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Recasting of WandaVision’s Pietro was to pay homage to Bewitched and a classic sitcom trope

Quicksilver
Elisabeth Olsen and Evan Peters in Wandavision Pic credit: Marvel

Director of WandaVision, Matt Shakman, has clarified that recasting of Pietro as Evan Peters was meant as a homage to the classic sitcom trope of changing an actor without explanation.

Warning: This article contains SPOILERS for the entire first season of WandaVision.

While WandaVision was well-received by MCU fans, one point has been a bone of contention: The casting and the true identity of Wanda’s seemingly resurrected brother Pietro.

Director Matt Shakman has clarified that the entire recasting of the role was not only meant to showcase Wanda’s feelings but, like much of the series, pay homage to a classic sitcom trope.

Pietro’s surprise return in WandaVision

One of the first truly shocking moments of the series was the end of episode 5 when Wanda opened the door to her home to find her brother Pietro aka Quicksilver, standing there.

Her shock was natural given that Ultron’s drones had killed Pietro in Avengers Age of Ultron, and his death had weighed particularly heavily on Wanda.

But the fans were also shocked as it wasn’t Aaron Taylor-Johnson playing the role of Pietro. Instead, he was played by Evan Peters, who had taken on the role in X-Men Days of Future Past and its sequels.

This instantly sparked speculation the series would formally link the MCU and the X-Men movies. Pietro was shown talking to Wanda on his passing and brushing off why he looked and sounded so different. 

As it turned out, his return was just another trick. 

Ralph Bohner was posing as Pietro to confuse Wanda

Kevin Feige explains why Evan Peters was used in WandaVision
Evan Peters as Quicksilver in WandaVision. Pic credit: Marvel

When Wanda discovers her next-door neighbor Agnes is actually the witch Agatha Harkness, she also learns Agatha was behind “Pietro’s” return.

Agatha made it clear this wasn’t truly Wanda’s brother as bringing back the dead (especially someone who died in another country) was beyond even Wanda’s power. She also mocked Wanda for being so desperate to have her brother back that she ignored he didn’t appear the same person.

Monica Rambeau then learned that “Pietro” was simply Ralph Bohner, a local actor used by Agatha, including claiming he was her always-absent “husband” Ralph. Monica managed to free Ralph of Agatha’s control, and that was the last viewers saw of him. 

While fans were upset at the reveal, Shakman explained to Entertainment Tonight it was meant to show Wanda’s troubled mental state and play on a classic sitcom trope.

We were doing a couple of different things there that I’m proud of. One is that grief can sometimes cloud your ability to look at the world in a clear way, and it can also make you bargain — to borrow from Elisabeth Kübler-Ross — and when Wanda sees Ralph at the door, she wants to see Pietro and she’s willing to allow herself to see Pietro.

So, the fact that it’s not the Pietro that we’d met before works on so many different levels. I think if we hadn’t answered “Who was Ralph?”, there would have been an upper as well, so you got to meet Ralph. He’s been living in that house and Agatha moved in and life changed dramatically for him.

Plus, as a show that was playing with meta, there’s been a lot of sit-com recasting, and we were having a good time with that idea of the second Darrin.

What is the Other Darrin?

WandaVision references a connection between the MCU and X-Men Quicksilvers
Both Quicksilvers and Wanda. Pic credit: Marvel / Fox

Shakman is referring to how on the classic sitcom Bewitched, the character of Samantha’s husband, Darrin, had been played by Dick York. When York left the series, the role was taken by Dick Sargent. 

Since then, the term “The Other Darrin” is used by TV fans when another actor replaces a character with no explanation for a different appearance. 

Ironically, the MCU has seen several such recastings, from Don Cheadle replacing Terrence Howard as Jim Rhodes to Kathryn Newton taking on the role of Cassie Lang from Isabelle Fuhrmann.

Shakman also said Ralph Bohner would have popped up in a deleted scene where he and Darcy are chased by Agatha’s pet rabbit, who transforms into a monstrous demon. Sadly, he added the scene was never fully completed and thus is unlikely ever to be seen.

As Shakman states, the entire reason for the recasting was to show Wanda so deep in denial of reality that she was willing to accept this stranger as her late brother.

Casting Peters in the role was key as creator Jack Schaeffer admitted they had “no Plan B” in case the actor couldn’t take on the part. 

The director is aware some fans were let down by the Pietro reveal but dropped this intriguing hint:

“For the fans that were disappointed, I’m just going to say: you know that those things are coming, right? The multi-verse is coming. Mutants are coming. So, there you go.”

This obviously references how Wanda will appear in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

Shakman’s words indicate that while this version of Quicksilver may have been a trick, it’s possible the real deal might be coming down the line. 

WandaVision season 1 now streaming on Disney+.

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