(Some spoilers ahead for “WandaVision” through the series finale episode)
One thing that Marvel is usually very good at is fan service. Despite being as leaky as a sinking ship in terms of its plot, “Avengers: Endgame” worked for fans by delivering an ending that a lot of folks felt was very emotionally satisfying. But this whole thing with Pietro on “WandaVision” doesn’t feel like it can work on that level.
Why? Because Evan Peters showing up on “WandaVision” represented the potential realization of something that fans have long been excited about: the incorporation of mutants — the X-Men — into the MCU. But it also put something bigger in play. Since Evan Peters had played Pietro in the “X-Men” movies, we though that the studio might also somehow incorporate the cast of the Fox “X-Men” franchise into the MCU.
It made sense. We knew this phase would incorporate the multiverse into the MCU in a big way. Evan Peters showing up on “WandaVision” got fans excited because it seemed like it might be the start of that potential crossover (made even more possible since Disney acquired Fox in 2019).
But it wasn’t. It wasn’t anything except Marvel messing with us. It was Marvel dangling a carrot in front of us, and then finally letting us take a bite — and then we find out the carrot was made of wood.
Instead of having any real significance whatsoever, Evan Peters’ “WandaVision” character was just some random guy named Ralph Bohner who lived in Westview and got roped into Agatha’s scheme to mess with Wanda and steal her powers. He’s nobody.
And that’s very, very frustrating.
This isn’t the first time Marvel has trolled fans with a character reveal like this. They did something similar way back in “Iron Man 3.”
Back then, Tony Stark was still alive (albeit suffering from some severe PTSD), the movie was exploring a fan-favorite comic arc with Extremis and we were going to meet The Mandarin, an iconic supervillain in Marvel lore. Only, as it turned out, he wasn’t actually The Mandarin.
His real name was Trevor Slattery, and he was an actor hired by Aldrich Killian to serve as a scapegoat for the Extremis misfires that everyone was mistaking for suicide bombings. Slattery was just a drunk, absolutely oblivious to what his “character” was taking credit for.
To Marvel’s credit, this was a chef’s kiss kind of trolling. Slattery’s acting was Oscar-worthy — unsurprising, considering he was literally played by Oscar winner Ben Kingsley — and he fully sold the villain act. Then came the reveal of his true identity, which was just too funny to be mad at.
But this thing with Pietro on “WandaVision” is different, and less amusing. Marvel teased something very, very big for the future of the MCU by having Evan Peters show up as a fake Pietro. But then it pulled back the curtain and there was actually nothing there. Just a bit of stunt casting to get everyone’s hopes up.
This is one of a few parts of “WandaVision” that, now that we can consider the full and finished product, is pretty disappointing. But this one probably hurts the most.
At least we can rest easy knowing Marvel can’t hold back the multiverse forever. The next “Doctor Strange” movie literally has that word in the title, and it’s expected that “Loki” and “Spider-Man: No Way Home” will also delve into those waters.
But this Pietro thing wasn’t just about the multiverse. It was about the arrival of Mutants in the MCU, and the return of a cast that everybody liked in the “X-Men” movies even if the movies themselves weren’t always so beloved.
It seemed to good to be true, and it turned out that it really was. But it doesn’t feel great to have that prospected dangled in front of our faces just for the lulz.