What that 'WandaVision' cameo means for the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe

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Elizabeth Olsen stars as Wanda Maximoff in “WandaVision” on Disney+.
Disney

Kevin Feige warned us that the Marvel series on Disney+ would have implications for the greater Marvel Cinematic Universe. And he’s kept that promise.

On Friday, the fifth episode of “WandaVision” arrived on the streaming service, bringing with it a major cameo that has left viewers with a lot to ponder before episode six arrives next week. The reveal not only has ramifications within the sitcom-based TV show, but for the entire Marvel universe… or should I say multiverse.

Now would be a good time to look away if you haven’t seen the most recent episode of “WandaVision.”

**Spoilers ahead**

The fifth episode, titled “On a Very Special Episode…,” our ragtag team of FBI Agent Jimmy Woo, Dr. Darcy Lewis and Captain Monica Rambeau inch closer to understanding the Westview anomaly. 

Meanwhile, Vision, still part of the simulation, but now set in the ’80s, grows more and more suspicious of the world around him. Neighbors have begun to act strangely, his twin sons age at their own will and his wife, Wanda, while attempting to dismiss his concerns, only causes them to grow.

Just as the newly minted husband and wife are set for a superpowered argument, the doorbell rings. Wanda, confused by this twist, answers. Standing on the front door is Pietro Maximoff, just not that Pietro Maximoff.

Elizabeth Olsen stars as Wanda Maximoff in “WandaVision” on Disney+ with special guest Evan Peters as Pietro Maximoff.
Disney

It’s Peter Evans, not Aaron Taylor-Johnson that appears on the other side of the door. The actor portrayed the mutant Quicksilver in several X-Men films, which up until 2019 were owned by 20th Century Fox.

It’s hinted that Wanda had not planned to bring her brother into her sitcom simulation. After all, only a few scenes prior Wanda refuses to bring her sons’ deceased puppy back from the dead.

“You can fix anything mom, fix dead,” one son remarks. After declining, even nosy neighbor Agnes, who is theorized to be pulling at least some of the strings of Wanda’s simulation, asked if she actually could do that. 

“I am trying to tell you that there are rules in life,” Wanda explains to her two boys. “We can’t just rush aging because it’s convenient and we can’t reverse death no matter how sad it makes us. Some things are forever.”

This statement sparks two questions: Is Vision dead or has Wanda (or someone else) brought him back? And Did Wanda bring back a different Pietro accidentally or did someone else?

Both will likely be answered before the credits roll on the final episode in just a few weeks. 

Already, audiences have gotten glimpses of what happened prior to the Westview anomaly early in the episode when Wanda appeared on security camera footage stealing Vision’s body from a secret lab. And there are likely plenty of Easter eggs yet to be uncovered that provide more clues.

Welcome to the multiverse

So, what about this new Pietro?

Before Disney acquired Fox’s entertainment brands in a deal worth $71 billion, the two studios made an agreement. Disney could use Pietro and Wanda Maximoff, but could not make reference to them being mutants or being the children of Magneto. It’s why in “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” Wanda and Pietro derived their powers from an infinity stone and not genetically.

Keen viewers might have noticed during Friday’s episode that when Tyler Hayward, the director of S.W.O.R.D., asked if Wanda had a moniker like some of the other Avengers it was said that she did not. Wanda has never been called Scarlet Witch in any of the MCU movies.

As for Fox, the studio was permitted to utilize Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch in its films as long as it did not make any references to the Avengers. In fact, Evans’ Quicksilver goes by Peter and not Pietro.

Elizabeth Olsen stars as Wanda Maximoff in “WandaVision” on Disney+ alongside Paul Bettany as Vision.
Disney

In recent months, rumors have circulated as Marvel executives have hired some familiar faces to return in future MCU films.

Disney has already confirmed that Jamie Foxx will return as Electro, from “The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” which featured Andrew Garfield as Spider-Man. And Alfred Molina, who portrayed Doctor Octopus during Tobey McGuire’s turn as the famed webslinger, is also confirmed as appearing in the film. 

Benedict Cumberbatch’s Dr. Strange is also set to appear.

There has been speculation that other characters from the MCU, or even from the previous iterations of Spider-Man, will join the cast, but Disney has not confirmed these rumors.

The return of Pietro in the form of Evans signals that Marvel is already on its way to exploring the multiverse. This was teased during San Diego Comic-Con in 2019 when Marvel announced that the Doctor Strange sequel would be called “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.”

For those unfamiliar, the Marvel multiverse is just a fancy way of saying a collection of alternate universes. They are similar in nature to each other, but have slight variations. It’s a very popular concept in comic books, as it allows writers to reinvent characters and storylines for new generations.

Marvel Studios

With Wanda already confirmed as part of the Doctor Strange sequel and Doctor Strange part of “Spider-Man 3” it’s no surprise that Marvel is sprinkling bread crumbs early. After all, the seeds of the infinity stones show up in “Thor” and “Captain America: The First Avenger” long before they are named as such.

Marvel used the mind, power, reality, soul, space and time gems over the course of a decade, using them to weave in new characters and situations that ultimately led to “Avengers: Infinity War” and the highest-grossing film of all time “Avengers: Endgame.” 

Introducing the multiverse in “WandaVision” works on multiple levels for Disney. Not only are they setting a path for future MCU movies and shows, the company is also making its streaming content must-see television. Fans have to watch these shows if they don’t want to miss out on plotlines or character introductions that will be integrated into feature-length films.

“WandaVision” may have been the first Marvel project to debut since “Spider-Man: Far From Home” in July 2019, but it won’t be the last in 2021. On Disney+, it will be quickly followed by “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” in March, “Loki” in May and the animated series “What If…?” in the summer.

Theatrically, Marvel is set to debut “Black Widow” on May 7, “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” on July 9, “Eternals” on Nov. 5 and its co-produced “Spider-Man 3” on Dec. 17.

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