The first trailer for WandaVision dropped earlier this week and it was every bit as weird and trippy as Marvel boss Kevin Feige had been teasing us it would be. As we saw shots of Elizabeth Olsen’s Wanda Maximoff stuck in a series of American sitcom-like situations with Paul Bettany’s Vision (somehow back from the dead despite being killed in Avengers: Infinity War), juxtaposed with glimpses of an outside world being monitored by agents of some sort, we all collectively went: “What?!”. I’ve set my comic book geek brain to the task though and have a theory as to what is going on and the potential massive ramifications this upcoming Disney+ series may have on the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
First, a bit of a history lesson though. A long bit of a history lesson followed by a long bit of conjecture, so please have some patience!
Introduced in the pages of X-Men in 1964 by the legendary Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, the Wanda Maximoff of the comics is very different from the Wanda Maximoff of the MCU. Most notably, the former is a mutant. More specifically, she and her twin brother Pietro Maximoff aka Quicksilver are the mutant children of longtime X-Men arch-enemy Erik Magnus Lensherr aka Magneto. Well, kind of.
Originally, the duo were just mutants who had been rescued by Magneto from an anti-mutant mob and who eventually joined his villainous Brotherhood of Evil Mutants group. However, in time they learned that Magneto had secretly been their biological father. Only to eventually learn that he wasn’t related and they were the results of experimentation by another major villain, the High Evolutionary. Maybe. It’s all a little muddled and vague. What you need to know though is that Wanda and Pietro have an incredibly close bond as siblings and a testy relationship with Magneto who they still view as a father figure. And after numerous disagreements with him, Wanda and Pietro would eventually break away from Magneto’s ranks, swapping sides to join the Avengers.
In her early days, Wanda’s mutants powers were described as “hexes” which could cause random and unlikely events to happen. This was literally done by Lee and Kirby to essentially give them the freedom to have her capable of doing whatever the story required. Later writers though, would link her abilities to actual witchcraft, before eventually a middle-ground was reached where her mutant ability was retconned to allow her to tap into and manipulate naturally-occurring chaos magic energy to alter probability quantum states. That’s a long-winded way of saying she actually changes reality. The extent of this has varied over the years.
The most notable first example though came about after she began a relationship with an unlikely partner in Vision. Introduced in Avengers in 1968 by Roy Thomas and John Buscema, Vision was affectively the “son” of Ultron, built by the classic robotic villain using the body of the original android Human Torch (a classic, mostly forgotten hero from the 1940s) and the brain patterns of the hero Wonder Man. Just like Wanda though, while starting his life as the villainous progeny of iconic bad guys, the synthezoid Vision would switch sides and join the Avengers.
It was here where the two would bond and become romantically involved, eventually marrying in 1975’s Giant-Size Avengers #4. Wanting to have the perfect married life despite her husband being an artificially created robot being, Wanda would use her abilities in the most extreme example to date, shifting probabilities in reality to give the pair children, twin sons Thomas and William, who boasted their own mutant powers. This idyllic life would come to an end over the course of a number of stories in which Vision was first shut down then later disassembled before being turned into a fully robotic, emotionless version of himself.
The biggest downer though was when Thomas and William were erased from existence after being revealed to have actually originally been part of the soul of the demon Mephisto which Wanda had inadvertently manipulated. Don’t worry they would come back to life later again, reincarnated as Thomas Shepherd and William Kaplan, aka the fledging superheroes and Young Avengers founding members Speed and Wiccan, only learning of their true familial bond later. Comics are crazy, yo!
But going back to the Thomas and William’s initial “death”, their loss drove Wanda to a mental breakdown and resulted in her marriage to Vision collapsing. Although she would eventually recover for the most part, a single comment from Avengers team member Wasp about her “dead” sons would cause Wanda to snap again, losing control of her powers as she lashed out. During this “Avengers: Disassembled” storyline, Wanda would end up attacking her teammates, resulting in the deaths of Vision and Hawkeye, while critically injuring others.
When eventually captured by the remaining Avengers with the help of the X-Men, Wanda is brought to the island nation of Genosha by Magneto so that Professor Charles Xavier can help mend her broken mind. This “House of M” story arc kicks off with her creating an illusion of the life she could have had, including an idyllic existence where her children are alive. Meanwhile, the Avengers and X-Men, horrified at the potential Omega-level threat Wanda represents, begin debating whether or not to kill her now while she’s incapacitated. Finding out about this and not wanting his sister to be killed, Quicksilver convinces her to use her powers to rewrite the whole of reality into her dream version.
In this new House of M universe, mutants, specifically her family ruled by her father Magneto, are in control of the world and humans are the minority. Many heroes are granted their innermost desires (such as Spider-Man being married to a resurrected Gwen Stacy, Wolverine remembering his entire past, etc), while Wanda also no longer has any mutant powers and cares for her children in private.
Initially, this House of M reality is quite idyllic (well, not so much for humans), but due to some characters starting to remember the original reality as a result of the abilities of a young mutant, a fight breaks out between some older heroes and the House of M. In the final conflict, Magneto learns the truth of what happened, that his rule is all just a facade, and he lashes out angrily at Quicksilver who is revealed to have been the architect of this entire reality.
Magneto actually manages to kill Quicksilver but this causes an unstable Wanda to intervene, triggering her latent mutant abilities. Resurrecting Quicksilver, Wanda declares that even when giving Magneto and other mutants a perfect world, they still ruined it. It is then that she utters those iconic three words, “No More Mutants”, resetting reality back to the way it was originally, but with nearly all mutants depowered (only 198 managed to retain their powers through some last-second magical intervention by Doctor Strange) with this “Decimation” resulting in massive societal upheaval.
And thus ends the lengthy history lesson… So what does all of that mean for WandaVision and the future of the MCU? Well, I think Marvel is planning to pull a reverse-House of M with some touches of Tom King’s acclaimed Vision miniseries thrown into the mix as well.
All you need to know about that series is that Vision, having been resurrected many years before, decides to pursue his quest to become more human and thus follows in his father’s footsteps and builds himself his own synthezoid family. With his new wife, Virginia, and twin teen children Viv and Vin, he attempted to live a stereotypical American suburban life as normally seen in classic sitcoms and TV series. Unfortunately, it all ends in tragedy when Vision’s enemies catch up to him and his family.
With WandaVision, I suspect that someone (or something) has managed to capture Wanda and incapacitate her. In response, her subconscious, tapping into a level of her powers she herself had never even realized possible, has warped reality around her to give her and a resurrected Vision this perfect suburban life, reminiscent of classic American TV series throughout the decades. You’ll notice that while the trailer originally harks back to a 1960s Bewitched-styled black and white sitcom, the character wardrobes and series aesthetics actually keep changing reflecting those of eras all the way up to the 1980s/1990s.
We can see in this fake existence that Wanda is starting to learn that she can manipulate “reality” with her powers, warping household items around her. You’ll also notice there’s a quick scene of her and Vision holding two babies during what looks to be like a 1990s-set era. Casting call sheets for the show have hinted that two teenage boys will feature in later episodes and I would bet good money that those babies grow up to be her superpowered teenage sons William and Thomas.
This pocket reality is seemingly being monitored – or maybe even controlled – by some external forces. Kathryn Hahn’s “nosy neighbour” Agnes appears to be in on the act, and possibly also Teyona Parris’ Monica Rambeau, the grown-up version of the young girl introduced in the 1990s set Captain Marvel. The trailer briefly shows a 1960s-garbed Monica being flung out this pocket reality into the “real world”. Look closely and you’ll notice tendrils of red energy on her, hinting that Wanda was the one doing the flinging.
I think that as Wanda begins piecing together what is happening to her, growing in her powers as she does so and realizing that the people around her are essentially just actors, this pocket reality is going to break down. When that happens, she will find herself back in the real MCU, but without the children that she had created (I suspect Vision will survive the transition as he appears to be engaging with Agnes in the real world). This is more than likely the tragic note upon which WandaVision will end. But we know that’s not where Wanda’s story ends as she will step right into the upcoming Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness as a co-star to Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sorcerer Supreme.
If Marvel describes her newly developed powers the same as they did in the comics – that she’s actually tapping into a magical force to alter reality – then it makes sense she would seek out Doctor Strange to help her with her abilities. The pair will team up for whatever multiverse hopping adventure director Sam Raimi has prepared for them in the upcoming sequel, but it will also be about Wanda perfecting her control on her abilities to allow her to bring back the family she had in the WandaVision reality. Except, I think that she’s going to mess it up.
With her powers not yet fully under her control, instead of bringing just her superpowered imaginary kids back to life, she’s going to inadvertently trigger a mutation in a good chunk of the human population giving them superpowered kids as well… and thus creates mutants in the MCU.
Ever since the news that Disney had bought Fox and thus reacquired the rights to the X-Men from the latter, the question had always been how do you introduce mutants into a cinematic universe that is already well established with beloved superpowered individuals. For me, two defining traits of mutants – established by creator Stan Lee – that can’t be altered in any adaptation are that they need to be a minority and they need to be persecuted by humans who fear/don’t understand them. Having a bunch of teens sprouting powers out of nowhere, with the superpowered ex-villain who kicked off the whole Sokovia Accords debacle and is now apparently capable of rewriting reality on a Thanos-like level (hell, she very nearly defeated him singlehandedly) being the source of it all, will definitely check both those boxes.
I don’t think this will be a quick thing though. Wanda may get her kids back immediately, but the other mutations may pop up gradually over the course of the next few years of the MCU. Subsequent movies could all comment on the rise of superpowered beings with tensions mounting as the anti-mutant sentiment grows. Characters such as Charles Xavier could be quietly introduced via cameos and the like, perhaps giving TV interviews on the matter. We actually saw the previous X-Men movies under Fox do exactly this as Steve Bacic portrayed a still-human version of Dr. Hank McCoy aka Beast in X-2. All it would take is some background footage of growing anti-mutant sentiment or even a post-credits scene or two to set up the inevitable big screen debut of Marvel’s version of the X-Men.
Of course, this does play havoc with certain popular characters though. If Wanda only inadvertently creates mutants in the next few years, then how could a character like Wolverine retain his defining trait of actually being incredibly old and living through a century’s worth of events thanks to his mutant healing factor, but which he can’t remember? Well, that’s why this is just a fan theory which I didn’t get paid the big bucks to come up with. I mean, I have an actual theory on that, but that calls for reworking most of what I postulated above and another massive write-up (Maybe next week?).
Even if I’m wildly off target with my theory about Wanda being behind the creation of mutants, I have a strong suspicion that we will still be seeing her sons, Thomas and William, being introduced. It’s almost certain that Marvel is setting up to introduce the Younger Avengers on-screen at some point in the future. Ant-Man and the Wasp and Avengers: Endgame has already given us Emma Fuhrmann as Cassie Lang aka the size-changing hero Stature, while the kickass archer Kate Bishop will debut in the upcoming Hawkeye series on Disney+ with Hailee Steinfeld reportedly playing her. We’ve also heard recently that the still-untitled Ant-Man 3 will see Jonathan Majors reportedly playing time-travelling villain Kang the Conqueror whose younger version, Nathaniel Richards, is Iron Lad. All of these characters are members of the Young Avengers alongside Wiccan and Speed.
The only original team members still missing then would be Elijah Bradley aka Patriot, Teddy Altman aka Hulkling, and Jonas aka Vision. Team leader Patriot is the grandson of Isaiah Bradley, one of the few surviving African-American test subjects who were brutally experimented on during WWII to recreate the super-soldier serum that gave the world Captain America a few years before. Meanwhile, Hulkling, despite his codename, has nothing to do with the green giant and is instead the shapeshifting, super-strong son of the original Captain Marvel aka the Kree hero Mar-Vell and the Skrull princess Anelle. Mar-Vell was already introduced in the MCU with Anette Bening playing a gender-swapped version of the character, now a Kree scientist who had rejected her people’s war with the Skrull. With the Captain Marvel sequel reportedly digging deeper into the Skrulls, it won’t be a big stretch to have had Mar-Vell have some kind of relationship with Skrull royalty.
As for Vision, he’s actually a newer version of the original hero that was only introduced in issue 9 of the Young Avengers series. His synthezoid body is created from Iron Lad’s high-tech armour while his brain patterns are a combination of those of the original Vision and Nathaniel’s. If something were to happen to Paul Bettany’s Vision in WandaVision to kill him off (again!), then this would be a neat way to have the character carry on in the future of the MCU. A future that I’m really excited for and which will probably begin in December when WandaVision is reportedly due to debut.
Last Updated: September 28, 2020