With WandaVision in the air on Disney Plus, the Scarlet Witch’s family is front and center — but isn’t there someone we’re forgetting? There’s Wanda, the Scarlet Witch herself. There’s her loving husband-robot, the Vision.
And then there’s Pietro Maximoff, Wanda’s brother! But are we talking about the cool kid with the goggles who saves everyone in the X Mansion? Or the guy in Under Armor and frosted tips from Avengers: Age of Ultron?
Let’s take a quick Quicksilver refresher course, as his presence remains essential to WandaVision, whether or not he’s in the picture.
Who is Pietro Maximoff, aka Quicksilver?
Pietro is Wanda’s twin brother. The two were born in Sokovia, a small, made-up Eastern European country. At the age of 10, their parents were killed using Stark weaponry, engendering them with a deep hatred for Tony Stark. Out of hatred for Iron Man and the Avengers, and a desire to wield the power to liberate their war-torn country, Pietro and Wanda volunteered for a dangerous Hydra experiment that exposed them to energies from Loki’s scepter.
The Mind Stone within the scepter gave Pietro and Wanda their superpowers. She got a mysterious suite of psionic powers that allow her to warp reality, and he got ... super speed.
How did Quicksilver die?
Pietro died in the same movie in which he was introduced, saving Hawkeye and a Sokovian child from a hail of Ultron-fired bullets. He was fast enough to move Clint Barton and the boy to safety but apparently not to dodge the bullets himself.
Quicksilver has not appeared in an MCU property since, not even in flashbacks.
Why are there two Quicksilvers in Marvel movies?
To unpack this, we need to unpack some Marvel Comics history and some Marvel movie history. It was not too long ago that 20th Century Fox held the film license for the X-Men and all related characters, preventing Marvel Studios from including mutants in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
At the time, Wanda and Pietro were mutants in the Marvel Comics — the twin children of Magneto, the mutant master of magnetism. But they were mutants who occupied a strange grey area. Although they were introduced as villainous members of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, the two had spent the majority of their editorial existence as reformed members of the Avengers than either as members of the X-Men team or as X-Men villains.
Marvel and Fox agreed to share custody, so to speak. Marvel could use Wanda and Pietro so long as they never mentioned mutants or Magneto, and Fox could use them so long as they never mentioned the Avengers. But, of course, studios don’t want to create extra publicity for a competitor. So when Fox’s X-Men: Days of Future Past introduced Quicksilver in a big way, it seems likely that Marvel decided to dispose of their own Pietro as quickly as possible, in order to give Wanda top billing.
Over at Marvel Comics, a similar “no free publicity” edict was enacted in 2015’s Uncanny Avengers, when Wanda and Pietro went on a weird adventure and discovered that they weren’t mutants at all! They were regular human twin babies who’d been experimented on by the High Evolutionary (a mad scientist with even more pretensions than usual) and then disguised as mutant children. For reasons!
Even though Marvel has recouped the film license to the X-Men through Disney’s acquisition of 20th Century Fox, Wanda is still considered one of the great enemies of Mutantkind in current Marvel Comics, bearing the overwrought moniker of the Great Pretender. Comics Wanda’s reputation was destroyed by corporate licensing. And MCU Wanda’s brother was killed by the same.
In the lead up to Wandavision, rumors swirled that Aaron Taylor-Johnson, who played Quicksilver in Age of Ultron, would make an appearance in the series. They have also swirled that Evan Peters, who played Quicksilver in Fox’s X-Men franchise, is making an appearance in the series. And in the fifth episode of WandaVision, we got a big hint about whether any of those rumors are true.
[Ed. note: The rest of this piece contains spoilers for WandaVision up through episode 5.]
OK, so it wasn’t so much a hint as a full confirmation: Evan Peters, the Quicksilver of the X-Men movies, showed up unannounced at Wanda and Vision’s door at the end of this week’s episode, referring to himself as Wanda’s long-lost brother. Darcy was given the in-universe language for what was literally happening on screen: They recast Pietro.
The episode ended swiftly after, dropping the metatextual joke without much indication of where this bizarre plot development is going from here. Is this how Marvel Studios plans to incorporate the Fox X-Men? Is it just an in-joke for X-Men fans?
Ultimately, WandaVision is expected to eventually tie in to 2022’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, and where the Multiverse is involved, anything goes. Pietro’s “recasting” might be our first glimpse of what’s to come.