Note: This article contains huge spoilers for episode five of WandaVision
Well, this is X-citing.
Marvel may have just changed the game of the entire MCU with a shock twist at the end of this week’s fifth episode of WandaVision, even after last week’s complete about-turn. What started as an enjoyable sitcom parody has now become something which could set the blueprint for everything Kevin Feige has planned on his top secret whiteboard at the top of Marvel Towers.
The episode ends with Elizabeth Olsen’s increasingly frantic Wanda appearing to lose control of her constructed reality, just moments after defiantly facing off SWORD agents outside the Westview bubble. Paul Bettany’s Vision is beginning to work out that something isn’t right with the life he can only barely remember and he challenges Wanda, even when she tries to roll the credits and refresh the situation.
Their conflict intensifies until the doorbell rings, with Wanda claiming she was not responsible for interrupting their row. When she answers the door, the man behind the ding-dong is her brother, Pietro. But this is not the return of Aaron Taylor-Johnson, who played Quicksilver in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Instead, Wanda has “recast” her brother, with Evan Peters — aka the X-Men universe Quicksilver — appearing as Pietro. After stealing the show in X-Men: Days of Future Past and subsequently showing up in Apocalypse and Dark Phoenix, Peters has made the shift to the MCU.
Watch: Mid-season WandaVision trailer
This opens up a galaxy — or a multiverse, if you will — of possibilities. Of course, Marvel Studios acquired the rights to the X-Men characters when Disney purchased 20th Century Fox in 2019. Since then, speculation about mutants encroaching into the MCU has been consistent, despite Feige’s protestations that it should be a while before these characters are incorporated into the wider plans. It seems the timetable has been accelerated.
But what does this actually mean?
The short answer is that we don’t know much yet. The smart money is on this being the first foray into Marvel’s upcoming multiverse. We know that Elizabeth Olsen is going to appear in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, and it seems as if her reality-bending powers are intimately linked to the notion of the multiverse. This Pietro, quite possibly, is from another universe, existing simultaneously and bleeding into the one we know.
The question then is whether Wanda is fully in control. Monica Rambeau’s declaration last week that “it’s all Wanda” when it comes to Westview might not be completely true. Wanda certainly seemed surprised to see her brother again, though we didn’t get enough time to deduce whether she was extra shocked to see him wearing the face of the fella from American Horror Story. Perhaps someone else is pulling the strings? Speculation is swirling that Machiavellian villain Mephisto could be about to make an appearance, and Grim Reaper has been rumoured as well.
Whoever is in control within the story, it’s Kevin Feige who’s the puppet master behind the scenes. And now that he has shown willingness to blur the lines between the MCU and the X-Men world — not to mention the returning Sony villains showing up in Spider-Man 3 — the sky is very much the limit when it comes to the future. Feige’s toybox is packed with shiny new things, and he wants to play with them.
Read more: Tom Holland reveals ambition of Spider-Man 3
It’s unclear whether this is a case of the floodgates opening, allowing the likes of Wolverine, Storm and Charles Xavier into the MCU, or a one-off nod for fans in the context of an already wild story. Whatever happens next, though, this shows Marvel has plenty of fuel still in the tank after vanquishing Thanos and closing the book on the Infinity Saga.
WandaVision is airing new episodes weekly.
Watch: Inside the future of the X-Men franchise