Does WandaVision Really Need a Villain?

With just one episode of WandaVision remaining, many of the questions presented by the Marvel Cinematic Universe series have begun to get answers, such as how Wanda created the Hex encompassing Westview and what SWORD wants with Vision. However, for all of the answers that have begun to unfold the question of who the villain of WandaVision is remains a bit up in the air. On the surface, it looks like Agatha (Kathryn Hahn) and Hayward (Josh Stamberg) are both doing some heavy lifting as "bad" guys with Agatha pushing Wanda's (Elizabeth Olsen) buttons and Hayward reconstructing Vision, but neither are necessarily villains in the traditional sense. It begs the question, is this the first MCU installment without a true villain, and does WandaVision even need one?

At this point, we can pretty clearly establish that Wanda is not a villain. While her actions aren't necessarily heroic, they also aren't coming from a place of malice or even deliberation. MCU fans already know that Wanda has been through an immense amount of trauma and loss, but "Previously On" showed just how deeply that impacted her with the heartbreaking reveal that she and Vision (Paul Bettany) had plans to build a home and settle down in Westview before everything went wrong. The grief overwhelmed her and she spontaneously lost it in a magical sense, thus creating the Hex.

Agatha is the next logical choice for the villain and there has been plenty of speculation as to who she might be involved with -- names like Mephisto, Chthon, and Nightmare have all been tossed about in various fan theories -- but the episode also gave some insight on Agatha's origin as well. The episode revealed that she was a witch in Salem, Massachusetts in the 17th century and is set to be executed by her own coven when her mother Evanora accuses her of dabbling in dark magic. Agatha ends up absorbing the magic from the rest of the coven and even ends up killing her own mother. Yes, it's vicious, but it is also somewhat justifiable as self-defense. There's no indication that Agatha was actually doing anything wrong, just dabbling in something perceived to be dangerous and forbidden. In the present, her involvement with Wanda appears to be a matter of her trying to figure out what exactly is going on and why Wanda can wield so much power, and while her approach isn't great (and we are not absolving her for killing Sparky) it's not necessarily villainous. One can even argue that Agatha has herself carried the trauma of her near-death at the stake, perhaps influencing how she deals with Wanda now.

That leaves Hayward. At this point, Hayward is the clearest candidate for "villain". We've seen him outright lie about Wanda when he made it seem like she'd attacked SWORD and stolen Vision's body. We've seen him treat Monica (Teyonah Parris), Jimmy (Randall Park), and Darcy (Kat Dennings) horribly. We've seen him try to murder Wanda and in "Previously On" we see that he's even violating Vision's final wishes by reassembling him and bringing him back online, presumably to operate as some sort of weapon. Hayward is a jerk. But WandaVision has also been subtly acknowledging that Hayward is also dealing with his own trauma of a sort. What we really know about Hayward is that he was one of the people who were not dusted in The Snap. That means he was left behind in a chaotic world trying to make sense of what happened as well as deal with the systemic failures that had to have accompanied the event. Half of the world's population gone in a snap would clearly create infrastructure issues and a lot of horrifying experiences. As a survivor who happens to be part of a government agency, that is a lot of stress. Hayward even snaps at some point and tells Monica that she has no idea what it was like in those five years. Whatever Hayward experienced has left him not the man he was before -- he could even potentially experiencing PTSD. The recreation of Vision could be a reaction to that, a measure meant to protect the world should a threat like Thanos arrive again. Jerk? Yes. Evil villain? Probably not (and it is always possible that he's following orders from someone else, keep that in mind.)

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At least at this point, it seems like there's not a clear villain in WandaVision and, if what we've seen thus far is any indication, the series doesn't really need one. There is enough complexity in how each of the characters is dealing with grief and trauma and how that influences their actions that the story doesn't need someone behind the scenes causing the misery. As is the case in real life, there isn't always a villain and instead, just the ways people react to and deal with their experiences and that may be the most compelling story of all.

The first eight episodes of WandaVision are now streaming on Disney+.