Just when you thought that you could sleep soundly at night, knowing exactly how and where you favorite Marvel characters will appear on the big screen, along comes Bryan Singer to throw a spanner in the works.
When we work up this morning, everything was just as it was when we went to bed the night before. We could be confident that the first appearance of Marvel’s Quicksilver would be during Avengers 2. After all, Joss Whedon officially confirmed that the speedy mutant and his sister Scarlet Witch were part of his first draft of the sequel last week and he seemed very exited to bring them to the big screen.
It also seemed like we had an answer to our who owned the rights to the disputed characters. As any old school comic book reader could tell you, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch are the son and daughter of the mutant terrorist, Magneto, who is the main enemy of the X-Men, which firmly ensconces the characters in the mutant universe, whose rights are owned by 20th Century Fox. However, the characters have spent more time as members of, or often times an opponents for, the comic book Avengers, which would mean that Disney/Marvel Studios also has a strong claim to them. Even though Kevin Feige had said that both studios would have equal right to the characters, surely Whedon staking claim to them would cause Fox to stay away from them, right?
Um, well, about that…
— Bryan Singer (@BryanSinger) May 23, 2013
Okay. Let’s not panic. Let’s try to talk through this.
Let’s start with what is rumbling across the internet as a pleasant bit of wishful thinking: that this is the first step to establish continuity between all Marvel properties at every studio that has them. This is certainly an exciting idea, like winning the lottery or dating a supermodel. But probably just as likely.
You can’t blame fans for going there. After all, look at the way Singer phrases his tweet. But let’s talk logistics. From what we know about Days of Future Past, it takes place in the 1970s and a dystopian present and/or future. It seems like the Quicksilver Singer is using is a teen (because the 26-year-old Evan Peters is a bit long in the tooth to play a grade school aged kid). If Quicksilver is in the 70s part of the film, that would make him in his 50s in the present day. A little too old to be Saoirse Ronan’s brother in Avengers 2.
If Quicksilver appears in the present/future portion of Days of Future Past, then him being the twin brother of Ronan is definitely more plausible. But this part of Singer’s film appears to be smaller than the part set in the past, and, in my opinion, would be waste of actor with Peters’ talents. And, as anyone who saw his work in American Horror Story can attest, Peters can do the edgy with the best of them. However, the American actor might have more difficulty pulling off rumored the “Euro” requirement of the role, especially in comparison with the Irish Ronan. This leads me to believe Singer did not consult Whedon on his casting choices.
Of course, there could be another reason for Quicksilver being added to Days of Future Past–it’s a way for Fox to screw with Marvel/Disney. Perhaps its residual bad blood over Marvel trying to get Galactus off them last year.
The film has been in production for over a month, which is an odd time for them to be announcing new characters/cast members. Not completely unheard of, as there are many reasons why it could be done. Maybe Quicksilver was in the script all along and they had a hard time casting it. Or maybe they were just waiting for Peters’ schedule to clear up. But it’s highly unlikely that Marvel would not know about Quicksilver being in the film before they made their own announcement if that were the case. .
So it seems like it was a late addition to the film. Perhaps even after Whedon hinted Quicksilver was part of Avengers 2 at the Iron Man 3 premiere? If so, you can’t help but see a little bit of malice in that move.
This will be problematic for Marvel in many ways. One, there is a rumor sometimes associated to the rights for these characters that which ever studio uses them first is the one that ends up owning the rights to them. While Marvel ANNOUNCED their use of Quicksilver first, Fox’s Days of Future Past will be in theaters months before Avengers 2. If that rumor is true, Quicksilver might be be Fox’s and Marvel will have to rearrange their plans.
But even if that rumor isn’t true, Marvel might be forced to rethink including Quicksilver in their film. The Quicksilver “brand” will be diluted if a different version of the character comes from each studio, which would deter any spin off films or merchandising. And Marvel/Disney likes their merchandising! Add to that the fact that you’ll have to cast and write the character so that there is enough difference the Avengers version and the X-Men version. But even with that, there will be people confused if they have to Quicksilvers in two different Marvel superhero films.
The best case scenario is the one where Marvel’s film kingdom is united. However, cynic that I am, I get the feeling this might be the first salvo in a war between the kingdoms instead.
UPDATE: Drew McWeeney at HitFix addressed/confirmed the “war of the kingdom” theory of mine. He also adds that Singer has “designed a sequence” that would “only work with Quicksilver.” I would love to know what that sequence entails. Hopefully it is an emotional tête-à-tête between father (Magneto) and son (Quicksilver) and not just a special effects shot involving super speed. Because that would work with at least two other mutants (Northstar/Super Sabre) that I know of.