Although Marvel Studios has a vast library of characters to use in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, there are still many heroes and villains that they don’t have the film rights to, thanks to a period of leasing them out to other studios (specifically the X-Men, Spider-Man and Fantastic Four_. Quicksilver, however, is a rare character who actually has two cinematic homes. Because of his time with both the X-Men and the Avengers in the comics, both Marvel and 20th Century Fox are allowed to use the character. This creates a unique situation of having two different versions of the same character running around on the big screen essentially at the same time.
Last year we met 20th Century Fox’s Quicksilver, a.k.a. Peter Maximoff, in X-Men: Days of Future Past, played by Evan Peters. In May, though, we’ll meet the MCU’s version of Quicksilver, a.k.a Pietro Maximoff, who will be played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson in Avengers: Age of Ultron. You may feel tempted to guess that what we’ll wind up seeing is a carbon copy of the same thing in Joss Whedon’s blockbuster, but that actually couldn’t be further from the truth. There are actually some very big differences between these two adaptations of the character, and we’ve outlined them here:
Their Relationship With Scarlet WitchWhen watching X-Men: Days of Future Past, many guessed that the young girl that Quicksilver was holding while watching the events in Washington DC unfold was actually his sister Wanda, but that turned out to be a bit of a misconception. There’s always the possibility that she could show up in a future movie, but so far we have yet to meet the X-Men Cinematic Universe’s version of Scarlet Witch.
This, however, is much different in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which will see Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s Quicksilver and Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlet Witch introduced at the same time and as tight as two siblings can be. Various reports have suggested that the two of them have encountered hardship all their lives together, and in Quicksilver’s case, this has resulted in him being overly protective of his sister. While X-Men’s Quicksilver functions as a solo act, it looks like the MCU’s Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch are a permanent duo. And since Elizabeth Olsen and Aaron Taylor-Johnson have signed multi-picture deals, we’ll likely be seeing the two of them together through most of their appearances in the MCU.
Their Home CountryWhile seemingly trivial in comparison to some of the more emotional and physical aspects about Quicksilver featured in both the X-Men universe and the MCU, where each one’s version of the character is from is actually a noteworthy difference. In X-Men: Days of Future Past, Quicksilver is living in the United States, and aside from that off-hand comment to Magneto about his mother previously dating a guy who could control metal, there’s no hint of his ancestry being anything but American (if Magneto is his father, though, that means that he’s part Polish).
That script will be very much changed in The Avengers: Age of Ultron, which is taking greater inspiration from the comics in its approach to the Pietro Maximoff character. In the text, both Quicksilver and his sister hail from the fictional Eastern European country Transia, and while the exact origins of their MCU counterparts have not yet been revealed, it has been confirmed that they will be from that region. Expect some interesting accents.
Their AllegiancesLike Evan Peters’ Quicksilver, Aaron Taylor’s version is expected to eventually fight for the forces of good in The Avengers: Age of Ultron, but there have been some very strong indications that there is a long road to get to that point. It doesn’t take much to convince the X-Men Quicksilver to help out his fellow mutants, although admittedly they did pander to his ego by offering him the chance to break into the world’s most secure building.
However, Avengers’ Quicksilver and his sister won’t be fighting alongside Earth’s Mightiest Heroes at the start of Joss Whedon’s film. It’s been confirmed that the twins will be working with Ultron during the movie, specifically to take revenge on Tony Stark - who they believe to be responsible for the death of their parents. When this relationship goes south, it’s likely that they’ll end up seeing the error of their ways and team up with the Avengers near the climax to stop the megalomaniacal robot.
Their PersonalitiesThis category is a bit tougher to judge considering that we haven’t seen any footage of the Avengers Quicksilver talking just yet – but both footage and interviews with Aaron Taylor Johnson have suggested that this latest adaptation of the character will have a very different kind of personality. When we meet the Avengers Quicksilver, he’ll have quite a big chip on his shoulder…okay, several chips. Having lost his parents and lived a tough life with his sister, Pietro Maximoff has been described as having "real anger frustration."
The X-Men Quicksilver, on the other hand, was much more a light-hearted prankster. Aside from stealing everything from street signs to a Pong machine, he never caused any real harm. He has his own set of issues, but he’s not dealing with issues anywhere near as serious as his Avengers: Age of Ultron counterpart seems to be. In fact, as the breakout character of the film, he provided the most laughs, especially during that slow-motion Pentagon sequence. Both have one thing in common with their personalities, though: their speed makes extremely impatient.
Their CostumesIt’s important that both studios established a unique look for their individual Quicksilvers to distinguish them from their competitor. For X-Men: Days of Future Past, Peter Maximoff wore a shiny silver jacket, a 70s-style fat belt with his music player attached and goggles - which came in handy while running fast through the food stuffs in the Pentagon kitchen. There was a lot of criticism directed at his clothing, though in the end that had no bearing on the heaps of praise he earned.
The Avengers: Age of Ultron Quicksilver’s costume, however, looks much more low-key. The color scheme is reminiscent of what he wears in the comics, but it’s basically what looks like a breathable running shirt worn with a pair of jeans (although that’s not to say that he won’t eventually get an actual superhero costume like the other Avengers). Everyone will have their own opinions about which costume is more appealing, but X-Men’s Quicksilver certainly lives up to the ‘silver’ part of his name more than his MCU counterpart.
The Speed EffectsQuicksilver is the most well-known speedster in the Marvel universe, but when it comes to the two cinematic Quicksilvers, their powers will be represented differently from a visual standpoint. Other than that great slow-motion sequence, X-Men: Days of Future Past’s Quicksilver’s was mostly the standard "whooshing" effect that we’ve seen in other superhero projects, i.e. the brief burst of wind while they suddenly move from one place to another. To draw comparison with a fellow mutant, it looked almost exactly the same as Callisto’s speed in X-Men: The Last Stand.
That will apparently be very different from what’s in The Avengers: Age of Ultron, as from what little footage we’ve seen of Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s Quicksilver, when he runs extremely fast there is a blue blur following him. It’s almost like an aura surrounds him as he runs, producing a glistening trail effect. Personal preference will dictate which one looks better, but the big question is who is faster than the other? Are they equally powerful, or does one have an edge over the other?
Only One Of Them Is A MutantHere’s the main difference between both versions of the characters: as part of their contract with Marvel, 20th Century Fox owns not just the cinematic rights to the various X-Men characters, but also basically any character defined within Marvel Comics as a "mutant." So while Marvel Studios may be able to use Quicksilver and his sister for their own purposes, they’re unable to refer to either of them as mutants within the context of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This, of course, leads to a bigger question.
While it’s easy to explain that X-Men’s Quicksilver was born with his speed, it remains a mystery how Avengers Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch developed their powers. Many have speculated that they will be changed to Inhumans, who seem to be functioning as the MCU’s genetic anomalies, however, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige stated last year that the Inhumans (specifically their then-rumored solo movie) and the twins are not linked (though it remains to be seen whether he’s telling the truth). Thankfully, there are only about three more months until moviegoers find out how exactly this version of Quicksilver can run so fast.