Why 'Avengers: Age of Ultron' Killed Off the Wrong Character
By John Boone
We’ve known for a while that not every hero would make it out of Avengers: Age of Ultron alive. Director Joss Whedon warned us as much, and he’s not one to renege on killing off beloved characters. But we still weren’t prepared for the fact that they’d kill off the wrong character!
(SPOILER ALERT: Stop reading if you haven’t seen Age of Ultron yet. We’re about to discuss what happens at the end of the film and which hero ends up six feet under.)
R.I.P. Pietro Maximoff. It shouldn’t have been you.
The movie’s climactic battle in Sokovia sees Pietro (played by Aaron-Taylor Johnson for the first and, apparently, only time) take a bullet -- or 50 -- to protect Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) and a civilian child.
“It adds stakes to the ending of the film,” Marvel head honcho Kevin Feigetold MTV, noting Pietro’s death is used to “show repercussions for Ultron’s actions, and also in a way to solidify Scarlet Witch’s character, and Wanda’s arc in the movie and where we’ll see her in the next films.”
Yes, Pietro’s death effectively hit us right in the feels, and yes, it will provide a plethora of dramatic, meaty material for Elizabeth Olsen to dig into in Captain America: Civil War and whenever she eventually shows up again after that. But... but... but... So much untapped potential! Wasted!
As soon as Pietro and his sister officially joined the ranks of Avengers two-or-so hours into Ultron, we couldn’t help our minds from drifting to a theoretical Phase 4 where Marvel makes a solo Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver film. And how much we would love that movie. Give us House of M!
Because Pietro and Wanda are different from the other heroes on the Avengers roster. Taylor-Johnson might be yet another straight, white, dude, but in terms of character: Pietro is European, the first non-American Avenger of the bunch (and he has the bonkers accent to prove it). He and Wanda have a unique origin story that we haven’t seen onscreen yet. And he has awesome powers that look visually different from anyone else in the MCU, powers we only got to break the surface of. As it were, he never actually became Quicksilver. At least, not that we’ll probably ever seen.
“We did actually shoot him in the last scene, in an outfit, with his sister,” Whedon explained to Empire. “We also shot him, waking up, saying, ‘Ah, I didn’t really die from these 47 bullet wounds!’...But the intent was to earn this, and then you have to stand by it.”
Which means Pietro likely won’t get a resurrection a la Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg), who died in The Avengers and returned from the dead in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Should we start a campaign for Agents of Q.U.I.C.K.S.I.L.V.E.R.? We wouldn’t mind being faked out again, not if it meant getting Quicksilver back. At least put that deleted scene on the DVD so we can see what his super suit could have been.
Like we already said: It shouldn’t have been Pietro anyway. Pietro’s death was sad, but another hero’s death could have rocked the status quo of the Marvel cinematic universe. As it is, any hero with marquee potential or inclusion in the next phase of Marvel movies is automatically safe. But could you image watching an Avengers movie and thinking Captain America’s life was actually in danger?
It could be a lesser hero too. Here are 10 alternatives we think should have bit the bullet (literally) in Age of Ultron before Pietro:
We know they couldn’t kill off Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), because he was already killed off -- but not really! Gotcha! -- in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Everyone else has a movie slated for Phase 3, or is a female superhero (i.e. Black Widow) and Marvel does not have female superheroes to spare.
But Hawkeye is expendable. And while he hasn’t had a ton of screen time in the MCU, he’s had more than Pietro. He’s appeared in three movies so far, and his death would show that a six-film contract (or whatever Renner signed) does not guarantee you’ll make it to six films. Eventually, Marvel is going to have to start killing off heroes, or retiring them in various other ways. Hawkeye could have been a nice way to lean into that.
Plus, super speed is greater than being good at the bow and arrow.
Double plus, if Hawkeye is killed off, we’d never have to listen to Jeremy Renner call Black Widow a “slut” again. Not that we want Renner fired for making some douchey comments, but girls are already lacking in badass female role models in TV and movies. Maybe don’t slut-shame (or whatever Renner thinks he's doing??) the few that they do have. Fictional or not.
Now, check out what secrets ET learned behind the scenes of Age of Ultron: