Hasitha Fernando revisits Marvel’s WandaVision…
With Loki due to conclude this week, now is a good a time as any to take a look at the weirdly original TV show which kickstarted the MCU’s first foray into the world of streaming- WandaVision. From the get go it was obvious WandaVision was nothing unlike anything that Feige & co. had previously conjured up. The show not only functioned as a brilliant throwback to sitcoms of yesteryear, but also offered a genuinely heartfelt narrative filled with compelling performances and some unexpected surprises. Whilst the events transpiring in WandaVision was said to lead directly into Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness it seems that there maybe a few plot threads of Loki that would get inevitably entangled with the aforementioned film as well. Could our fan favorite anti-hero and Sylvie birth the mother-of-all-Nexus-events which would undo the sacred timeline? Only time will tell, for now, let’s take a deep dive into the world of WandaVision and look back some of its biggest takeaways.
1. It Was Agatha All Along
Undoubtedly the biggest takeaway from episode 7 of WandaVision was the reveal that our unusually friendly neighbor Agnes was indeed… Agatha Harkness herself. Actress Kathryn Hahn’s casting certainly had Marvel fans speculating about her identity from the very outset, now we all know who she really is. In the source material Harkness was an extremely powerful witch who survived the 17th Century Salem Witch trials and eventually mentored Wanda extensively in the arts of witchcraft and magic. She was also a nanny for Franklin Richards, the son of Reed Richards and Sue Storm of the Fantastic Four, and played a pivotal role during the events of Westcoast Avengers #52 when Wanda Maximoff birthed Tommy and Billy, who in reality were artificial constructs made from Mephisto’s soul. Whilst the comic book Harkness was somewhat of a morally ambiguous character her MCU counterpart turned out to be a full-blown baddie hellbent on harnessing Maximoff’s reality altering chaos magic. During the Battle of Westview Maximoff was able to successfully defeat Harkness by adopting the latter’s tactics by casting protective runes. As Maximoff’s transformation to Scarlet Witch became complete she used her Chaos Magic to imprison Harkness in Westview, to live out the rest of her life as the sitcom character Agnes-the nosy neighbor (although Kevin Feige has teased her return to the MCU, saying it “can’t come soon enough”).
2. Tommy & Billy Maximoff
Tommy and Billy were products of Wanda Maximoff’s chaos magic, and though the turn of events certainly baffled Maximoff at first, she later realized it was her doing all along. In the comics the twins were subconscious constructs created by shards of Mephisto’s soul but their genesis within the MCU appears to be more straightforward…Or is it? In the post-credit’s scene of the series finale, we see Maximoff’s astral projection perusing the Darkhold and we hear the voices of Tommy and Billy ever so briefly before the screen dramatically cuts to black. Now what’s interesting to note was that the music accompanying this short scene was the theme of the Sorcerer Supreme composed by Michael Giacchino for Doctor Strange. It’s a subtle detail but one that holds a great deal of significance, as we now know that Maximoff will play an instrumental role in the story of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness come March 25th, 2022. But whether the character’s role will be more villainous or otherwise, is something we’ll have to wait and see.
3. Monica Rambeau’s Transformation
Capt. Rambeau’s inevitable transformation was heavily hinted at in the episode 6 of WandaVision, with Dr. Darcy Lewis stating that the S.W.O.R.D agent’s core physiology had been ‘rewritten on a molecular level’ since she entered the Westview anomaly on two occasions. In episode 7 we witnessed the character’s full-blown transformation to her alter-ego Spectrum/Photon. Her powers include the ability to transform herself into any energy form, found within the electromagnetic spectrum. Because of this Rambeau’s able to render herself invisible and intangible when the need arises and is even capable of flight. Following the events that transpired in Captain Marvel Maria Rambeau founded S.W.O.R.D, as a sister organization to S.H.I.E.L.D that dealt with more extra-terrestrial origin threats. Rambeau grew up to become a S.W.O.R.D agent, working under the direct supervision of her mother until her terminal diagnosis. In the comics Rambeau was a member of the Avengers team and even replaced Wasp, as the leader of the Avengers, at one point. She was even recruited by the Black Panther to fend off a vampire outbreak in New Orleans, as part of an all-black team up featuring the likes of Blade, Luke Cage, Brother Voodoo and Panther himself. It remains to be seen what kind of important role Rambeau will play in the MCU going forward, but for now we do know that we’ll next see her in action when The Marvels hits theaters on November 11th, 2022.
Created by Joss Whedon and John Cassaday the super-secret agency S.W.O.R.D was first introduced in the pages of Astonishing X-Men Vol. 3 #6 as a sub-division of S.H.I.E.L.D, responsible for dealing with extra-terrestrial threats to world security. Hence, in the comics S.W.O.R.D stood for Sentient World Observation and Response Department. But this acronym underwent an oh-so-slight alteration for its MCU counterpart, with the words now standing for Sentient Weapon Observation and Response Division. So, what implications did this change have in the grander, more MCU concerned scheme of things? Well, the term ‘sentient weapon’ could be alluding to the fact that they are keeping tabs on all powerful super-powered beings in existence, and Wanda Maximoff was also one of them. In WandaVision it seems that S.W.O.R.D is keeping tabs on Wanda and monitoring the events of the Westview anomaly that she had inadvertently created. This is obviously because S.W.O.R.D thinks that Wanda could potentially be a danger to herself and others in her present volatile state. The name adjustment also could mean that this enigmatic group now tackles more earth-based threats, as opposed to the cosmic ones like they did in the comics. The decision to introduce S.W.O.R.D into the MCU may also be based on the fact that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and its plots have strayed too much from the MCU’s established premise, and Feige & co. needed a suitable replacement to minimize continuity errors. Suffice to say, this ain’t the last we’ve seen of these chaps.
5. The White Vision
Following Vision’s demise at the hand of the Mad Titan his body was acquired by none other than S.W.O.R.D, who experimented upon it with a view of weaponizing it. However, their efforts were futile as they failed to ‘reactivate’ the body despite harnessing all available power sources in existence. However, their fortunes turned with the events of the Westview anomaly, when they utilized traces of Maximoff’s Chaos Magic, found on one of their dismantled surveillance drones, to reactivate Vision. Unleashed on Westview by S.W.O.R.D Director Tyler Hayward, this emotionless synthesoid was tasked with one mission-terminate Maximoff and the Hex Vision. Hayward’s plan backfired gloriously at the latter half when both Visions reach a brief truce and discussed the theory of the Ship of Theseus, which is a thought experiment that raises the question whether an object that had all of its components replaced remains fundamentally the same object. Based on this metaphysical argument both Visions came to an understanding that ‘what’ determined who the true Vision is, was the vivid past experiences and memories. The Hex Vision then allowed this crucial data to be accessed by White Vision, who then proclaimed “I’m Vision” before flying off. You’ll be surprised to know that in the comics that our vibrantly colorful automaton once sported a very colorless look in one particular story arc. In 1989’s Westcoast Avengers #42 Vision was kidnapped by a spy agency, who feared what he’s capable of. By the time the Avengers tracked him down Vision been disassembled and left for dead. Dr. Hank Pym however, was able to put him back together again, but the resulting output was significantly different to the original version. In addition to being completely drained of color, he lacked the emotion and empathy of his former self much like what we see with White Vision. So, what are the implications of this new White Vision’s inclusion in the MCU? Well, if Disney has decided to take character through a Westcoast Avengers style story arc, we’ll likely see an emotionless automaton-esque version of Vision in future installments, which may prove somewhat problematic for the Earth’s Mightiest, going forward. Only time will tell.
6. The Skrulls Show Up
We all knew that the WandaVision finale was gonna blow our minds, but what we didn’t expect was we’d also be blessed with both a mid and post-credit’s scene that had larger implications in the MCU going forward. To recap the mid-credit scene, we see Monica Rambeau summoned inside the Westview theatre by an unnamed FBI agent. Once they were alone the FBI agent shapeshifts to reveal her true form. Not stopping there, the Skrull added that she was sent by an ‘old friend of Rambeau’s mother’, who now wants to meet the new super-powered pilot. When a surprised Rambeau asked ‘where’ the enigmatic Skrull points upward. Now all these clues point to one particular person- Nick Fury. Now we do know that Nick Fury, Talos and the Skrulls will next be featured in the Secret Invasion TV series due to debut in 2022, so it’s possible that Rambeau might probably be featured in it in some capacity. For the uninitiated Marvel’s Secret Invasion storyline was an eight-issue limited series published in 2008 whose story involved the subversive, long-term infiltration of Earth by Skrulls, who have replaced most of the world’s superheroes with imposters. The premise does afford the fun opportunity for Feige & co. to shake the MCU continuity up a bit and make things interesting, so here’s hoping. But why did the Skrull point upwards at the sky? If you cast your mind back to the post-credit’s scene of 2019’s Spider-Man: Far From Home, the space station that Nick Fury and a group of Skrulls were operating out of was incredibly reminiscent of S.W.O.R. D’s headquarters in the comics called The Peak. And since the events transpiring in WandaVision takes place immediately after Avengers: Endgame it’s certainly possible for Fury to be stationed in space, by the time Rambeau and the Skrull have their cloak-and-dagger conversation.
7. The birth of Scarlet Witch
WandaVision was a lot of things, but its central story concerned Maximoff’s heart rending, cathartic journey towards her inevitable transformation into the Scarlet Witch. At the conclusion of the action-packed episode 8 Harkness addresses Maximoff as the Scarlet Witch, because the latter possessed the power to control Chaos Magic. Now Chaos Magic is a very powerful form of magic whose very existence wasn’t even known to the Sorcerer Supreme. It is magic that is capable of manipulating, warping and altering the very fabric of reality, thus bringing about…sheer chaos. In the comics the dark Elder God Chthon, utilized Chaos Magic to rule the Earth as the ‘God of Chaos’. The mages of Earth however, banded together and sealed him within Mount Wundagore, the future birthplace of none other than Wanda Maximoff. As a newborn child, Maximoff was touched by the hand of Chthon, which is why she was bestowed with the ability to control Chaos Magic. During the finale’s post-credit scene, we see that Maximoff has sought the refuge of a charming log cabin set in an idyllic, mountainous countryside. It’s possible that the elevated landform in the backdrop was Mount Wundagore itself. But if it is, the chances of Maximoff and the Chthon crossing paths will certainly be very high indeed. Afterall the God of Chaos did pen the Darkhold at this very location, the very grimoire Maximoff’s astral projection was intently perusing during the final frames of the show.
Hasitha Fernando is a part-time medical practitioner and full-time cinephile. Follow him on Twitter via @DoctorCinephile for regular updates on the world of entertainment.