‘Age of Ultron’: The Scarlet Witch Was Nearly Played by an Oscar-Nominated Actor

Something that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has consistently nailed has been the casting choices for its characters.

Marvel and Disney simply seem to have a good eye for what they’re looking for in an actor, and Marvel and Disney almost always get what they want.

That said, while big-name actors like Angelina Jolie have joined the MCU, many other famous actors have turned down Marvel’s offer for a role in the franchise. That’s what happened in Avengers: Age of Ultron when Marvel was casting the Scarlet Witch.

Here’s a look at how Saoirse Ronan almost got the job instead of Elizabeth Olsen.

A recap of ‘Age of Ultron’

Elizabeth Olsen
Elizabeth Olsen | Gary Gershoff/Getty Images

Age of Ultron, which was written and directed by Joss Whedon, was the second ‘Avengers’ movie, and it needed to do two things. It first had to be a team-up movie, since that’s the whole point with the Avengers films. But, at the same time, it also had to introduce new characters to the universe, and those characters, unlike the villains, will have to stick around. 

The villain in the movie is Ultron, and he was created by Tony Stark. However, in creating Ultron, Stark accidentally created Vision, too. Vision is a good guy, and he ends up sticking around. Later in the movie, Ultron recruits two people with unique abilities, Pietro and Wanda Maximoff. While the Maximoffs work for Ultron in the first half of the movie, they switch sides later on. Pietro eventually dies, but Wanda survives, and she later joins the Avengers. 

Who is the Scarlet Witch?

RELATED: The Long-Term Plan for Scarlet Witch in the MCU Predicted

Due to copyright issues at the time, Marvel did not own the X-Men franchise, but at the same time, both Pietro and Wanda Maximoff were X-Men in the comics. So, for the movies, Marvel came up with a different origin story for them. That said, both Pietro and Wanda’s abilities are practically the same as they are in the comics.

Pietro, whose superhero name is Quicksilver, can run really fast. Wanda, as her superhero name implies, is a witch, and she’s actually incredibly powerful.

The movies have not really touched on how powerful she really is, but, like Infinity War and Endgame showed, she’s powerful enough to fight with Thanos even when he has the Infinity Stones on him. In the comics she’s even more powerful than that, but it remains to be seen if the movies will portray her the same way.

Powers aside though, just like in the comics, she’s supposed to be a young woman who’s just starting to learn her powers. As a result, when Whedon and Marvel were casting her, they had a lot of young actors in mind, and one of them was Ronan. 

How Saoirse Ronan was almost the Scarlet Witch

As IndieWire wrote, when Whedon was writing the movie, he was actually imagining Ronan as the Scarlet Witch. To add fuel to the fire, Ronan herself expressed interest in working with Whedon and with Marvel, since she said that she enjoys the Marvel movies. However, for one reason or another, negotiations broke down or simply never began because Ronan ultimately passed on the role. 

Instead, Marvel ended up going with Olsen. While she’s the younger and lesser-known sister of the Olsen twins, she quickly proved her acting chops and has settled into her role. Olsen’s not a bad actress either, and while she hasn’t earned any Oscar nominations like Ronan has, she has been nominated for other prestigious awards. 

For example, for her performance in Martha Marcy May Marlene, Olsen received a nomination at the Independent Spirit Awards. Then, in 2013, she was nominated at the BAFTAs for the rising star award. Ronan meanwhile has continued working on great films such as Lady Bird and Little Women.