Wandavision: Disney Just Gave Fox the Finger
There’s a chance that you haven’t been watching the mind-bending new Marvel TV show Wandavision, in which case you should go and watch the first five episodes. Right now.
Good, everyone caught up. Now you all know that Wanda Maximoff – the Scarlet Witch of The Avengers – has warped reality to create an idyllic, sitcom style life for herself and her descended robo-snugglebunny Vision. Both Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany reprise these roles and really get the chance to flex their acting skills with the more complex depiction of these characters. This is a problem for the newly revealed agency SWORD, as Wanda has trapped an entire town in her fantasy.
The most recent fifth episode, following on the reveal of what is happening here, just landed with an amazing twist. We got Agent Jimmy Woo from Ant-Man and the Wasp (Randall Park) and Darcy from Thor (Kat Dennings) trying to get through to Wanda to put a stop to all this. This sudden twist revealed some big things for the MCU and was a very unexpected treat and is quite possibly a half-decade long petty revenge scheme against 20th Century Fox.
Lets go back around ten years. The Avengers is a massive hit, defying all expectations and launched a movie franchise the scale of which we had never seen. The big question on people’s minds is which characters will be joining the team. Marvel and Disney proudly reveal that classic Avengers heroes Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch are the big reveals, played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Elizabeth Olsen. This was exciting stuff…unless you work for 21st Century Fox and produce the X-Men franchise. You used to helm the biggest superhero movie franchise in the world, and you’ve just been given a second lease of life by X-Men: First Class. You decide that you need to talk to your copyright lawyers.
You decide to do this because you know there’s some overlap between the X-Men and The Avengers within the Marvel universe. Wolverine and The Beast are best known as X-Men, but they’ve both been members of The Avengers are long stretches of time. Captain Marvel and Rogue have significant connections between them. Who gets to have which characters? When licenses are purchased these details need to get ironed out. So you talk to your lawyers and learn that yes, you also have the right to include Quicksilver in your films.
But X-Men: Days of Future past is already in production! We can’t get ahead of The Avengers on this one…Disney is going to steal Quicksilver out from under you! Checking the film schedule you see that the sequence where Juggernaut is recruited to break Magneto out of prison hasn’t been shot yet. You contact Josh Helman and tell him he’s not playing Juggernaut, he’s going to be Willaim Stryker instead, and then you start looking for a Quicksilver. You know the MCU Quicksilver as the lead in comic adaptation Kick-Ass, maybe you can cast the guy who played his mate? The guy from American Horror Story?
Evan Peters gets the part, they film the scene and get X-Men: Days of Future Past into cinemas before Age of Ultron. Not only that, your new Quicksilver scenes are praised as a high point of a well received entry into the series. The X-Men Quicksilver is generally regarded to be the better version. He becomes a mainstay of the series and a fan favourite. Avengers Quicksilver is killed off almost immediately, possibly because of the unexpected competition. All is well.
So long as Disney isn’t quietly plotting revenge. A long, overwrought revenge plan that will not only destroy the X-Men franchise but take from it their precious Quicksilver. Because if they can’t have a Quicksilver, no-one will…
21st Century Fox is in trouble. They’re struggling financially. The last X-Men movie was a poor effort and your next two are in the midst of troubled reshoots. Your most popular actors, including Evan Peters, want out. The friendly face of Disney is at the door, and they have an offer to buy you out.
The X-Men franchise is fizzling out, and all the assets have been bought by Disney. This puts them in the hands of the same rights holders as The Avengers. What will happen? Maybe some of the characters will move across, maybe they’ll be rebooted. There have been no announcements amid the deluge of new titles dangled before our eyes. We know there’s going to be a Deadpool 3, but that’s it. Imagine our surprise when Quicksilver turns up in Wandavision and it’s not Aaron Taylor-Johnson but Evan Peters.
What is happening? Is this the introduction of the Multiverse? We know Scarlet Witch will have a role in Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness and we’re seeing villains from previous Spider-Man franchises are making a return. Perhaps this is just a fun little reference for fans, and Wanda has ‘recast’ Quicksilver using a resident of the town. A bit of stunt casting, as it were.
Maybe Disney has been planning this for years, and the purchase of Fox, along with the X-Men, and the concept behind Wandavision, all of it is just revenge for the undercutting of their Quicksilver character. Every business and creative decision made in the past 7 years has been a way to get petty revenge over a copyright loophole.
We don’t want to make any accusations without proof…but that is absolutely what happened.