The Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver
The Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver in the "Avengers: Age of Ultron" trailer

Q: With Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver in "Avengers: Age of Ultron" and the situation over the word "mutant" with Fox, there's some speculation that this might be a way to introduce the Inhumans.

Kevin Feige: Well, Inhumans is something that we are definitely thinking about and we think there's great potential there for a great movie. But, no, no -- we have not linked those two.

Q: So using the Inhumans would have nothing to do with getting around the word "mutant"?

Feige: As it relates to Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver? No. No, no, no.

That’s the Marvel Studios president in an interview with the Huffington Post in March of this past year seemingly putting a kibosh on rumors and speculation that Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch will be introduced into the Marvel Cinematic Universe in May’s Avengers: Age of Ultron as Inhumans rather than mutants.

“No, no,” Feige says …

…but did he actually say that at all?

The specific question Feige responded to is whether the term Inhuman is specifically meant to get around using the term "mutant," to which Feige specifically responds “no”.

A bit of corporate-speak tap-dancing, perhaps? After all, no executive is going to come out and say they created a workaround to rights they granted another studio.

But since the interview was published last spring there is more mounting evidence that the Inhumans – who we also now know will get their own movie in 2018 – will be making their presence felt in the MCU sooner, rather than later.

Credit: Marvel

Feige said so himself at last month’s Marvel Studios Phase 4 announcement event, when he told the assembled press and fans that the Inhumans may arrive in the MCU "sooner than you think."

Of course most fans and professional speculators took that to mean the Inhumans would be revealed in the ABC-TV drama Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and that increasingly looks like it will be the case very soon, and likely carry over into the S.H.I.E.L.D.-hiatus series Agent Carter, which also looks like it’ll delve into the Inhumans via the origins of the blue Kree corpse on Earth.

Okay, so you ask, what does this have to do with Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch in Age of Ultron?

In the words of Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman this week, “Marvel is smarter than you think they are,” and if they are that smart, they likely won’t introduce two entirely different means to create superpowered beings into the MCU within months or even weeks of one another.

But let’s back up a little.

The "Twins" in Captain America: The Winter Soldier
The "Twins" in Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Credit: Marvel Studios

Recall that under all our noses, and with help of a bit of misdirection by only tangentially tying into Thor the Dark World last fall, Marvel utterly disguised the fact the entire first season of AoS hinged on the events of April’s Captain America The Winter Soldier. And with many box office forecasters openly asking if the Avengers sequel could top the rarified $2 billion dollar global box office mark, it’s hard to imagine the Disney-Marvel-ABC power trio passing up the opportunity for a game-changing S.H.I.E.L.D.-Age of Ultron tie-in.

So assuming that’s the case, what common frame of references does Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Age of Ultron share? It isn’t robotics and artificial intelligence.

The easy answer of course is HYDRA. AoS has in fact recently name-checked established Age of Ultron villain Baron von Strucker as the European and overall head of HYDRA while Daniel Whitehall heads the U.S. branch.

Baron von Strucker and underling in Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Baron von Strucker and underling in Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Credit: Marvel Studios

Whitehall is of course knee-deep in the Season 2 overarching plot that everyone and their mother thinks will eventually establish the superpowered Inhumans in the MCU, while the first/last time we saw Strucker (in the mid-credits scene of the Winter Soldier) he was seemingly a catalyst in turning Wanda and Pietro Maximoff into superpowered “miracles”.

So assuming the S.H.I.E.L.D.-Inhumans speculation is accurate, both the TV and feature film side of the MCU seem on similar paths - indirectly or directly having HYDRA pursue means to create and/or reveal new superpowered beings into the world.

Now is it possible the TV show and the film are on somewhat similar but different, parallel paths? Sure, it’s possible. The question is, is it probable?

Our answer would be “not very.” Marvel Studios runs a pretty tight ship, and have been reluctant (to the dismay of some S.H.I.E.L.D. viewers) to just let new superpowered beings run rampant in the MCU, and it seems unlikely they’d be introducing two new separate and unrelated means to establish new superheroes and supervillains, particularly as again, the show and movie will almost certainly converge some way or another in May 2015.

And if you try hard enough, it’s not that difficult to find some more possible links between S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Avengers sequel.

In the Winter Soldier mid-credits scene, Strucker and his underling imply many, many people have died having been exposed to whatever exactly is it that made Wanda and Pietro “miracles,” with “the twins” being the only survivors of the experiment, which seemingly has something to do with Loki's staff from The Avengers.

The Diviner
The Diviner
Credit: ABC/Marvel Studios
Quicksilver exposing himself to Terrigen Mists
Quicksilver exposing himself to Terrigen Mists
Credit: Marvel Comics

What is HYDRA after on the TV show? The Obelisk … or the Diviner, a device the identifies whether a person is special or worthy enough to enter the lost hidden city (presumably Attilan). Possible connection? The most obviously speculative answer is the Diviner identifies people with the Kree DNA (latent Inhumans), which only makes up a small percentage of the population, who would be the only people to survive exposure to the ‘Terrigen Mists” process (or its MCU equivalent) that grants an Inhuman his or her powers/mutation.

Speculating further, perhaps it’s the Terrigen Crystal (which produces the Terrigen Mist vapor) that is housed in Loki’s staff, and for the purposes of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, is an Infinity Stone (and just for the record, the Terrigen crystal/mists have been traditionally depicted in the Marvel Comics Universe as blue, which ... you guessed it ... is the color of the stone in Loki’s staff). And if somehow damaged or destroyed or activated in May 2018’s Avengers: Infinity War, Part 2, leads to a mass creation of new Inhumans on Earth and straight into November 2018’s Inhumans feature.

Loki's staff
Loki's staff
Credit: Marvel Studios

Okay, okay we might be getting ahead of ourselves a little bit with that last one, but the fact remains S.H.I.E.L.D. and Age of Ultron almost certainly require a tie-in, and the HYDRA connection already exists. It’s not too far off the path to assume the plans HYDRA were pursuing in the Winter Soldier credits scene have some relation to the goals HYDRA is pursuing on S.H.I.E.L.D.. It’s also safe to assume this is all part of a grand design by Marvel Studios everything is likely connected in some way.

Is it possible Marvel will be establishing both “miracles” (really?) and “Inhumans” in the MCU simultaneously? Yes, it’s possible, but our guess it’s likely more probable that it all connects, and as many close observers have speculated all along, Wanda and Pietro will in fact be Inhumans.

Only about four more months until we know for sure.

* p.s. on an only semi-related but brief note - while researching this piece on IMDB over the last hour, we noticed this cast credit on the Avengers: Age of Ultron page - "Bentley Kalu ... Klaue's Mercenary."

Of course, there is no listing for a character named "Klaue" who has seemingly hired a mercenary. There is, however, Andy Serkis' listing without a character name. Comic book readers in good standing know where we're going with this...

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