Evan Peters' Role in 'WandaVision' Was Actually One Big Joke

And we love it.

ralph bohner, evan peters, wandavision
Marvel Studios

When Evan Peters, who plays Wanda Maximoff's brother Peter Maximoff in the X-Men movie franchise, showed up as Wanda Maximoff's dead brother Pietro in the fifth episode of WandaVision, taking over the Marvel Cinematic Universe role for Aaron Taylor-Johnson, who'd played the character in Avengers: Age of Ultron, the theories spread as fast and furiously as Wanda's grief bubble. Does this open the door to the Multiverse? Does it mean that the X-Men, now officially part of the MCU in the wake of Disney's acquisition of the Fox film property, are involved in this plot somehow? Is he actually the villain Mephisto? Well, it turns out that none of those theories was correct.

Fake Pietro is not some portal to a new corner of the MCU. He's just a guy named Ralph. Ralph Bohner, to be exact. Yes, Bohner. Pronounced "Boner."

This revelation comes during the WandaVision finale. Pietro/Ralph, who is doing the bidding of Kathryn Hahn's Agatha Harkness, traps Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris) in his man cave. But while digging through his papers, Monica realizes he's not anyone special—he's just a struggling actor who Agatha enchanted using a puka shell necklace. Once she rips off his emblem of '90s stoner-dom, she easily takes him.

Funny, right? And kudos to Peters for a perfect performance as a douche-bro. Still, the news that Peters' Pietro is nothing more than some rando was met with ire among superfans who were hoping for something, anything more.

However, I would like to pay tribute to writer Jac Schaeffer and director Matt Shakman for giving us what is honestly a great joke, and also, perhaps, for yet another sitcom reference: Bohner could very well be a nod to Boner Stabone from Growing Pains.

Every episode of WandaVision was burdened by expectations. Paul Bettany teased that the show features an actor he "always wanted to work with" which led to rampant speculation that Ian McKellen might show up as Magneto or maybe Benedict Cumberbatch would swoop in as Doctor Strange. But it turned out that actor was just...Bettany himself. That happens in the finale when the Vision who is just a manifestation of Wanda's grief faces off against the so-called White Vision introduced at the end of Episode 8 who has been rebooted by the military, and they have a lovely conversation about the Ship of Theseus. This is actually one of the best scenes in the episode, but it also represents a disappointment to those for whom a finale without any very special guest stars is a letdown.

Both the Bettany and the Bohner jokes represent the cast and crew having a little fun with the audience, while at the same time risking pissing people off. I appreciate that risk. WandaVision's most successful moments were when it stayed small and weird as opposed to when it got big and world-build-y, and the show ultimately chose a boner joke over anything truly shocking. You have to love it.

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Esther Zuckerman is a senior entertainment writer at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @ezwrites.