particularly for Marvel films. This was especially pronounced with the release of 2019’s Avengers: Endgame, where a slew of audience reaction videos were subsequently released, capturing the moments where the crowd was in shock due to surprise reveals and exciting sequences. There is nothing like sharing the same moment of shock-and-awe with hundreds of other fans, and this wasn’t just the case with Endgame, but with many other Marvel films as well.

WandaVision Bridges the Gap Between the Disney+ and Theatrical Experience

With the coronavirus pandemic still leaving most theaters closed, the current state of movie-going will see the audience reactions and experience to be quite different. While upcoming MCU films such as Black Widow are still expected to be released in theaters, it is unknown when hundreds of fans can once again pack into a theater to experience the latest Marvel film, and until then, the Disney+ series are the closest that many fans will get to the quintessential MCU experience for quite some time.

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As a series, WandaVision manages to expertly bridge that gap between the television and theatrical MCU experience, primarily due to its sitcom format. Laugh tracks and audience reactions have long been a staple of sitcom programs and are intended to engage the viewers at home and make them feel like they are a part of the audience. In a time where fans have been left without any MCU content for a whole year, these reactions help to remind the audience that the MCU has returned, and it brings them back to a time when they could experience the films with hundreds of others.

This is likely unintentional on the part of Marvel Studios; however, the decision to use audience reactions and a sitcom format not only brings the theatrical MCU experience into the home, but it serves as a tangible – if artificial – reminder of the MCU’s popularity. Out of all the episodes released so far, no moment makes this more clear than the reactions of both the audience and Darcy to Quicksilver’s entrance, which perfectly mimics the reaction of fans in a more traditional theatrical MCU experience.

Written by Jac Schaeffer and directed by Matt Shakman, WandaVision stars Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch, Paul Bettany as Vision, Randall Park as Agent Jimmy Woo, Kat Dennings as Darcy Lewis, Teyonah Parris as Monica Rambeau and Kathryn Hahn as Agnes. New episodes air Fridays on Disney+.

KEEP READING: A WandaVision Guide: News, Easter Eggs, Reviews, Recaps, Theories and Rumors

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