WandaVision may be over, but Marvel fans still have a lot of questions about the series' ending and what it means for the MCU going forward. Fortunately, there have been plenty of interviews with the show's cast and crew over the last few days that have provided clarity on various aspects of Disney+'s first Marvel outing.
One thing that many viewers were left disappointed by was the final episode's reveal that "Pietro" — as played by X-Men actor Evan Peters — wasn't actually the real Quicksilver, or even one from an alternate universe. Rather, he was simply a man named Ralph Bohner whose house was taken over by Agatha Harkness upon her arrival in Westview.
"PIETRO" FROM THE DIRECTOR'S POINT OF VIEW
In an interview with podcaster Kevin Smith, WandaVision director Matt Shakman addressed the backlash against the show's Quicksilver fakeout, telling the story of how a random stranger sent him an angry text about it and how "playing with expectations, turning things around, is always enjoyable."
“Just out of the blue, no idea who the person is, sent me this tirade of like, ‘Didn’t you guys learn from Iron Man 3 with the fake Mandarin?’ and my first takeaway was [how] that was my favorite part of Iron Man 3, when Ben Kingsley came out of the bathroom saying, ‘Don’t go in there!’ I was like, ‘This is amazing!’
Trevor, the fake Mandarin, was fantastic. Playing with expectations, turning things around, is always enjoyable, and what I would say to the Marvel fan who’s a little disappointed that the X-Men didn’t show up, or the multiverse didn’t show up clearly right there, is that they’re coming. You know they’re coming, right? You’ve got a movie called 'Multiverse of Madness.' You’ve got mutants announced at Comic-Con a year and a half ago. Like, they’re coming. And guess who else is coming? The Mandarin is coming! He is [going to be] the villain in Shang-Chi! So your patience will be rewarded.”
Shakman went on to explain the rationale behind "Fietro", referring to the character playing an important role in showcasing how Wanda is "willing to bargain with herself," as part of dealing with her grief.
“But what we were doing — yeah, Aaron Taylor-Johnson could’ve been there at the door, and then I guess he would have been the puppet of Agatha. But we already have a loved one brought back, really, from the dead, in Vision, right?
So what’s more interesting, what grief does to us, that allows us to accept a face that is unfamiliar to us, and to roll with that, as unnerving that it may seem. Because Wanda, again, this is bargaining, right? Here we are, in the stages of grief. Like, she’s willing to bargain with herself in a way [that’s] like, ‘yeah, I want my brother back too, so I’m willing to accept that this is not the face that I remember.'"
There was also a genre-inspired element to the change in the Pietro actor. As Shakman notes, "there is a whole great tradition of that in sitcoms."
It’s a meta-[commentary], you know, he’s been recast, he’s, you know, Dick Sargent instead of Dick York [in Bewitched]; he’s the second Darrin. There is a whole great tradition of that in sitcoms. And to top it all off, this is Evan Peters. He’s a great actor; he’s a brilliant actor, he’s so funny. And like everybody else in this show, capable of doing anything, from comedy to drama, and everything in between, and all of it at the same time. And to have him show up as ‘Uncle Jesse’ [a la Full House] and disrupt this family [was] really fun. And in the end, you know, people would’ve been asking us, ‘Who’s Ralph?’ if we hadn’t answered that [question].”
PLAYING WITH EXPECTATIONS
Fans may be eager for some of their favorite comic elements to come to life onscreen, but the MCU isn't a direct adaptation of the comics and there are going to be times when a project's creative team twists some beloved characters and storylines around a bit to make it their own thing.
In this case, the inclusion of the fake Pietro in WandaVision was to highlight Wanda's grief and how she wanted to believe her brother had come back so badly that she was willing to accept an unfamiliar face in the role.
As Shakman points out, though, this twist won't stop things like mutants and the multiverse actually coming into play in the MCU. Evan Peters could easily be brought back as a Quicksilver from an alternative universe (as could Aaron Taylor-Johnson). Just like with the Mandarin, the door is very much open for the "real" versions of these elements to become part of the franchise.