Is there any way this Quicksilver Thing can end well for anyone involved? It sounds like a clusterfumble waiting to happen.

If you’re living your life well, you may not have any idea what the Quicksilver Thing is, and bless your heart. I live my life very badly indeed (just the lifetime metric of how much Cinnamon Toast Crunch I’ve eaten is enough to make God question His own creating skills) so I can provide you with a brief, accurate-enough-for-gossip summary:

  • On April 24th, going through what I assume is the excruciating gauntlet of “entertainment reporters” (what other kind is there anymore?) at the Iron Man 3 premiere, Joss Whedon hints at adding a “brother/sister act” from the comics into Marvel’s The Avengers 2: The Speedball Protocol.
  • On May 17th, an interview Whedon gave at the ABC upfronts comes out in which he explicitly names the brother and the sister. Like everyone instantly guessed, he is talking about Wanda and Pietro Maximoff and not Power Pack.
  • This is all good and well. This is something to keep in mind, somewhere, for the two years between now and the movie actually being written down and then filmed. BUT!
  • Six days later, X-Men director Bryan Singer struts on over to Twitter and casually lobs this chum bucket into the shark tank:20130527-223529.jpg
  • The explicit mention of the other franchise seems… let’s go with “provocative.” Perhaps that is why the tweet is deleted faster than you can say “don’t poke the bear” and replaced with something more bland and benign.

Singer is well within his rights. 20th Century Fox has the movie rights to the X-Men, and by extension Marvel’s mutants, up to and including any who happen to be Magneto’s kids. Fox is not giving them up any time soon. This bears emphasizing: I constantly see armchair moguls blogging, “Why don’t stupid ol’ Disney just buy back the X-Men and Spider-Man? Dang,” as if these blogging people have never bought or sold anything in their entire lives. Fox is happily making money on the mutants; they are not selling the goose as long as golden eggs keep falling out of it. Disney can no more buy them back than you can ring my doorbell unannounced, hand me a check for my house, and give me till the end of the month to get out. I like it here.

At the same time, Marvel’s well within its rights, too. They own the Avengers, up to and including any who happen to have been born mutants. [Editor’s Note: The people we’ve spoken to with knowledge of the situation have indicated that this may be true only for certain characters, and Quicksilver and The Scarlet Witch were always the two that were mentioned well before this while situation came about.] The Avengers just have to be racially sensitive and not bring that up on screen, which any workplace diversity workshop will tell you is a good idea anyway. Technically, the characters can be used by both franchises as long as neither one mentions the other. (The Skrulls have this same problem, by the way, did you know that? Fox owns the Fantastic Four and their villains, but the Avengers have a rather famous history with the greenies as well. This will probably never come up, but still! The more you know.)

Anyway. For a bunch of meek filmmakers doing comic book movies, the whole thing seems weirdly confrontational, especially if you’re as prone as I am to reading into such things without being burdened with any knowledge of what I’m talking about.

Whedon publicly called it first, but Singer is already making his movie and has already cast his Pietro. Singer’s movie will be out almost a year before Whedon’s which, to average moviegoers blessed enough not to concern themselves with any of this dopey nonsense, could drop a decent-sized “hunh?” right in the middle of Whedon’s movie. “Waitaminute: wasn’t there a Speedy Pete in the one we saw last summer? Weak.”

Stranger things have happened.

Stranger things have happened.

Nobody seems to be changing their plans. With all of this being five days old and hypothetical, though, I don’t envision anyone on either side being able to think, “Boy, it was a good thing we did that” in 2015. Has anybody told Bryan Singer about Northstar?

Would it help if they both used the same actor? Could they even do that? If both studios own their Quicksilver’s likeness, and the likenesses are identical…?

And we haven’t even gotten to the big question at the heart of all this: all of this is coming to a head… over Quicksilver?


I mean… he’s fine. Peter David did some fun stuff with him twenty years ago. He probably has fans, who are themselves fine people. I just… I don’t see anyone wanting to even spend much time around that character, much less go to the passive-aggressive mattresses over him.

Your fancy, big-city lawyers have a term: “test case.” Sometimes, people do things just to get a precedent on the books and establish how these sorts of things get handled from now on. I’m not saying anyone’s trying to do that with Quicksilver (of all people!) but that may end up being how this is remembered anyway. This is as good an opportunity as any dip a toe in the water and see how well everyone shares this universe with one another. There’s money to be made, after all.

We all know it’s just a matter of time, right? Unless these movies start tanking like lead catamarans, eventually a studio exec is going to look up and see a big brass ring labeled Avengers vs. X-Men. When that happens, it’ll be rights, shmights; if the best way to squeeze the final nickel out of Freddy Krueger involves having him fight Paramount’s Jason, then by God, Freddy will fight Jason. Someone will present an Internet petition to Kevin Feige at some San Diego panel, the guys at Fox will get dollars in their eyes, and this crossover will be on 4,000 screens the following summer. It will be a bloated, character-choked flaming mess that obliterates the entire genre in a sixteen million-color CGI orgasm and gets us back to renting personal indie dramas again.

And we’ll have Quicksilver to thank for all of it.


Jim Mroczkowski just works here.


  1. Quicksilver is actually one of my favorite mutants, so the more Quicksilver on the big screen the better, as far as I’m concerned.

  2. Yeah, Peter David was definitely the best Quicksilver writer. When I first heard they were being used for Avengers I thought, “Maybe just Wanda?”

    Though I guess if Iron Man bows out at some point he’d be a good replacement arrogant guy for the team.

  3. So, technically… Marvel Studios could cast Wolverine in any of their movies as long as no mention is made that he’s a mutant?

    Technicalities… *sigh*

    PS: Your final comment made me crack up something fierce! Well played! 😉

    • Yeah I wonder how that works. Like could Marvel say, “I wish we could use Cyclops” and then add him to an Avengers team in the comics to therefore be able to use him in an Avengers film? Or is it any characters who had been Avengers at the time of the contract signing?

      And is it just THE Avengers or ANY Avengers team? Do West Coast, New, Secret, Dark, etc. count or just THE Avengers?

      Interesting technicalities indeed.

  4. This article made me laugh out loud at least three times. Well written Jim!

    • From what I understand, the “race” to get Quicksilver (and Scarlet Witch, I suppose) is that whoever uses them first gets rights to those characters. So could Fox sue Disney over breach of contract should Whedon use them after First Class 2? Or maybe slap them with a licensing fee?

      I also wonder if Whedon may slip Quicksilver into an early episode of the new Shield show. Or maybe a last minute cameo in the Thor movie coming out this fall. That could be a clever way to head Fox off at the pass.

      Personally I’d love for a Ray Nicolette situation to take place. Michael Keaton played the character Ray Nicolette in both Jackie Brown and Out of Sight. Those films were made by two entirely disconnected filmmakers, and produced/distributed by two completely different studios. Maybe if Fox/Disney can come up with some compromise, we could have the same actor in this situation as well… imagine the good will this would foster with the fans!

    • Sorry, meant that as a general comment, not a reply.

    • I think the difference with Ray Nicolette is both studios were buying the rights to a specific book and all characters in that book to be used in a film adaptation. I doubt, for example, either Universal or Miramax could have done a Ray Nicolette spin off film.

    • Same here. Much like in House of M, Quicksilver will be the culprit in a dystopic reality, in which everybody gets what they want but nobody is truly happy about it.

  5. if this does mean we get more personal indie drama on the screens then i won’t complain. i can only take so many ‘splosions anyway.

  6. This is gonna end with Marvel deciding to screw with DC and putting Fast-Forward in the Avengers: http://www.hyperborea.org/flash/quasar.html

  7. There is a smaller, only mildly-related precedent for having the one actor play the same character in two movies from different production companies.

    In 1997, Michael Keaton played ATF Agent Ray Nicolette in Jackie Brown (produced in part by Miramax/Disney). In 1998, Keaton played the same guy in Out of Sight (produced in part by Universal). Out of Sight and Rum Punch (the novel from which Jackie Brown was adapted) were both authored by Elmore Leonard.

    I don’t know any of the details about how this came about, but Keaton’s roles in both films were pretty small, and it appears he’s uncredited in Out Of Sight. My guess is that Tarantino and Soderbergh got to chatting at a party while both films were in pre-production and one thing led to another. And Keaton’s always seemed like the kind of guy that would forego a credit to be a part of something unique like that.

    All that said, it’s unlikely that Quicksilver is going to be an uncredited bit part in Avengers 2 or Days of Future Past, so… whatever. But still, a small precedent.

  8. Funny article, for once I’m on the exact same page as Jim. Why can’t Singer just use Northstar, same basic power set. Technically tho Quicksilver already appeared in “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”, I don’t know if people are ignoring that or just unaware but I’m 99.99999.% sure he was in there. Don’t know how that would affect Quicksilver being in the Avengers tho.

    If the story can’t have Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch (Does nobody care about her? Come Whedon, I expect this from Singer but not you!) be the children of Magneto then my interest is almost nonexistent. Even in “The Ultimates” them being on the team was just a running gag that they saved the day when nobody was watching (I stopped reading after issue 1 of Vol.3). Also, Quicksilver’s name is PIETRO MAXIOFF but I’m 99% sure Evan Peters is white. Not a big deal, but it irks me regardless.

    I think it all likelihood this is just to see how the future cases will workout when both companies want to use the same characters. I’d rather go with them in Avengers tho, Singer had years to give Magneto kids and he didn’t.

    And about a movie version of “Avengers vs X-Men”, no. Just no. It would be the 3-D of superhero movies.

    • I’m pretty sure Pietro is white in the comics. Magneto is German and his mother was, I believe, a made up Marvel nationality. I don’t recall what it was exactly but if I remember correctly she was a gypsy from a fictional country. However, a quick google search shows Pietro as an Italian name so I don’t know exactly what that means.

    • I’m not sure what you mean about Quicksilver’s real name informing his skin color? He’s always been portrayed as a white guy in the comics. And as far as I know, Pietro is the Italian/Portugese version of Peter, and Maximoff implies some kind of Russian/Eastern-European background. All of which spells white guy to me.

      That said, given the unlikelihood of Magneto ever becoming a Marvel Studios property, I say go ahead and race-bend Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch to up the diversity level — as much as I love the first Avengers movie, EARTH’s mightiest heroes sure were a lot of white folks!

    • @USPUNX: You got me again.

    • @ken: hahaha, we have to stop meeting like this.

      Totally agree with you about changing Peter and Wanda’s ethnicity. Why be bound to the comics so rigidly? The Avengers could desperately use some diversity!

    • I just find it ironic you favor making Quicksilver white to add diversity to the Avengers.

      I like Evan Peters as an actor, he’s good. However in “X-Men Evolution” (cartoon series) and “House of M” I thought both clearly presented Quicksilver as Hispanic. I liked that, maybe because I assumed Pietro wasnt a European name. Look Im in favor of race-bending for diversity, IE a black Human Torch in the FF reboot or Donald Glover in the past Spider-Man reboot, but this feels like a step in reverse to me. Maybe I’m missing something.

      I’m not really a purist, it’s not gonna ruin Avengers 2 if Quicksilver is white and maybe I haven’t been paying attention enough but I’ve never seen him portrayed as white. I’ve never thought of him as white either, but like I said it only irks me alittle.

    • Ehh, I may have misread @UsPunx and @KenOchalek’s comments the first few times. I think we’re mostly on the same page. I googled it and what I got was Quicksilver is European and was born in Romania I think. But most seem to say he’s a white guy, so I guess I never paid attention to that. I was happy thinking he was Hispanic. I think if we really want diversity we’re gonna have to hope Falcon and War Machine eventually join the roster. Or that’s my hope, that War Machine takes Iron Man’s place when RDJ retires the character.

    • Yup we’re definitely on the same page. I always assumed Quicksilver was white based on his name and parentage when I read him in comics but I think it would be a good idea to change his ethnicity in the films to add some diversity to The Avengers roster.

    • I suspect that if the next Captain America movie does well, the Falcon will very likely be joining the Avengers in “Avengers II.” If Marvel doesn’t add some color (and I don’t just mean green) to the Avengers franchise, they will get a ton of criticism.

    • @Invasionforce, yea Falcon’s future kinda depends on Cap’s sequel but I’m looking forward to that movie so I’m optimistic. However, the Avengers are sort of a new concept right now and so I kinda doubt racial criticisms are gonna be thrown anytime soon. Look at X-Men, as far as I know 1-3 and “First Class” had all white teams (points for including women and blue people in the last 2). There is Storm, Darwin, and Angel (from “First Class”) however Darwin was killed off and Angel turned evil. So Storm kinda looks like a token black character to me if I understand the premise correctly. My long winded point, Avengers are probably safe right now but could really use some color (and as you said, not just green).

  9. If it were the Flash I could see all the attention…

  10. It’s funny because I’m sure it isn’t unclear at all in the contracts because for it to be unclear would mean that big companies screwed up basic intellectual property licensing. I’m sure there is an Appendix A to the license that has a big long list of character names. And then there is some use-it-or-lose-it diligence language. Maybe if the license is extra fancy, the characters are lumped into tiers where Marvel would have said, “We know you’ll make movies with Wolverine in them, but at some point, if you don’t use these minor characters like Scarlet Witch, you should have to give them back to us.”

    I’d just be really really surprised if the list of characters is something as vague as, “Licensed Characters means all members of the X-Men and any characters associated therewith.”

  11. What’s annoying about Singer using Quicksilver is that he has admitted that he is going to use him for ‘an action scene or two’ and nothing more. So he’s going to be, like most mutants in X-Men films, a one-note character who will be integral for a key moment in a mash up. That’s so annoying because you know Whedon will do some character work even if he won’t be the big draw of an Avengers movie.

    I know FOX isn’t going to get rid of X-Men or Spider-Man if they keep making money….But Disney has to think of a way to get them back for their films. You know some big wig in a suit is wondering they could make even MORE money by having Hugh Jackman and Robert Downey Jr. in the same scene.

    • What makes u so certain Whedon would do anymore “character work” w/ Quicksilver than would Singer? Especially since he turned a major character like Hawkeye into a glorified movie extra in avengers 1

    • @r_boyette: I would say @TheNExtChampion’s statement comes from a long history of Singer films. It’s true, Whedon poorly used ONE character in Avengers but Singer has “turned major a character into a glorified movie extra” many times in his trilogy. In fact I would go so far as to say Storm is practically an extra in all three X-Men films. The only X-Men Singer ever bothered to actually develop were Wolverine, Cyclops, Professor X, and sort of Iceman in the second one. Everyone else was just along fro the ride.

  12. Given Pietro & Wanda’s particular background as avengers, I think that this is more of a non-issue than people are pretending. I for one see no problem with two actors playing the character, even if they’re both appearing in versions of the classic silver/green costume and trademark hairstyle, since I’m almost positive the two films are set in different periods. For example, we have still in days of future past prof. X cast as a spritely young fellow, and although I’m not 100% on the potential details of DOFP I would assume it (mostly) takes place in our past. Given that fact, what is wrong with having one character appear as a younger rendition of the version occurring in avengers? It could even be a positive draw for Avengers’s audience to see a character they’ve recently been acquainted with to then appear at the height of his abilities in what will very likely be the bigger theatrical event.