With X-Men: Days of Future Past crossing the $380 million worldwide box office mark this weekend, it’s safe to say that a vast majority of the geek population has already seen the new X-Men movie. While some people have problems with the movie’s time travel logic, I think we can all agree that one of the best aspects of Days of Future Past is the introduction of the mutant Peter “Quicksilver” Maximoff, played by Evan Peters.
Quicksilver has been one of the most popular characters from the X-Men comic books that has yet to appear in a feature film, but within almost a calendar year, the character will appear in Days of Future Past and The Avengers: Age of Ultron. While the character will be in both movies, from two different movie studios (mind you), they will be played by two different actors with Peters in the X-Men movie and Aaron Taylor-Johnson in Age of Ultron.
Considering that we have yet to watch Age of Ultron, we can only go by the really high bar Bryan Singer has set for the character of Quicksilver in Days of Future Past. The prison escape sequence from the film is clearly one of its high points, as it’s reminiscent of the Nightcrawler assassination attempt scene from X2: X-Men United. It’s a scene that conveys a lot of information about the character and shows off Singer’s way of staging and executing a visually dynamic action sequence. It’s almost a shame that Quicksilver quickly exits the film after that point, but Singer and the film’s writer Simon Kinberg has promised more of the character in X-Men: Apocalypse in 2016.
While I was watching Quicksilver in Days of Future Past, I thought to myself that it’s going to be very hard for Joss Whedon to top the character for The Avengers: Age of Ultron. Overall, Whedon shouldn’t watch Days of Future Past and we should try not to compare the two iterations (The key word there is “try”).
The Quicksilver Situation
Not since Sean Connery and Roger Moore played the character of James Bond in the same year in 1983’s Never Say Never Again and Octopussy, did the same character appear in two different movies, from two different competing movie studios, played by different actors. It was possible for the James Bond series to allow for two different James Bonds because of the rival producers involved, Jack Schwartzman and Kevin McClory for Never Say Never Again, and Albert R. Broccoli for Eon Productions for Octopussy.
While Roger Moore’s Octopussy is official James Bond canon, Never Say Never Again gained a lot of viewers and box office revenue in 1983 because audiences just wanted to see Sean Connery play Agent 007 again, ostensibly, in a movie that is a remake of Thunderball. The Quicksilver situation is very similar to the competing James Bonds with Days of Future Past being the licensee to the Marvel brand and Age of Ultron being the real deal. It seems like audiences won’t care either way, just as long as what they’re watching on the screen is thrilling and exciting.
No Miracles For Mutants
Director Joss Whedon promised that Age of Ultron would be bigger than the original Avengers movie with a bigger cast of characters. The addition of Quicksilver and his twin sister Wanda “Scarlet Witch” Maximoff, played by Elisabeth Olsen, has already rattled the cages of fan boys (and girls) and the lawyers at Twentieth Century Fox. While Fox has carte blanche to use any characters in the X-Men universe, Marvel Studios is taking advantage of a loophole in the license with Fox. Marvel can use any characters that are officially in The Avengers, like Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, as long as they're not being referred to as mutants or the offspring of Eric “Magneto” Lehnsherr. It’s a gray area that Marvel and Whedon are fully taking advantage of, which is why in the post-credits sequence at the end of [Captain America: The Winter Soldier](movie:254973), Hydra’s Baron von Strucker refers to Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch as “The Age of Miracles,” or “Registered Gifted,” (as it is believed Marvel Studios would also refer to mutants) and NOT mutants.
Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch will play bigger roles in Age of Ultron, as Whedon explained to Jimmy Fallon on the Tonight Show:
“One of the problems I had on the first one [The Avengers] was everybody basically had punchy powers... [Quicksilver]'s got super speed. [Scarlet Witch] can weave spells and a little telekinesis, get inside your head. There's good stuff that they can do that will help sort of keep it fresh."
He elaborated to Empire Magazine: "I fiercely dislike the idea of just throwing in more people for the sake of doing that. Last time I had all of Earth's Mightiest Heroes versus one British character actor, and I needed more conflict."
While the terms “Age of Miracles” and “Registered Gifted” might imply a possible Inhumans movie as well, it’s clear that Marvel Studios wants to tackle mutants in their cinematic universe without feeling the wrath of Fox’s lawyers. We’ve already seen one Quicksilver in action and he’s pretty damn crowd-pleasing and fun, while it’s really unclear how Joss Whedon’s and Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s Quicksilver will play out on the big screen. We’ve only got a small glimpse of Quicksilver during the post-credits sequence of Captain America: The Winter Soldier and zipping around a prison cell doesn’t seem as fun as Fox’s Quicksilver.
It’s easy for audiences to draw comparisons, but if Marvel and Whedon want to top Fox, then they have to do it without watching [X-Men: Days Of Future Past](movie:203942). When a creative voice like Joss Whedon sees something like Fox’s Quicksilver, it might hamper their vision of bringing the character to the big screen. It’s artistic and creative suicide! From Buffy The Vampire Slayer to Firefly, Joss Whedon has built a career on the idea of doing his own thing. He shouldn't stop creating his own visions to compete with the X-Men movies' hottest new character. While [The Avengers: Age Of Ultron](movie:293035) will hit theaters in less than a year, Fox has the upper hand with Quicksilver and it looks like they’re not going to quickly give up the higher ground.