The Disney+ series, WandaVision, is definitely the fix we need to bring some enjoyment into 2021. Granted, many impatient folks complained and collectively uttered the words “what the fuck is going on” for the first three episodes, but fortunately, realized the mystery by episode four. Many viewers, critics, and comic book fans have been digging through each episode—at the time of this writing, there have been five—to figure out the series finale before we get there. I, myself, have become a fanatic of solving the enigmatic ending to what is sure to be a stepping stone to the next phase of the MCU.
This is where we take a deep dive into spoiler territory in terms of WandaVision and Marvel Comics and here is your only warning.
If you’re still with me, I’ll be covering specifics in this article regarding WandaVision‘s antagonist hiding in plain sight, certain specifics of a character’s mental health, and that big shocking guest appearance in episode five.
One thing that WandaVision has been showcasing through methodical subtext are the effects of trauma. Say what you will about which hero has suffered the most in the MCU, Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) has been through the wringer. She was raised in a war-torn part of the world, felt the death of her twin Pietro Maximoff, had to kill her lover, Vision, and was forced to watch him come back to life only to die in front of her eyes again. Those events would lead anyone to create a safe space—or safe reality, in Wanda’s case.
The TV world that Wanda and Vision (Paul Bettany) escape from reality is the same sort of escape that many people in our society have used, though metaphorically, to deal with certain traumas—namely, nostalgia. Repeatedly watching sitcoms such as Friends, The Office, Parks and Recreation, Schitt’s Creek, and others is a form of escapism. I’ve been guilty of this as well with the British program, Spaced. It is not far-fetched that Marvel Studios would replicate this tactic for our character in WandaVision so that we can relate to her struggles. Wanda is retreating to these ‘50s, ‘60s, ‘70s, and ‘80s style sitcoms because these were more easily accessible in her war-torn country. Wanda would’ve had to fall back on what she grew up watching to create the ideal “American Life” as her safe space.
A loving husband, a beautiful home, comedic events that are amplified with a laugh track, and a fitting solution that always leads to a resulting smile. Yet, we still see some of the very traumatic events of her life bleed into the commercials in WandaVision. The Baron von Strucker reference on the Hydra Watch, Hydra Soap, and Lagos brand paper towels are callbacks to the opening action set piece in Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Agnes (Kathryn Hahn) has been relegated to the annoying neighbor trope that has been a staple in many sitcoms. Always popping up at awkward moments in the story helps brings some comedic relief to the show. However, Agnes is not just there for laughs. Ryan Arey over at ScreenCrush was able to deduce that Agnes could be Agatha Harkness from Marvel Comics. Harkness was able to guide Wanda in her ability to warp reality and later give Wanda the power to bear children in the comics.
A clue that this reality-warping capability has always been lying dormant is the color used to display Wanda’s activated powers. Red has been prominent in the show and so are Wanda’s powers, as well as the barrier-surrounding Westview. What else might be red? The Aether/Reality Stone in the MCU. Kevin Feige has confirmed this in multiple past interviews. The connection between the Aether Stone and Wanda’s power is there but it has yet to be determined exactly how.
Another evidence of Wanda’s powers reaching this level of authentic reality and not being just a mere illusion is in episode five of Wandavision when Monica Rambeau discovers that her clothes from Wanda’s world were an altered version of the outfit she came in with.
Growth in Power
The reality-warping power that Wanda wields continues to grow with each episode and a clear showcase of this is the world that surrounds the couple. In episode one, we were given a very small glimpse outside of their home and workplace. In episode two, that’s expanded by including a scene set in the town hall, community pool, and library. Episode three shows a better view of the neighborhood and a couple of its inhabitants.
By episode five, we finally have a grander scope of the town through the bird’s eye view from a drone, flown by Monica Rambeau, that spans for blocks or even miles. We have yet to see how the altered reality of Westview was created but we do know that it is a hexagon-shaped area (displayed in episode five) with barriers that change from a mixture of blue, red, and green like light pixels in an old TV, to a solid red.
However, it appears that her powers do not stop there. The shocking reveal of the actual condition of Vision’s body is that of a living corpse. It is debated if Wanda is subconsciously moving him around like a puppet or if he has been brought back to life. The latter seems to be more possible as her sons, Billy and Tommy (Wiccan and Speed respectively) have hinted that she may have this ability after all.
Leading to Shatter
With every minute outside of the real world, Wanda is getting closer to a psychotic break. The beginning of WandaVision showed the character in full control of her surroundings—whether she’s in front of the camera or no. Yet, Wanda has begun losing her grip on her reality. She’s unable to effectively use her powers on baby Billy and Tommy and is unable to stop their rapid growth until she starts to acknowledge that factor of death in her world.
Vision has become less and less susceptible to the false reality he’s in as well. He questions the actions of other characters, his place in this world, and comes into conflict with his wife by the end of episode five. We have only seen a pure love and companionship between Wanda and Vision and the argument that presented itself in that episode was unexpected.
Even the appearance of her brother, Pietro Maximoff (Evan Peters), tells us that she’s on the cusp of losing all grip on her reality. Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings) states that Wanda’s long-dead brother has been recast which leads to the idea that her inability to deal with her loss is now banging on the door and could be the tipping point of everything falling apart. All of this culminates in something Wanda will have to face.
A Psychotic Break
Everything that Wanda is going through might finally give us the Scarlet Witch character that comic book readers are familiar with. Wanda will face the realization of her actions and the death of those she has cared about again. Vision has become more self-aware and understands that he cannot live a lie or live at the cost of others—as he’s mentioned in past MCU films.
She will finally be given a moment to reflect on the loss of her brother, previously mentioned in the show. But the most traumatic event she will more than likely face in WandaVision is the loss of her children. Past issues of Marvel Comics featuring Wanda have dealt with the ramification of her children only existing in the false reality she’d created or only in her mind. This point in her history has been one of the few events that have completely broken the character.
House of M
Many theories circling WandaVision have had The House of M—or House of Magnus—storyline at their core. At face value, the show gives weight to that theory, however, that would be too easy a route for Marvel Studios to take. I believe that the events in WandaVision are a precursor to the House of M storyline—I highly suggest you read the comic. Call it “testing the waters” for Marvel to see if they can go forward with their next phase. The reason that I believe this is Marvel Studios’ history in planning years in advance.
Currently, we are in Phase 4 of the MCU and it’s anyone’s guess as to what’s in store, but it looks like Wanda might have a huge impact on it. Olsen’s character is set to appear in Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness, which could be a pivotal point for Wanda in creating her House of M(aximoff). Doctor Strange 2 has been rumored to feature multiple Spider-Men, which is a plot point in the House of M comics. She may even finally dawn the name of Scarlet Witch after this movie if she has been set up to be the villain.
Another factor that leads me to believe that Marvel Studios is gearing up House of M is the rumor of Chris Evans returning to the MCU with at least one Marvel property—which doesn’t clarify if it’s in a lead role or a cameo. The actor has stated this not to be true, but we all know that Marvel and their actors/actresses tend to lie. One notable instance of this is when Steve Rogers aka Captain America from the present-day was in Endgame as an elderly man. Some speculated that we will be getting Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. Steve Rogers, but many are forgetting where the character’s old age has come into play. In House of M, Steve Rogers does make an appearance but as a much older man with his superhero days long behind him.
Doctor Strange and Captain America have had their hand in defeating the Scarlet Witch in the House of M storyline, but Marvel Studios hasn’t shied away from hinting at new characters to come. The location of Wakanda was introduced in Iron Man 2 and was used as a plot point for Avengers: Age of Ultron. Steven Strange was on a list of potential threats to Hydra’s plan in Captain America: The Winter Soldier as well. I would guess this is how we slowly build to the Fantastic Four.
Marvel Studios confirmed last year that Jon Watts is set to direct Marvel’s first family’s introduction into the MCU. What better way to bring them in than with a jaw-dropping appearance as a cliffhanger to another Marvel character’s movie—like the Captain Marvel teaser in Avengers: Infinity War.
The Next Phase
It seems that many have not realized or had simply forgotten that Feige has already set in motion the introduction of the X-Men and mutants. He discussed with Screen Rant that talks about bringing the X-Men into the MCU have already begun. In the interview, he states:
“You know how much I love the X-Men. I already said that’s where I started. I can’t tell you anything before we actually announced it, but rest assured, the discussions have been long and ongoing internally.”
We are years away from that being a reality, which gives them ample time to set up their introduction.
By then, Wanda’s ultimate goal to create the perfect world for herself and her loved ones has been achieved. The grander scale of this accomplishment would undoubtedly affect our MCU heroes which might open a discussion amongst fans that fall in the realm of, “Do you live the life you’ve always wanted even though it’s a lie?” By the time we reach the end of the House of M arc—if my theory is true—Scarlet Witch may utter those famous words, “No more mutants”, but in a different variation to suit the inclusion of mutants.
Speaking those words might be a last-ditch effort and would display the scope of her powers. It would be hard to miss the poeticism behind it—that words can change the world. This would allow the MCU to be filled with enhanced beings like herself who are primed to be called mutants. Marvel Comics have explained repeatedly that a mutant gene dwells in many characters which can be used for the MCU.
I know this theory puts me on the level of Charlie Day from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, but it is something to think about and hopefully helps you draw your own conclusions for WandaVision and the MCU. We’ll just have to wait and see what Marvel Studios is up to next in the years to come. This is Marvel’s world; we just live in it.