One of the big complaints in fandom is when actors play multiple comic book characters across franchises. Chris Evans is The Human Torch and Captain America, Halle Berry is Storm and Catwoman and Ben Affleck will soon be Batman in addition to his turn as Daredevil. But one of the weirdest cross franchise scenarios is currently in pre-production at both Marvel Studios and 20th Century Fox. Aaron Taylor Johnson, who plays Kick Ass in both the 2010 film and this summer’s sequel, is reportedly going to play a major role in “The Avengers: Age of Ultron” as the speedster, Quicksilver. That sounds good to me. But what is weird is that over at Fox, Quicksilver has been cast with a different actor for “X-Men: Days of The Future Past.” He will be played by Johnson’s “Kick Ass” co-star Evan Peters. What’s next, Chloe Moretz playing Quicksilver in the next Spider-Man movie?
The Legal Side of Superheroes
Quicksilver and The Scarlet Witch, who is also slated to appear in “The Avengers 2,” are two of the big exceptions when looking at the different studio rights to individual Marvel characters. When Fox purchased the rights to the “X-Men,” they gained with them the ability to include any characters predominantly associated with that title. That’s why they are able to make movies about Wolverine. Marvel Studios, owned by Disney, has the rights to “The Avengers.” But Quicksilver and The Scarlet Witch spent significant time in both titles independently. As Magneto’s children, they featured as members of his Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. But they were also members of The Avengers later on. So since they operated in both capacities, they can legally appear in both films without stepping on the other’s toes.
This would have been a great opportunity for the different studios to plant a seed for a studio crossover project had they cast the same actor. But the logistics of such a move would be nearly impossible. So don’t expect Wolverine to fight alongside Captain America any time soon. Instead we’re going to get the same character, Quicksilver, played by two different actors with no apparent knowledge of that other aspect of their life. This wouldn’t work with a character like Wolverine, even though he has spent significant time with the Avengers. He is too heavily associated with the X-Men. Only characters who can claim even significance between two separate titles would be fair game. You might as well try to come up with your explanation now for when your comic-deprived friend or relative asks why the character is in both. People are going to be confused.
As for the actors chosen to play the role, both are promising choices. Johnson has shown his chops as a lead actor in the “Kick Ass” films and 2012’s “Savages.” Hi sci-fi stock will be on the rise after being both an Avenger and starring in the 2014 “Godzilla” reboot. His “Godzilla” co-star, Elizabeth Olsen, will actually be playing the Scarlet Witch in “Age of Ultron.” Did I mention Johnson was also in “Anna Karenina?” Sci-fi yet sophisticated. Peters is also a star on the rise. His role in “Kick Ass” wasn’t a huge one as Todd only appears on the outskirts. He wasn’t able to reprise the role in the sequel due to scheduling conflicts with “American Horror Story.” He is a series regular on the Emmy favorite.
A connection like this one between the Quicksilver character and “Kick Ass” just shows the nature of the comic book movie industry right now. There are so many different titles, the overlap is bound to happen. But next time “Kick Ass” comes on TV or you pop in the DVD, it will be a serious meta-moment for comic book fans. As Dave Lizewski and Todd sit there discussing what it would be like to be superheroes, we’ll know that they will both soon have super speed. Forget their costumed futures in “Kick Ass,” they’re going to be an Avenger and X-Men villain respectively. It looks like they will continue to kick ass in the foreseeable future.