By the time Marvel Studios began climbing to the top of the box office charts to create one of the most successful movie franchises around today, many of the film rights to certain characters and titles had already been scattered around various other studios, and this has had a curious effect on how the Marvel comic book universe - traditionally prone to countless crossovers and team-ups - has been portrayed on film.
One of the positive results of having the characters and properties divided up is that Marvel fans get more adaptations of their favorite comic books, more frequently. Whereas Marvel is limited to releasing just two movies per year, the release schedule is awash with Marvel-based material - be it The Amazing Spider-Man 2, X-Men: Days of Future Past or even the upcoming Fantastic Four reboot. One of the downsides, however, is that we don't get to see crossovers between these various movie franchises.
That will change, to a certain extent, with the highly-anticipated arrival of The Avengers: Age of Ultron, in which two X-Men characters - Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch - will both be introduced into the Marvel/Disney version of the Marvel movie universe. This is further complicated by the fact that Twentieth Century Fox is introducing another version of Quicksilver in X-Men: Days of Future Past. However, Marvel Studios president of production Kevin Feige has assured NY Daily News that there'll be no confusing the two versions of the character:
"There are only a handful of characters that occupy that middle ground. Iron Man is not going to show up over there and Magneto is not going to show up over here. But there are a few gray points even after many years of negotiations … and that only happens with a character like Quicksilver, who has been a part of the X-Men, the son of Magneto in those comics, but also a primary Avenger.
"The characters (on the screen) are going to be very different. Other than their powers, general audiences might not even know... that the two are related."
No matter how similar or different the characters are, comparisons between the two portrayals are going to be inevitable - amongst fans, at least - but it's promising to hear that the two interpretations are going to be distinct from one another. American Horror Story star Evan Peters will be playing Fox's Quicksilver, and Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Kick-Ass 2) was recently confirmed for the role in Joss Whedon's film.
Where Quicksilver goes, the Scarlet Witch often follows, and such is the case in The Avengers: Age of Ultron. Elizabeth Olsen (Oldboy), who has been strongly rumored and unofficially confirmed to play Scarlet Witch for a while now, has told MTV in an interview that she will definitely be pairing up with Aaron Taylor-Johnson as twins in The Avengers: Age of Ultron, shortly after the two of them play an on-screen husband and wife in Godzilla.
The Avengers managed to create a good balance of screen time between characters who had already been the stars of their own movies (and those who had been supporting characters in other people's), and with luck The Avengers: Age of Ultron will continue to dole out the screen time fairly. Considering that this will be their first appearance in Marvel Studios' movie universe, tell us in the comments how large a part you think these two characters should play, and whether The Avengers: Age of Ultron should include their origin stories.
The Avengers: Age of Ultron is out in theaters on May 1st, 2015. You can also see Quicksilver (though not Scarlet Witch) in X-Men: Days of Future Past from May 23rd, 2014.