WandaVision blew Marvel fans' minds with an unexpected cameo in its fifth episode, "On a Very Special Episode." That cameo (which may or may not be expanded on in future episodes) could have significant ramifications for the X-Men's future in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. (SPOILERS for WandaVision's "On a Very Special Episode" follow.) In the third episode of WandaVision, Monica Rambeau recalled the death of Wanda Maximoff's brother, Pietro, during the battle with Ultron in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Wanda then cast Monica out of Westview, but she dwells on her twin's death again in the latest episode when talking with her twin children, Tommy and Billy.
At the end of the episode, Wanda's argument with Vision is interrupted by a knock at the door. She answers and finds Pietro standing outside. But it isn't the Pietro from Avengers: Age of Ultron, played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson. It's the Quicksilver of the X-Men movies, played by Evan Peters.
This isn't a case of merely replacing one actor with another, as Marvel Studios has done in the past with James Rhodes (Don Cheadle replacing Terrance Howard) and Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo replacing Ed Norton). Those changes went uncommented on by the other characters in the MCU. Watching on her monitor from SWORD's base camp, Darcy Lewis sees Pietro's appearance and remarks that Wanda seems to have "recast" her brother, signaling her awareness that this Pietro does not look like the previous Pietro. Yet, Wanda recognizes him as her brother, struggling through her momentary confusion and calling him by his name, albeit with some uncertainty in her voice.
This marks the first time that a character from the X-Men movies universe has appeared in the Marvel Cinematic Universe canon, though it likely won't be the last. Ryan Reynolds will reprise his role as Wade Wilson for a third Deadpool movie that will be a part of the MCU. We also know that Kevin Feige had discussions with Patrick Stewart about reprising his role as Professor X from the X-Men movies in future projects.
We also know that Marvel's Phase 4 plans involve the multiverse and that WandaVision will lead into the upcoming film Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Marvel Studio's third Spider-Man movie reportedly brings back actors from Sony's two previous Spider-Man universes.
The prevailing theory has been that Deadpool will jump realities from the X-Men timeline to the MCU. That's not a significant hurdle for as self-aware and meta a character as Wade Wilson. The live-action Spider-Men meeting is assumed to be a Spider-Verse situation where Tom Holland's Peter Parker meets his predecessors in a tribute and celebration of Spidey's cinematic history. But Evan Peters' appearance in WandaVision suggests that whatever barriers separate one reality from another in this burgeoning Marvel Cinematic Multiverse may be more porous than assumed.
It calls into question the assumption that Marvel Studios will reboot and relaunch the X-Men movies at all, as it seems to be doing with the Fantastic Four. But the FF's cinematic history has been comprised of no more than a handful of critically-panned films. For all the criticisms fans may have of them, the X-Men movies have a 20-year legacy behind them and more mainstream successes than failures. Peters' appearance suggests that Marvel Studios may choose to build on that legacy rather than washing it away and starting fresh.
Feige's conversations with Stewart suggest that Marvel Studios at least considered bringing the star back as Professor X. Feige also keeps in contact with James Marsden, who played Cyclops in the X-Men movies, and Alexandra Shipp, who plays Storm, still seems to feel a personal connection to her mutant character. It is possible, though far from guaranteed, that we may see more legacy X-Men movie characters popping up in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. What role they'd play is anyone's guess. Perhaps Marvel Studios plans to visit the X-Men movies timeline occasionally, or maybe it plans to go as far as to bring the young X-Men cast from the X-Men: Apocalypse and Dark Phoenix over to the Marvel Cinematic Universe for another run. Whatever Feige's plans turn out to be, it seems clear now that Marvel Studios won't forget Marvel's first genre-defining franchise now that it is under Disney's ownership.
What do you think Marvel Studios has in store for the future of the X-Men? Let us know in the comments. Disney+ debuts new episodes of WandaVision on Fridays.