We Need To Talk About Wanda Maximoff. Spoilers.

Film Sort of. Maybe? The reveal at the end of this week's Wandavision was trending on the Twitter within a few hours and there are already hundreds of blog posts and Youtube videos on the topic. But, goddamit I haven't been this excited since the last big thing which happened in a vertical multimedia conglomerate franchise and sometimes you just have to get your ideas on monitor (no not that one) even if they're tired and unoriginal. You will not see anything interesting here. This might as well be a large space created by some line space html or whatever bloated mess this new editing system on Blogger uses to create gaps in text.  

Spoilers.  Obviously.

As you might expect its about that appearance of Evan Peters as Pietro.  Some of the more mainstream areas of the media are already suggesting that we're seeing the first appearance of the X-Men in the MCU with the implication that they're sticking with the same casting as the Fox films after all and blah blah blah even though it's been pretty well established that when and if the X-Men turn up in the MCU they'll be recast and presumably recharacterised to more tonally fit what that actually means.  Because why would you not?  Why should Kevin Feige and pals be stuck with whoever Matthew Vaughn or Bryan Singer have chosen?

Here's my theory.  Thanks to Disney gobbling up Fox, Disney+ now carries a whole bunch of MARVEL films not set in the MCU including both Fantastic Four and X-Men.  Click on the MARVEL logo and there they are now listed as "Marvel Legacy Movies".  Some casuals might not necessarily know that there's much of a difference between the franchises, but there they are, they exist and in their own way part of MARVEL cinematic history, for better or worse along with whatever Sony and New Line Cinema (now owned by Warners) have made (not to mention the various TV shows).

They could just leave that content out there but again, when the MCU does produce their own version they have to be special in their own way.  One of the problems with both Sony and Fox's approach is in their persistence to recast and reboot, there's been diminishing returns.  In a better structured version of that the X-Men franchise, Days of Future Past would have been the final word, but instead we were given two lesser sequels which couldn't measure up to that masterpiece (especially in its extended form) which only went on to do more damage to the integrity of the franchise.

Instead, with what we've heard about in relation to Spider-Man: Something Something Home and the next Doctor Strange film's title I think Phase Four across media is going to be about establishing these other franchises as part of a multiverse, of making them "count" and Peter Maximoff from the X-Men universe is only going to be the first of numerous cameos and visits to these other worlds which means, much as is the case in the Whoniverse, everything happened.  All of it.  Every adaptation of a MARVEL property from Japanese Spider-Man to The Incredible Hulk.

Yes, yes, Into The Spider-Verse is a great movie and so was the comic it was based on which did pretty much the same thing as I'm proposing and I'm aware of the "why bother?" attitude.  But the philosophy of the MCU is that everything is connected and this whole business feels in keeping with that.  On a business level it's a win-win.  However much Peter is developed in Wandavision, it's a way of pushing viewers towards films they might not previously have thought about catching up on (although I assume the crossover audience between these different franchises has to be pretty big).

Unless all of this is wishful thinking and Aaron Taylor-Johnson hasn't replaced Evan Peters by the end of the next episode, a mistake having been corrected.  Or he simply gets popped away again for being anomalous.  But it doesn't feel like you'd cast Evan Peters and he would agree to do the role if there wasn't some other great narrative afoot.  The pace and presentation of the reveal doesn't stack up.  When a comic book ends with a page size reverse shot of its hero entirely surprised by someone standing on their doorstep, that someone is always of substantive import, not often ignored or side-lined in the following issue.

Something which is also probably irrelevant but I can't stop thinking about is how similarly structured Wandavision and the latterday X-verse films are.  Just as WandaVision's sitcom diegesis is seemingly skipping through the decades from day to day, the X-verse film starting with First Class are each set in a different decade even though its characters barely age.  Despite having been born in the 1950s, Peter Maximoff looks much the same as he does in Days of Future Past as Dark Phoenix, set about twenty years later.  It's handwaved off as something to do with the mutant gene but what if it was as a result of the hex energy seeping into the other reality?

All of which is the paraphernalia of gossamer thin fan theorism but the central point to all of this is that for those of us wondering how the MCU was going to work post Endgame, we can see that we're heading into a series of stories potentially just as ambitious as the first three phases if not more so.  At a certain point this evening, I was so hyped up about this, I began to consider if it might include other Disney properties, if the Doctor Strange film will feature appearances from the Star Wars or live action fairy tale franchises, Stephen doing battle with a Mandalorian or Maleficent.  God, I love this stuff.  More please.

[Updated after episode six]   Gah, now I don't know.  Maybe?  Between Tom Holland saying that neither Toby Maguire or Andrew Garfield are in Spider-Man 3 and the suggestion that Evan Peters is playing a zombie version of the MCU character so his whole casting might actually nothing more than a reference to recasting in sitcoms I'm starting to doubt the whole premise of this blogpost.  

So either something completely wacky is going to happen in the next couple of episodes, or we're heading for something akin to Russell T Davies's time on Doctor Who when we'd all be thinking of some incredibly intricate and complex reason for a thing and it actually turns out to be much, much simpler.

Nevertheless, this doesn't discount the idea that Steve Strange won't turn up at the end of episode eight and on seeing Even Peters and knowing that he's from another reality (with the added bonus of Bandersnatch Cummerbund saying words like "mutant" and "X-Men") realising that something has gone terribly wrong with the multiverse leading into the next Doctor Strange film.

Just an added thought.  The final moments of the introductory film of each MARVEL phases has presented the greater theme of the rest of the phase: Iron Man closed with the start to the formation of the Avengers.  The multiple suits at the close of Iron Man 3 prefigured Ultron's army.  Captain America: Civil War ended with Steve's phone shaped olive branch and they only defeated Thanos when they worked together.

[Updated after the finale]  Huh, huh, huh, huh, she said boner.

Lockdown Links #8

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Fatherland: Limited Edition Blu-ray - Notes on an Essay:
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Non-geographic postcodes:
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Lessons from A Pandemic Anniversary:
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Dungeons & Dragons Has an Antisemitism Problem:
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