Thursday, May 14, 2015


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Warning:  This post contains MAJOR SPOILERS for Avengers: Age of Ultron.  As in:  this could totally ruin the ending for you if you haven’t seen it yet.  Don’t continue reading unless you’ve already watched the movie.

The uncensored title of this article is:

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Is Quicksilver Really Dead?  Should Quicksilver Stay Dead?

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In Avengers: Age of Ultron, Joss Whedon decided to use every possible cliché to make it as obvious as possible that Hawkeye was going to die—and I think he might have even invented a few new ones, too!  Hawkeye got injured at the beginning of the movie.  We met his family—including a pregnant wife whose unborn child might never know his father.  Speaking of the wife, she was worried because he was fighting with all these gods and super soldiers, and they actually need him.  He tells her that after one last remodel he’s done.  She watches him leave for the last time with a sad expression.  He calls his family before missions.  While Iron Man is talking about how they might not all make it through the fight, Hawkeye is looking at a picture of his family.  During the fight he is shown to be the heart of the team.  He tells Scarlet Witch that he has to do his job.  He is planning for retirement—more work around the house.  He’s safe on the transport but has to go back for a boy around the same age as his own son.  He’s out in the middle of nowhere with the boy and without cover, when Ultron flies by in the quinjet.  He’s shown resigning himself to his fate and turning to use his body to shield the boy.  Ultron fires.  And suddenly… Hawkeye is alive and Quicksilver is leaning over next to him with a bunch of holes straight through his chest.  He collapses, dead.

“You didn’t see that coming?”

No, Quicksilver, we really didn’t.

Now there are three questions everyone is asking (or should be asking):  Is he dead?  How might they bring him back?  Should they even bring him back?  The first one might be the most important.  Unfortunately, the answer is not as simple as the question.

So Is He Dead?

The facts which support the theory that he is dead are pretty overwhelming.  For one thing, there’s the dozens of bullet holes through his chest.  When he collapsed in front of Hawkeye, his eyes were open and he wasn’t breathing.  When they laid him out on the lifeboat, his eyes were still open and he wasn’t moving.  That is the last we see of him in the movie; when Captain America and Black Widow introduce the New Avengers, Scarlet Witch is there, but Quicksilver is not.  It seems like if he had survived, he would have been present in some capacity (as in Joss Whedon’s alternate“Quicksilver lives” ending).  That he was not present in the ending would suggest that he did not survive.

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However, there is also a compelling argument that Quicksilver may have lived, after all.  First, Hill describes Quicksilver at the beginning of the movie as having an “increased metabolism,” one of the factors that play into Captain America’s healing factor.  As such there is at least the possibility that Quicksilver also has a healing factor, which may have (at the very least) kept him alive after he was shot.  Second, Dr. Cho’s “Cradle” has the ability to grow tissue quickly, something which might be able to reconstruct all of the bones, muscles, and internal organs that were damaged by the bullets—especially after the Mind Stone gave her the knowledge necessary to configure the “Cradle” to build an entire working body.  Third, we did not see a memorial service, memorial, or gravestone for him.  We also did not see his dead body in a coffin.  And if there isn’t a body, there’s always the possibility that he’s not really dead.  Is any of this conclusive evidence that he lived?  No, but it opens up the possibility.

If I have to hazard a guess—and since I’m writing this, I suppose I do—I would guess that Quicksilver really is dead.  I think that he had a complete character arc in Age of Ultron.  His death had a powerful effect on his sister, driving her to destroy a dozen more Ultron bots before finishing Ultron’s final body off and finally joining the New Avengers.  I think the evidence in favor of his death is more compelling that the evidence in favor of his survival.  I wish he hadn’t died, but I think he did.  And I’m not alone in thinking this; Kevin Feige himself confirmed that Quicksilver really and truly is dead—and that they’re not planning on bringing him back any time soon.

How Might They Resurrect Him?

So, one might think that Feige’s confirmation is the final nail in Quicksilver’s coffin, but it doesn’t necessarily have to be the case (and come on, when is a producer/director/actor’s “confirmation” ever definitive proof?).  This being comics, there are of course a number of possibilities for them to bring Quicksilver back to life if they so desire.

Setting aside the option of him not being dead (explored above), the first—and most obvious—possibility is the T.A.H.I.T.I. Protocol which Fury and Coulson developed before the first Avengers movie (chronologically).  After all, Coulson himself declared that the purpose of T.A.H.I.T.I. was to bring a fallen Avenger back to life.  We know that the T.A.H.I.T.I. Protocol works, considering that it brought Coulson himself back to life.  However, I do not think that this is a possibility for Quicksilver any longer based on the events of “T.A.H.I.T.I.” (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 1x14).  In that episode, Coulson takes an injured Skye to the “Guest House,” the location where his body underwent the procedures by which he was brought back to life.  One of the important aspects of the procedure was the machine which rewrote his memories, giving him back the will to live—that machine they still have, as evidenced by “S.O.S.” (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. 2x21-22).  However, the most important part of T.A.H.I.T.I.—at least in terms of bringing an Avenger back to life—was the use of Kree blood to repair his body.  This blood was harvested from the body of a Kree which was discovered on earth at some point in history.  Unfortunately, the Kree body was presumably destroyed when the Guest House’ self-destruct sequence went off.  The only remaining sample of Kree blood was used on Skye.  Simmons used Skye’s blood to replicate it, but Garrett used that vial on himself.   Long story short, as far as we know S.H.I.E.L.D. does not have access to Kree blood anymore.  And without the Kree blood, it is unlikely that they would be able to put Quicksilver through T.A.H.I.T.I. and bring him back to life.

A second possibility is to use Asgardian mythology to bring Quicksilver back to life.  In the comics, it happens occasionally that Thor or another character will find himself in Hel or another version of the Underworld and have to find his way back to the land of the living to complete his unfinished mission.  Given that Thor: Ragnarok is going to focus on the “death of the gods” from the comics, it is entirely possible that Thor will find himself in Hel at some point.  While there, Thor could see Quicksilver, and urge him to use his super speed to somehow get the two of them out of Hel.  Alternatively, Thor could negotiate with Hela to secure his and Quicksilver’s release in exchange for agreeing to give her their souls at some future time after Thanos has been defeated.

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A third possibility involves the Infinity Gauntlet (or one or more of the Infinity Stones).  If Scarlet Witch were to use her (enhanced) powers along with the Infinity Gauntlet (say in Infinity War Part 1 or 2), she could probably bring Quicksilver back to life.  Other options would be for her to use the Time Stone to go back in time to the Ultron fight and stop Quicksilver from dying, or to use the Soul Stone to place his soul into a newly-built body, or some combin ation of the two.

Finally, they are introducing magic to the MCU through Scarlet Witch and Doctor Strange.  In the comics, both of those characters could use magic to either bring Quicksilver back to life or animate his corpse.

Should They Do It?

However, just because Marvel can bring Quicksilver back to life does not mean that they should bring him back to life.  That is another matter altogether.

What are the benefits of bringing Quicksilver back to life?  Obviously, we get to see more of his story and more of his character.  However, we have seen his character go through a complete arc already (even if it was abbreviated out of necessity):  He fought the Avengers, he fought with the Avengers, he became an Avenger, and he gave his life to save an Avenger.  There is always more that they can do, but that is the simplest complete character arc you can write.  Seeing more of his story being told is very tempting:  He has been in the comics and done so much in the comics—especially by his connection to Crystal and the Inhumans—that there is much more to explore with him.  This does not answer the question of whether or not they should bring him back to life to explore those stories, however.

In the Marvel universe, death has not been shown to have lasting consequences on a number of occasions.  When we look at named characters who died in the movies, I can only think of one other hero—Yinsen—who died and stayed dead.  At least 6 villains have died and stayed dead, but almost none of the heroes have suffered a permanent death.  Ironically, Marvel TV has actually done a better job on that front, with at least two heroes dying between the three shows we have seen thus far.  For this reason alone I think that Quicksilver needs to stay dead—at a minimum for all of Phase 3:  It shows that there are consequences.  Our heroes can in fact die; they are not immortal.

If they were to bring him back to life at some point in the future, I would not be upset—after all, I liked the character!  However, if they do choose to bring him back, they will need to show that this action has consequences for Quicksilver in the future.  Say what you will about Coulson’s resurrection for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but the whole first season (and first half of the second season) showed that bringing him back to life affected him and changed him in profound ways.  It had consequences.  It moved the plot forward.  Bringing Quicksilver back to life needs to have consequences, too.  If they can show this in a meaningful way that drives the overall plot of the MCU forward, bringing him back to life might be in the MCU’s best interests.  If they just have him show up in Captain America: Civil War with an “I came back to life somehow” explanation, I think it would do more harm than good.

So what do you think?  Should they have killed Quicksilver?  Should they bring him back to life?  If they do, when and how should it take place?  Do we need to see more death in the MCU going forward—kill off a major hero in every movie?  Let me know in the comments!

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