The fifth episode of Disney+ series WandaVision ended with such a big cliffhanger that it’d be easy to ignore just about everything else that happened in the story, and certainly a lot of attention has focused on that cameo and what it could mean for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Still, some other intriguing details are worth poring over – including one hint towards Wanda’s future that ties into some other slightly confusing parts of the wider WandaVision story.
Basically, it’s all to do with the Scarlet Witch.
Of course, quite a few readers will already know who that person is – Wanda Maximoff herself, or at least the comic book version of her. In Marvel’s original comics Scarlet Witch is the codename used by Wanda in her days battling the X-Men as one of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants (a very self-deprecating group), and retained when she joins the Avengers as a hero.
However, in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe this name has never actually been uttered – the same way that Aaron Taylor-Johnson’ Pietro was never really dubbed Quicksilver – as part of a general disdain for “superhero names” in the MCU, with heroes preferring to refer to each other by their civilian identities.
In other words, Elizabeth Olsen’s Wanda isn’t the Scarlet Witch – she’s just Wanda. But oddly, this seems like it might be about to change in future weeks, with a strange emphasis placed on Wanda’s lack of codename in this week’s episode.
“Does Maximoff have an alias? No funny nickname?” asks SWORD director Hayward (Josh Stamberg).
“Not a one,” replies Park’s Jimmy Woo.
It’s a slightly strange part of the conversation that doesn’t seem to play much of a role in the story proper – but it did remind us of a detail mentioned by WandaVision director Matt Shakman when we spoke to him after watching the first three episodes.
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“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,” Shakman exclusively 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.”
This week, WandaVision reminded us that Wanda is not, and has never been, the Scarlet Witch in the MCU. But according to the series’ director, the Scarlet Witch is an important part of the story, suggesting that Wanda will in some way assume that identity towards the end of the nine-episode miniseries. Considering Wanda’s wearing her comic-accurate Scarlet Witch costume (complete with headdress) in the next, Halloween-themed episode, maybe it’ll be even sooner.
It certainly seems possible – though what exactly it would mean for her to become the Scarlet Witch is… less clear. Why would it matter for Wanda to pick up a codename fans kind of knew she had anyway? And why would it be some moment of character development?
Well, we do have one idea. Previously we’ve touted the theory that Wanda may be the villain of WandaVision, in control of the Hex/Maximoff anomaly and the ultimate threat faced by the end of the story. This week’s episode certainly points us in that direction, with SWORD taking her for the “chief victimiser” and Wanda appearing to aggressively control those around her.
Maybe the strange events of the series will have Wanda become the Scarlet Witch in terms of her earlier villainous days in the Brotherhood – as a kind of new identity forged in the trauma of her past (which has been regularly referenced in WandaVision’s commercials) and Westview that will reframe her as a bad guy to be defeated.
We know Elizabeth Olsen is in Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness – but what if she’s really that film’s villain, somehow fracturing the Multiverse (also something that seems to happen in this week’s WandaVision) and forcing Benedict Cumberbatch’s sorcerer supreme to try and fix it? Who better than a witch to face off with a wizard, after all…
Of course, it could be that we’re reading too much into this, and maybe Wanda could just become the Scarlet Witch by really realising the true extent of her powers (which have come closer to their high comic-book levels in WandaVision already). Certainly, it's worth noting that the "Hex" nickname Darcy (Kat Dennings) gives to the Westview anomaly ties in with this, with Scarlet Witch's "hex bolts" and "hex powers" often referred to in the pages of the Avengers.
Still, considering what “The Scarlet Witch” also got up to in the comics – battling the X-Men for years, murdering several Avengers and splitting up the team, rewriting reality and making mutants the supreme species before changing it back and stripping millions of her own people of their powers – we can’t help but be a little nervous of that particular “funny nickname” becoming official.
Want more WandaVision content? Check out our latest WandaVision review, our guide to the WandaVision cast, the WandaVision release schedule, Agatha Harkness and the creepy WandaVision commercials. Plus, we ask:When is WandaVision set and how did Vision survive?
WandaVision releases new episodes on Disney+ on Fridays. You can sign up to Disney Plus for £5.99 a month or £59.99 a year.
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