This post may contain some minor SPOILERS
Today sees the release of X-Men: Days of Future Past, the latest film about Marvel’s team of mutants (you can read my review of the film over at Toronto Film Scene). As many people who have already seen the film can attest, the breakthrough character in the film is Pietro Maximoff, aka Quicksilver, who is played by American Horror Story’s Evan Peters. The character’s key ability is that he can move at supersonic speeds, which includes a completely show stealing sequence in the film. However, Quicksilver has also been announced as a character in next year’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, where he will be played by Kick Ass’ Aaron Taylor-Johnson. In this case, the character’s connection to the X-Men universe won’t be mentioned and the character will be appearing with his sister Scarlet Witch, who will be played by Elizabeth Olsen.
With Quicksilver being such a star attraction of X-Men, how will anybody be able to watch the same character in Avengers with fresh eyes? Let’s take a look at the history of how this tale of two Quicksilvers came to be and examine whether or not these two interpretations of the same character can co-exist.
I should probably start with the casting itself, since coincidentally Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Even Peters were co-stars with each other in Kick-Ass (though Peters’ role was recast in Kick-Ass 2). Even though Aaron Taylor-Johnson wasn’t cast until later, Quicksilver was first announced as a character for Avengers: Age of Ultron, with Joss Whedon confirming the character’s inclusion in an interview with IGN, dated May 17, 2013. A mere week later, Bryan Singer posted the following tweet:
Quicksilver has an interesting comic lineage, since he is indeed associated with both X-Men and The Avengers. In the comics, he’s actually the son of Magneto, of which there’s a tongue-in-cheek reference in Days of Future Past. However, despite debuting in X-Men comics, Quicksilver (and Scarlet Witch) eventually settled as members of The Avengers. As such, it isn’t that unusual that Quicksilver is appearing in both movies. However, the double casting still created a bit of a fan controversy, especially since Bryan Singer apparently originally posted a (now deleted) tweet, which directly referenced Avengers. In fact, in a recent interview with TotalFilm, Days of Future Past writer Simon Kinberg talks about this controversy and Quicksilver’s future in the X-Men franchise:
Then there’s the look…
I usually don't get nerd rage over this sort of thing, but Quicksilver looks so damn stupid in X-Men: Days of Future Past.— Matt Mosher (@mtmosher) January 27, 2014
When Empire Magazine unveiled their 25 Collectable Covers for X-Men: Days of Future Past, it introduced many to the look of Quicksilver in the film, which differed greatly from the comics version. Instead of short white hair and blue spandex with lightning bolts, the Quicksilver from Days of Future Past has shoulder-length bluish-grey hair, goggles, and a silver jacket. Obviously, as the tweet above demonstrates, this look was not well received by the fanboys. On the flipside, some set photos have surfaced online of Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s version of Quicksilver from Avengers: Age of Ultron. While this interpretation undoubtedly looks closer to the comics, he still doesn’t look perfect. In fact, in some ways, the Avengers Quicksilver looks a lot more like an Emo kid, especially with the beard and partial dye-job.
However, when it comes down to it, the look of a character is less important than the execution. Even though he doesn’t look exactly like the Quicksilver of the comics, Evan Peter’s performance still steals the show in X-Men: Days of Future Past. Even though the character is only part of a prison break sequence in the second act, the character’s sense of humour really makes Peter’s performance as Quicksilver a joy to watch. The character is probably as close the series has gotten to matching the breakthrough success of Nightcrawler in X2: X-Men United, more than a decade ago.
We are still about a year from the release of Avengers: Age of Ultron, so only time will tell if these two interpretations of Quicksilver can co-exist. One thing that’s for sure is that Aaron Taylor-Johnson has a huge task in front of him. One only wonders what it would have been like if Avengers came out before X-Men, since it might have reversed the opinions of Quicksilver. However, as it currently stands, Evan Peters is the definitive Quicksilver, with the character already confirmed to return in 2016’s X-Men: Apocalypse.