Avengers: Age of Ultron featured the first death of an Avenger in the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Pietro Maximoff, aka Quicksilver. The speedster gave his life to protect Hawkeye, who was in the middle of saving a child from the titular villain. Since this was also Pietro’s MCU debut, audiences were surprised to see him killed off so soon. Although many MCU characters have come back from the dead, there has been little indication that Quicksilver will ever return.
When Age of Ultron was initially released, there were a lot of rumors about why Pietro had met his untimely demise. Because the film came out before Disney’s acquisition of 20th Century Fox, some believed the death was a result of issues over the two companies’ shared rights to the character. At the time, Fox owned the rights to Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver. While rights may have been a factor, there’s been no official confirmation on the subject.
Marvel Studios’ Justification For Killing Quicksilver
According to various interviews with the president of Marvel Studios, Kevin Feige, and Joss Whedon, writer and director of Age of Ultron, there were a couple of reasons why Quicksilver had to die. Not only did his death subvert viewers’ expectations, but it was also supposed to raise the story’s stakes by demonstrating that Ultron’s actions had lasting consequences. Even though they shot an alternate ending where Pietro was alive at the end, they insisted that the character’s death was always a part of the plan, and the other ending was mainly meant to prevent people from spoiling the real ending.
Given these explanations, Pietro’s death does make sense. In spite of criticisms about the MCU’s inability to let characters stay dead, as well as several fan theories about Quicksilver’s return, Pietro still hasn’t been resurrected. Conversely, the speedster’s death hasn’t had quite the emotional impact that it could have had. While Pietro’s sacrifice was sad, most fans seem to agree that it would’ve been more impactful if the audience had more time to get attached to the character. Moreover, Pietro’s death has barely been brought up in later films and Disney+ shows, despite him leaving behind his twin sister, Wanda, as well as having Hawkeye name his son Nathaniel Pietro Barton.
Quicksilver’s Death Came as a Huge Shock
As for subverting expectations, Pietro was right: audiences didn’t see that coming. Although some believed not every hero would survive the film, many assumed that Quicksilver would live because he was a brand-new character. Instead, most fans predicted Hawkeye would be the one to die since, at the time, Marvel hadn’t announced any plans for him to star in his own project.
In fact, the MCU film leaned into this expectation by introducing Clint’s secret family, building up his and Pietro’s mutual animosity and making him more sympathetic than he had been in previous movies. This made it all the more shocking when Hawkeye survived and Quicksilver died. Regardless of how fans felt about it, Quicksilver’s death was definitely a surprising twist.