Of all the TV and movie projects that Marvel Studios unveiled in its Phase 4 lineup during San Diego Comic-Con 2019, WandaVision is no doubt the most curious one. The reaction to this Disney+ series about Elizabeth Olsen's Scarlet Witch and Paul Bettany's Vision has been somewhat tepid - but that's because fans might not yet see just how pivotal the series could be.
Now that we know more about what's coming from the next crop of Marvel Cinematic Universe movies - specifically Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness - there's growing evidence that WandaVision may not be the kitschy romantic show it initially seems to be. It could in fact be a vehicle to a major MCU story arc, and may even set up the X-Men's MCU debut! Here's how:
So far, WandaVision has been presenting a confusing picture for fans. The show's teaser has been shown to Disney investors and the crowd at Comic-Con's Hall H, and seems to indicate a 1950s setting for the series. The period piece aesthetic of the series is understandably confusing, as Scarlet Witch is currently restored from Thanos' "Blip" in the 2023 timeline of Phase 4, while Vision has been dead since facing Thanos in Infinity War. So how do Wanda and Vision ever end up in the 1950s? And how is Vision even restored to life? The answer to those two questions may be the key to one of MCU Phase 4's biggest story arcs.
House of M
In the famous 2000s storyline "Avengers Disassembled", the Avengers have a major falling out with Scarlet Witch, after Wanda becomes a walking doomsday weapon when she falls under Doctor Doom's mind control. Wanda's powers are put to deadly use by Doom, as she is able to "hex" (i.e., telepathically affect) her teammates, causing a She-Hulk rampage that results in Vision's death. More frightening is Wanda's ability to warp reality, as she summons a Kree army to attack Manhattan (resulting in Hawkeye's death), and begins to conjure more horrific constructs to wipe out the Avengers, until Doctor Strange is forced to shut her down, using the eye of Agamotto.
Instead of being permanently detained or destroyed, Wanda is taken by Magneto and Professor Xavier for treatment. Instead of getting better, Scarlet Witch's grief over her dead children causes her reality power to spiral out of control, and despite the best efforts of Xavier's telepathy and Doctor Strange's magic, it becomes clear the only way to shut Scarlet Witch down for good is to kill her. However, before any of that can happen, Wanda's abilities explode in a wave that alters all of reality, creating the famous "House of M" timeline. In the new world Scarlet Witch creates, the Avengers and X-Men heroes each get to live the life he/she secretly desire the most; thanks to Magneto, it's a world where Mutants rule. Eventually reality is set right, albeit with a key change: Wanda uses her power to wipe out the X-gene in almost every mutant on Earth.
Looking back at the central mysteries of WandaVision (the setting and Vision's resurrection), it's not hard to imagine how Marvel Studios could be taking Elizabeth Olsen's Scarlett Witch down a path similar to that leading up to "House of M" in the comis. In the MCU, Wanda's big losses aren't her children, but rather her parents, brother, and lover, Vision. During Marvel's Comic-Con 2019 panel, Olsen teased that WandaVision will reveal why she's called "Scarlet Witch," and reveal more about the origin and nature of her powers, which definitely sounds like more of the reality-warping aspects of the character will be introduced to the MCU.
If Scarlet Witch discovers she can alter reality, then the two mysteries of WandaVision aren't really mysteries anymore: Wanda creates the kitschy 1950s world, and brings back Vision to live with her there (and there children?). The series would then move into deeper dramatic territory from there, as the construct of Vision would likely begin to realize that things aren't real, and neither is he. That would lead to a conflict that forces Wanda to either accept reality or rebel hard against it. Actor Paul Bettany had already joked that he doesn't know if he's truly alive or dead in the series, which may actually be a statement hiding shades of truth, if the WandaVision version of Vision is just a construct Wanda conjures.
Right now, it seems that Wanda's ultimate reaction would be breaking with reality, instead of accepting all the loss she's suffered. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is confirmed to have a major component involving Wanda, and it could very well be her emotional state fracturing and wreaking havoc with her reality-warping powers. It's a threat level that would certainly require Doctor Strange's intervention, and could tie back to Mordo's idea of too many sorcerers holding power in the world. Finally, Strange stopping Wanda and fixing reality could also set up Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness to be a potential introduction to something else: Mutants in the MCU!
In the comics, "House of M" ended with Wanda restoring the true reality of the Marvel 616 Universe, with one big change: her proclamation that there should be "No More Mutants." However, the MCU likes to flip comic book tradition on its head, and could do so by having Wanda first find out she is a mutant, and then wish for a world where there were more like her, instead of none like her.
Having Scarlet Witch light that fuse would be a great way for Marvel Studios to get around a big question: why did it take so long for mutants to appear in the MCU? Films like The Eternals could easily explain why humanity carries the dormant X-Gene (Celestials), while Wanda's actions (and Doctor Strange's corrections) could explain how the X-Genes finally get activated. It would be a big, interesting change in the X-men mythos, of gown adults suddenly start manifesting mutant powers. Best yet, if its a fuse that's lit by the ending of Doctor Strange 2, it still allows Kevin Feige and co. a long time before a full world of mutants and X-Men has to be addressed.
Do you think WandaVision will turn out ot be more piovtal than we think? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!
Upcoming Marvel Studios projects include Black Widow on May 1, 2020, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier in fall 2020, The Eternals on November 6, 2020, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings on February 12, 2021, WandaVision in spring 2021, Loki in spring 2021, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness on May 7, 2021, What If? In summer 2021, Hawkeyein fall 2021, and Thor: Love and Thunder on November 5, 2021.