(Photo by Marvel Studios)
After so much speculation, actor-endorsed blind alleys, and examinations of the kitchen sets, WandaVision drew to a close the only way it could. And while that may leave some hoping for certain cameos disappointed, the lingering questions will continue to fuel our speculation about the overall Phase 4 story for sometime. WandaVision may have seen its series finale, but the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues. Let’s take a look at the program’s contributions to the MCU’s ongoing tale.
Spoiler Alert: This article reveals details from WandaVision episode 9 “The Series Finale.” Stop here if you have not watched the episode.
(Photo by Suzanne Tenner/Marvel Studios)
Suggesting the book in Agatha’s (Kathryn Hahn) basement was The Darkhold may be our only correct guess during the series, but we’ll take it. The book is an immensely powerful tome, as we previously discussed, and a key object for any of Marvel’s magic users to obtain. But Agatha added an interesting wrinkle by telling Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) the Scarlet Witch has a whole page devoted to her. It declares she will end the world.
The series seems to agree with The Darkhold as Wanda’s powers grew exponentially this week and looked quite destructive. Then there’s Wanda’s style as the Scarlet Witch. While we’re sure fans are happy to finally see her with a costume inspired by the late, great Jack Kirby — seriously, we love Kirby’s penchant for thrilling headgear — it looks far more like a villain’s get-up than that of an Avenger.
But, perhaps, that is the point. If Wanda’s abilities are as dangerous as The Darkhold suggests, then Wanda still has quite a struggle ahead of her to combat the more impulsive and destructive aspects of her soul. Look at the way she initially strangled the Westview residents when they confronted her. That was instinct. And though Wanda released them and removed the Hex, the final shot of her reading The Darkhold sure feels like a clear indication that she will be Doctor Strange’s (Benedict Cumberbatch) opponent in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Or, at least, he’ll have to battle the Scarlet Witch even as Wanda fights against her from inside.
Maybe we’ll even get a recreation of The Patty Duke Show during the film.
Now that The Darkhold is an artifact in the MCU, it still leaves us wondering about Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and its role in that series. Considering that series firmly established the book corrupts all who read it, will it be the true source of the Scarlet Witch’s desire to end all things?
(Photo by Marvel Studios - episode 105)
Though WandaVision‘s plot, and Wanda’s powerset, always seemed like a great opportunity to introduce the Mutants into the MCU — Wanda’s ties to the X-Men are almost as strong as her association with the Avengers — the hoped for moment was dispelled once Monica (Teyonah Parris) looked at a Water and Power statement addressed to one Ralph Boehner (Evan Peters) and one of his headshots. The fake Pietro was an actor all along! He was also Agnes’s never-seen husband Ralph. Honestly, it’s a nice tying of the bow as any other explanation for the guy (short of another reality’s Pietro Maximoff) would require a lot of screentime.
But, of course, it means no X-Men related revelations occurred in the series as a whole. And in the last month, speculation about certain cameos ran rampant. We participated, of course, and until we saw Wanda’s father, Olek (Daniyar), last week we started to wonder if, perhaps, Ian McKellan would appear as Magneto at the last second just for Wanda to ask “Papa?” as the screen turned to black.
Such a scene is still possible in some other project, of course.
Unfortunately, much of the cameo game turned out to be a joke on the part of Paul Bettany, who admitted earlier this week that he was referring to himself as The Vision (more on that in moment) and not some truly earth-shattering special appearance.
(Photo by Marvel Studios)
Which leads to a question: Is WandaVision lesser for not having that shocking cameo? We’ve striven to let the show’s text guide us in our ponderings — even when it led us away from the Agatha Harkness fan theory. And while we always suggested Wanda’s powers could give us the X-Men — and used the Kick-Ass joke as evidence — we’re not exactly sad they didn’t appear. The one thing we’ve definitely held onto was Wanda’s grief as the reason for the Westview Anomaly. And though the show ended on a more melancholy note than we expected, we’re satisfied with the resolution to the mystery presented in the first three episodes.
Those expecting Mephisto may not be so satisfied. But hope for the Devil springs eternal and Billy (Julian Hilliard) and Tommy (Jett Klyne) shouts in the last moments of the end-credit stinger should fuel the further possibility of his eventual arrival. With The Darkhold, the Dark Dimension, and a Mutliverse of madness in play, he is — like Thanos — inevitable. But he may, ultimately, have nothing to do with the twins’ continued existence.
(Photo by Marvel Studios)
As in the comics, the use of the definite article in regard to Vision (Bettany) is inconsistent. To be sure, he is often addressed as “The Vision” on comic book covers and in stories, but characters just as often drop “the” as he becomes more than a title — an interchangeability he shares with the Batman, oddly enough. But in the program’s final cast list, it credits Bettany as both both Vision and The Vision, using that grammatical option as a way to differentiate the Vis we grew to love over the course of the series and the reanimated corpse of the original synthezoid.
And we’re here for it because it also speaks to the underlying conflict in their battle: the authenticity of Visions.
Indeed, after their thrilling fight, they have an equally thrilling conversation about who is The Vision really is — leading to, we suspect, the proper resurrection of the true Vision. The Vision’s mention of having been J.A.R.V.I.S., the AI in Tony Stark’s early Iron Man suits, seems to indicate his memories, self-awareness, and autonomy are again intact. But the fact their argument ends with them both truly being Vision and not The Vision (or is that vice versa?) also indicates The Vision will need to continue soul-searching before he can obtain his true colors.
Or, perhaps, that piece of the Mind Stone residing in Wanda will someday lead to The Vision becoming whole. In the meantime, we definitely love the elegant wordplay in differentiating Vision from The Vision. It’s definitely better than our pitch from last week: New Vision and Vision’s Corpse.
All that said, we love for both versions of the character to merge some day. Well, presuming Vis didn’t download his memories into The Vision already.
(Photo by Suzanne Tenner/Marvel Studios - episode 105)
While it may have been the briefest resolution in the series, we were glad to see Dr. Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings) trap S.W.O.R.D. director Hayward (Josh Stamberg) so he could be taken into FBI custody. Although, we admit it would’ve been nice to see him get a more just dessert — a la Agatha becoming Agnes again.
Nevertheless, it puts Monica in a prime position to become director of S.W.O.R.D. But considering all that she’s learned about the organization in the last week, would she want the job? The fact she’s still wearing a S.W.O.R.D. shirt is a visual clue that it is indeed possible and, clearly, she could do good work there. But there is another tempting offer on the table.
(Photo by Marvel Studios - Captain Marvel)
In what has to be our first glimpse of Secret Invasion, a Skrull operative spirits Monica away from the scene of Hayward’s crime to tell her “an old friend” of her mother wants to talk. In space. Now, there are two people who could be Maria Rambeau’s old friend: Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) and Nicholas J. Fury (Samuel L. Jackson). In terms of Marvel Studios’ production chronology, we’ll next see Monica in the Captain Marvel sequel, but we’re going to assume Fury has invited Monica to the orbital staging platform glimpsed at the end of Spider-Man: Far From Home. Which, of course, only leads to more questions about Fury.
For one thing: How long has that platform been there? Considering he was erased during the Blip, he could not have put this thing together in just a few weeks. That suggests it’s been there for a while and, perhaps, what he was working on before he turned to dust in 2019. But the Skrull operative leads to a new possibility — is the outpost even his? Perhaps the Skrulls put it there as part of their decades-long secret invasion.
Or, possibly, the platform is a next generation S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier capable of trans-atmospheric travel. Although Fury seemingly washed his hands of the agency at the end of Captain America: The Winter Solider — or left it in Agent Coulson’s (Clark Gregg) capable hands if you accept Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. as canon — we doubt he’d truly let it wither away no matter how disgraced Hydra left it or how many of its secrets Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) exposed.
If that is the case, it leaves Monica with an intriguing choice: lead S.W.O.R.D or join S.H.I.E.L.D. Granted, we’re presuming a lot about both organizations — like Fury having no stake in S.W.O.R.D. — and Monica’s interest in them. One thing is clear though from what we know of her so far: an invitation into space is something she cannot refuse. And while her powers are still mysterious — is she a being of pure light now? — we have no doubt the next time we see her, it will be out among the stars.
(Photo by Marvel Studios)
The 20th century television sitcoms Wanda loved and emulated within the Hex took great pains to restore the status quo at the end of any given episode. On Bewtiched, Sam’s magic remained hidden and Darren stayed employed. The Bradys always found family unity and their housekeeper, Alice, always found the right quip. But WandaVision eschews that tendency — and, perhaps, Wanda’s greatest wish — for such tidy resolutions.
Although we now know Agatha’s main objective was to steal Wanda’s powers because she was “undeserving,” she is now imprisoned as “nosey neighbor” Agnes. It is unclear if she will continue to live in Westview with poor Ralph or in some sort of stasis near Wanda’s Sokovian cabin. And though it feels like a fitting punishment, is it really Wanda’s to dole out? She evaded any accounting for her own transgressions, after all. And while she did apologize to Monica, it feels incomplete without one of the townspeople offering some sort of absolution.
Then consider what Westview becomes without the Hex: dilapidated houses and a nearly abandoned downtown. It was on the brink of economic collapse before Wanda got there. And yet, the obvious pain its citizens were in, compounded by Wanda inadvertently forcing them to experience her own, means her cosmetic enhancements came at a terrible cost and further cement her as a villain. Nevertheless, Wanda is also the protagonist and by the grammar of the shows she idolized, she should be able to at least restore Westview to some prosperity as reparation. The fact she cannot is an interesting counter to the world she tried to make for herself. And in removing the Hex, she sacrificed the handful of things which brought her some joy in the weeks since the battle with Thanos.
(Photo by Marvel Studios)
Of course, trying to weigh that out leads back to the question of authenticity Vision and The Vision confronted. Does the pain she unleashed to create a false reality negate the grief she was in? Whose pain is the pain?
That ambiguity, and the haunting foreshadowing of the Scarlet Witch as an extinction-level event, is something we’ll have to live with until Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness picks up the thread. But as we were always sympathetic to Wanda’s grief, we hope the character finds the help she needs and comes back from the brink.
In the meantime, we’ll congratulate WandaVision for using the grammar of television and the language of sitcoms to present these ideas to us. Also, we’ll thank them for eight weeks of wild theories, endless possibility, and one of Marvel Studios’ most emotionally resonant stories.