WandaVision: What is chaos magic and how does it connect to Doctor Strange 2?
Wanda’s powers were given a bit of a highlight in WandaVision’s penultimate episode - but what is a Scarlet Witch?
Well, we finally know how Wanda did it.
In WandaVision’s penultimate episode we took a trip down memory lane to discover how exactly Elizabeth Olsen’s spellcaster created the “Westview Anomaly”, with Agatha Harkness (Kathryn Hahn) eventually discovering that some latent magical talent was enhanced by the Mind Stone to give Wanda unparalleled abilities.
“I know what you are. You have no idea how dangerous you are,” Agnes tells Wanda.
“You’re supposed to be a myth. A being capable of spontaneous creation. And here you are, using it to make breakfast for dinner.”
Later, she adds: “This is Chaos Magic, Wanda. And that makes you the Scarlet Witch.”
But what is Chaos Magic, what is a Scarlet Witch and how could this connect to the upcoming Doctor Strange movie? Read on and find out.
Chaos Magic explained
Within the world of Marvel comics, Chaos Magic is an extremely powerful form of magic capable of manipulating, warping and reconstructing the fabric of existence, with the potential to bring destruction to the cosmos – sound familiar?
Used by the Elder God Chthon to rule the Earth as “God of Chaos,” the magic was sealed away when Chthon was defeated by a group of Mages, who spread the rumour that Chaos magic wasn’t real and sealed all traces of it inside a mountain. Unfortunately, that mountain later became the birthplace of a certain Wanda Maximoff, who a surviving version of Chthon infected with a little piece of the magic.
This meant that growing up, Wanda was able to innately control Chaos Magic, combining with her natural mutant abilities of energy manipulation to allow her create simple “hexes” and “hex-bolts” and later growing to be more sophisticated with tutoring from Agatha Harkness (who is a LOT nicer in the comics).
Anyway, this magic later got Wanda into trouble as the mental strain of controlling it (combined with Wanda remembering her lost children, who had previously been wiped from her memory) caused her to have a nervous breakdown. Lashing out with her new power she consciously and unconsciously attacked the Avengers, raising some from the dead, blowing up others and generally causing chaos (and an alien invasion).
And the WandaVision version of Chaos Magic, while lacking the Chthon connection seems to behave similarly, which could lead to an interesting crossover…
Doctor Strange and the WandaVision connection
In the comic-book storyline, Wanda’s attack on the Avengers concludes with the arrival of Doctor Strange, who had sensed great misuse of magic and is angered that nobody told him of Wanda’s recent issues.
Even Strange had believed Chaos magic wasn’t real, and had to battle Wanda into submission – and we can’t help but wonder whether something similar is set to happen towards the end of WandaVision.
After all, episode eight has confirmed that Wanda’s powers are at least partially based on magic, as opposed to just some vague Infinity stone-based energy projection. While Wanda may not have known she was doing magic, Agatha (Kathryn Hahn) could certainly recognise it, and given the scale of what Wanda pulled off it’s not hard to imagine Earth’s Sorcerer Supreme coming to check on this magical threat. It’s his job!
And maybe, depending how WandaVision concludes this could explain Elizabeth Olsen’s already-confirmed Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness role. Rather than Strange’s enemy (though we’re not ruling that out) maybe Wanda has gone to learn some basics of magic, which Agatha pointed out Wanda was entirely ignorant of. Working with Strange, Wanda might be able to master her powers, and prevent any more unintentional catastrophes like the Westview anomaly.
If Wanda did that without even trying, she’s dangerous. And it might behove her to get her magic under control in case she really hurts someone in the future – and then if she was already working with Strange, it makes sense that she’d get pulled into his next adventure.
Unless of course she just gets turned into an evil witch who he has to fight. Speaking of…
Who or what is the Scarlet Witch?
For the first time WandaVision episode eight introduced Wanda’s comic-book codename, presented by Agatha as the name of some sort of mythical title.
In the comics, as we say, Scarlet Witch is just what Wanda calls herself when she needs a “superhero/villain name” – but in WandaVision it seems to have some more significance, suggesting that Wanda’s arrival has been prophesied by magic users as someone who can use Chaos Magic and reshape the world to her will.
And we might just have glimpsed this figure in the episode. When Wanda is reminded of the day she got her abilities, the Mind Stone shows her a vision of a woman in silhouette, who’s wearing the trademark pointed head-dress (referenced in episode six of WandaVision) Wanda uses in the comics.
Fans have pointed out that this look a bit like a costume glimpsed in a WandaVision poster (the shared belt buckle, apparently, as shown in this enhanced image) suggesting that this figure is Wanda glimpsing herself, and her future, so it seems likely we’ll see Wanda in this outfit by the end of the series finale.
Is this Wanda’s villain outfit, ready to take on Doctor Strange? Or is it just a new look she takes on briefly before coming to her senses, maybe with the help of her husband Vision (whether that’s the Westview or the White/Cataract version)?
“This is definitely a show about learning more about Wanda Maximoff, learning more about the Scarlet Witch, learning more about not only where she's been, but where she's headed to,” WandaVision director Matt Shakman previously told RadioTimes.com when asked about how the series would conclude in its final episode.
“This is an exciting opportunity to really delve deep and level this character up.”
Clearly, the Scarlet Witch is here at last – and she might be around to stay.
Want more WandaVision content? Check out our guide to the WandaVision cast, the WandaVision release schedule, Agatha Harkness, the Darkhold and the creepy WandaVision commercials. Plus, we ask: When is WandaVision set and how did Vision survive?
WandaVision releases new episodes on Disney Plus on Fridays. You can sign up to Disney Plus now for £79.90 for a year or £7.99 a month.
Want something else to watch? Check out our full TV Guide.