By the end of 2020, the Marvel Cinematic Universe had started to feel a bit…stale. Part of what makes the superhero genre so universally captivating is its ability to go places that seem too far for other mediums. But by the end of Avengers: Endgame, the MCU was closing the door on a chapter that, no matter how wildly successful, had followed a series of predictable patterns. While that doesn’t make watching Tony Stark save the world any less satisfying, it does make it less nerdy. And no matter how mainstream superheroes get, there’s always a part of the genre that deserves its place in the realm of the geek, where fan-fueled calculus thrives.
Now, with the explosion of new MCU series rolling out on Disney+ (at least four by the end of 2021), the superhero empire is reigniting fan theory fervor. When WandaVision dropped on January 15, the sitcom-turned-horror-show experiment heralded a bold new path for comic-book narratives. Turns out, superheroes can make for pretty hilarious sitcoms! But, most importantly, WandaVision—at least initially—seems intent on not spoon-feeding fans a story they’ve seen before. Which means, of course, that the fan theory machine is running hot.
WandaVision takes place after Endgame, and it stars Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany as a delightfully well-matched Wanda Maximoff and Vision, basking in newlywed (?) bliss in the quaint 1950s-era suburb of Westview. They don’t exactly know how they got here, or what they’re doing in the 1950s. But they roll with it: befriending neighbors, hosting talent shows, nearly spoiling dinner with Vision’s boss, and trying not to wither under the critical eye of local Karen, Dottie (Emma Caulfied Ford). But increasingly, Vision gets the sense not all is right in this cookie-cutter suburb.
New episodes drop every Friday, and as the puzzle pieces come together, we’re gathering the best fan theories from around the internet. Here, we’ll try to make sense of what’s happening to Wanda—and why it matters for the next phase of Marvel stories.
Theory #1: WandaVision is a spin on the comics arc House of M.
If you’ve spent any time digging around Marvel fan forums, you’ve probably already stumbled on this theory. In 2005, Marvel Comics released a storyline called House of M, written by comics legend Brian Michael Bendis, in which an insane Scarlet Witch (aka Wanda Maximoff) has a mental breakdown and attempts to recreate the universe. You see, she’s lost her two children—Billy and Tommy (sound familiar?)—as well as her grip on reality. The other Avengers and X-Men (in the comics, Wanda is a mutant) realize they must consider killing Wanda, because her reality-shaping powers pose an enormous threat to humanity if she cannot recover her sanity. Yikes.
Hearing the news of her pending execution, Wanda creates a new world, an almost-perfect utopia where her children are alive, her superhero teammates are happy, and mutants rule the world. But it’s a dangerous lie, and when Wanda realizes what she’s done, she decides the solution is to rid the world of mutants like her. (You might have seen a comic panel circulating of Wanda whispering, “No more mutants.”) At that point, the majority of the mutant population lose their powers.
It’s unlikely WandaVision will mirror House of M exactly because, at this point in the MCU, the X-Men and Avengers’ worlds have not yet collided. But it’s certainly possible that Wanda has created an alternate universe out of grief. If you remember the events of Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame, you’ll recall that Wanda is forced to kill Vision while extracting an Infinity Stone from his forehead. He does not return to life in Endgame, and she tells Thanos, “You took everything from me.”
Given the revelations we witnessed at the end of WandaVision episode 4, “We Interrupt This Program,” this theory makes a lot of sense. When Monica Rambeau is sent spiraling back into the “real” world, she whispers, “It’s all Wanda.” This implies Wanda created a new universe after Endgame, one in which she lives a picture-perfect sitcom life with Vision.
Theory #2: WandaVision will tie directly into Doctor Strange in The Multiverse of Madness.
This theory is less about if than how. Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige confirmed WandaVision will tie into the film, and Olsen will star alongside Benedict Cumberbatch in March 2022’s The Multiverse of Madness. So, what does that mean? Well, the theory of Wanda creating her own alternate reality within the multiverse seems to be true. And if she shows up in the next Doctor Strange, someone must pull her out of the sitcom-verse—and it could be the Master of the Mystical Arts himself.
Theory #3: Wanda is this show’s villain.
By the end of episode 3, “Now In Color,” we watched Wanda “rewind” or “snap” her sitcom reality back to where she wants it to be. It happens first when she watches a mysterious beekeeper rise from a manhole in episode 2, and again when Vision gets the sense not all is normal in Westview.
At the end of episode 3, Geraldine (Teyonah Parris) is banished from Westview after gently reminding Wanda that her twin brother, Pietro, died at the hands of Ultron in Avengers: Age of Ultron. As episode 4 reveals, Wanda doesn’t take kindly to this reminder and threw Geraldine out of Westview. Then, she told Vision she has “everything under control.”
This confirms that Wanda has some awareness of what’s going on, and in fact, it’s likely she’s the one orchestrating it all. She knows there’s another world beyond Westview where her brother lived and died, and where Vision similarly lived and died. And she would prefer to stay in her sitcom world. Anything—or anyone—who seeks to threaten her fake reality is…well, removable. But how much control does she really have?
In an interview with ELLE.com about WandaVision, Olsen mentioned, “With our show, you don’t know what the villain is, or if there is one at all.”
Theory #4: Agnes is really Agatha Harkness.
Here’s one that requires you to know a bit more comic lore. You first met Agnes (Kathryn Hahn), Wanda and Vision’s deliciously wry neighbor, in the WandaVision pilot. Sure, it’s possible she’s merely a quippy side-character, but I find that doubtful.
Several fans think she must be Agatha Harkness. In the comics universe, Harkness is an old (like, was-alive-before-the-sinking-of-Atlantis old) witch who escaped the Salem Witch Trials and went on to master mystical arts, later teaching them to a young Wanda Maximoff. In other points throughout the comics, she serves as Wanda’s antagonist, and she’s also the one who, after Wanda gives birth to twins Billy and Tommy, reveals to Wanda that the children are not, in fact, hers, but were born of more demonic origins. We don’t need to unpack all of that, but the point stands that Agatha has an important role in Wanda’s life—so it makes sense she’d appear in Wanda’s TV show.
Another interesting detail? In the comics, Agatha has a son named Nicholas Scratch. And the name of Agnes’s bunny in WandaVision? Señor Scratchy.
Theory #5: Wanda is losing focus.
Regardless of whether Agnes is Agatha, it seems clear she has some inkling of strange goings-on about town. She and Herb, Wanda and Vision’s hedge-cutting neighbor, trade whispers in episode 3 about Wanda, as if they know she’s doing something to them.
One Reddit fan believes this confusion on behalf of the Westview crew is due to Wanda “losing focus.” There’s a lot going on in episode 3—the poor woman’s in labor, after all. Her house decor literally starts spinning. Perhaps when she starts to lose her cool, she loses her grip on the people of Westview, and they begin to realize their reality might not be real.
In episode 4, we learn that the people of Westview are being “portrayed” by real humans. Darcy Lewis (an astrophysicist you’ll recognize from the Thor films) and Jimmy Woo (a S.H.I.E.L.D.-turned-S.W.O.R.D. agent we met in Ant-Man and the Wasp) assemble a bulletin board covered with profiles of the characters and their real names: Norm is Abilash Tandon, Phil is Harold Proctor, Mr. Hart is Todd Davis, etc. These characters probably didn’t volunteer to perform imaginary lives in Wanda’s sitcom-verse, so they must be—to one degree or another—under her thumb. But as this pseudo-reality gets harder for Wanda to manipulate, we might see more cracks in her veneer, and these characters might have a growing awareness of what’s really going on. That might lead them to rebel.
Theory #6: Geraldine will return with superpowers.
By now, you know that Geraldine is not, in fact, “Geraldine.” She’s Monica Rambeau, and she disappeared during Thanos’s snap in Endgame.
If you haven’t already googled Monica’s name in a mad fervor, here’s what you need to know: She first appeared as a little girl in Captain Marvel. She was the super-cute daughter of Carol Danvers’s best friend Maria, remember? Lieutenant Trouble? Well, a few years have passed since then, and it would seem Maria went on to found S.W.O.R.D., the Sentient World Observation and Response Department. (Basically, it’s S.H.I.E.L.D. but for Outer Space.) Maria raised her daughter in the hallways and control rooms of S.W.O.R.D. and Monica became a respected agent in her own right. But, as we learn in episode 4, Maria contracted cancer, and she died during the time Monica disappeared in the “snap.”
In the first moments of episode 4, Monica re-materializes after the Avengers reverse the “snap” and rejoins S.W.O.R.D. But she’s temporarily “grounded,” meaning she’s assigned to lowly earthly tasks. That leads her to the doorstep of Westview, and eventually to Wanda giving her the boot.
What WandaVision has yet to reveal is if this adult Monica has any abilities. In the comics, she has powers similar to Danvers, which is why she first went by Captain Marvel. Monica has a few other aliases she’s claimed throughout the years, including Photon, Spectrum, and Pulsar. An Easter egg in episode 4 reveals that Maria, in fact, used “Photon” as a nickname. Might Monica adopt the name when she debuts her powers?
Theory #7: Vision will turn against Wanda.
There’s so much we don’t know about this iteration of Vision. He died in Endgame—Wanda herself removed the Mind Stone from his head, and then Thanos crushed his skull. He did not return after the “snap.” So who is this sitcom-Vis? He can’t possibly be a reanimated corpse, can he? While the terrifying glimpse of his dead body in episode 4 might give us pause, it seems more of a temporary hallucination on Wanda’s part than anything else. Reanimating the dead seems a bit too necrophiliac for Marvel’s taste, though it’s possible if Wanda retrieved Vision’s body after Endgame.
Still, the most obvious explanation: He’s a creature of Wanda’s invention. She manifested him into reality—or, at least, her own reality. But, if that’s the case, how could he have any autonomy?
As the episodes creep by, we get the sense that Vision can tell something is wrong in Westview. When he expresses this doubt to his wife, she “rewinds” him back. When he asks the neighbors to explain their own apprehensive feelings, they dart away. And when Vision returns home to find Geraldine has mysteriously vanished, he displays an obvious unease. He doesn’t understand how Wanda’s pregnancy could have progressed so quickly, and he seems confused when she tells him they “can’t leave” Westview.
This all culminates in a spoiler-y sneak peek Marvel dropped after the latest episode. In it, we see Vision attempt to escape the suburbs. He asks, “What is outside of Westview?” The final scene in the trailer seems to imply he’s about to go to battle with the love of his life. Check out the clip to see more.
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We can’t guess exactly what this means yet. But what it signals is a rift between Wanda and her own grief. If she can’t cope with Vision’s loss, it just might turn against her.
Theory #8: The series’ big bad is Mephisto.
Now let’s get deep into the weeds. WandaVision has given us little to no clues as to who its major antagonist will be this season—except for, perhaps, Wanda herself.
It could also be Mephisto. His character has been around since the 1960s, and he’s based on the Mephistopheles of German legend. Basically, he’s a demon-like creature, oft confused for Satan, who can shape-shift and alter time. Once upon a time, he served Thanos, much like Ronan and other big bads. It’s possible he’s manipulating Wanda, or that the two of them made some sort of pact—think of it as a deal with the devil. Perhaps, in return for her own sitcom-verse where Vision is alive, Wanda agreed to enter Mephisto’s domain and become trapped under his rule.
Here’s why this theory holds so much weight: Mephisto has appeared as animals in the comics, and multiple animals appear throughout WandaVision—including a lobster, a bunny, and a stork. In episode 3, particularly, Wanda seems to have no control over the stork who stalks through her home. Is it possible it’s Mephisto in disguise?
Theory #9: The “missing person” is Mephisto.
In all the excitement of episode 4, it’s easy to forget that Monica and Jimmy first showed up in Westview because of a missing person case. But don’t let that detail escape you. It could be a huge clue.
The missing person they’re after—a male—is in the Witness Protection Program, and none of his known associates or relatives have even heard of him.
Bettany mentioned in an interview with the “Lights Camera Barstool” podcast that he works with a special mystery actor in WandaVision: “So many things get leaked, but there’s this thing that has been completely under wrap that happens. I work with this actor that I’ve always wanted to work with and we have fireworks together—the scenes are great and I think people are going to be really excited. I’ve always wanted to work with this guy and the scenes are pretty intense.”
Obviously this is an important character, and there’s a reason he hasn’t been revealed yet. Many fans think this mystery man is “Ralph,” the husband Agnes mentions frequently who has yet to appear onscreen. Others think Ralph might just be Mephisto.
Theory #10: The folks in the WandaVision commercials are Wanda’s parents.
Let’s tackle those fascinating commercials, shall we? Each promises a different Marvel Easter egg, and already, fans are dissecting screenshots for clues.
In all the “commercials” during episodes 1, 2 and 3, a couple appear and advertise different products: The first is a Stark Industries toaster, the second is a Strücker watch, and the third is “Hydra Soak,” a specialty bath product. If you’re an avid MCU fan, you’ll of course know Stark Industries is Tony Stark’s company, and Strücker is the last name of Baron von Strücker, the Hydra leader who recruited Wanda and her brother Pietro before Age of Ultron and gave them their powers.
Why is this significant? As one fan pointed out, the ads seem to be revisiting Wanda’s trauma: A Stark Industries bomb killed her parents, and Strücker corrupted Wanda and her brother, recruiting them for Hydra.
But who are the man and woman in the commercial? One Twitter user suggested they could be Wanda and Pietro’s deceased parents, alive again in her pseudo-reality. Might that mean she can bring others back to life, such as Vision himself, or perhaps even her brother Pietro?
Theory #10: Wanda and Vision’s children could pave the way for Young Avengers.
At the end of episode 3, Wanda gives birth to twins Billy and Tommy. In the comics, these cuties are Billy and Tommy Maximoff, aka Wiccan and Speed, who have superpowers similar to Wanda and Pietro’s—hex abilities and super-speed.
Billy and Tommy are stupendous characters in their own right, and they eventually become leaders of the Young Avengers, another popular franchise that Marvel might have plans to cinema-tize. But they also have complicated origins: They’re actually created from fragments of a demon’s soul, and that realization is part of what originally drives Wanda insane during House of M.
So what if some larger power wants Wanda to have children—and for those children to have something evil lurking within them? A Reddit fan mentioned how ominous it was for the denizens of Westview to repeat “for the children” prior to the talent show in episode 2. Maybe Mephisto has crafted a sort of “incubator” for super-powered mutants. The MCU has done crazier things before.
Theory #11: Wanda will create mutant-kind.
How about we go even bigger and bolder? If we know anything about the MCU, it’s that the creators aren’t afraid of ambitious storylines. Plus, more franchises = more $. And the X-Men franchise is a money-maker.
Disney owns the rights to X-Men, which is why you’ll see those films on your Disney+ queue. So it’s probably not absurd to assume the Avengers MCU and the X-Men universe will eventually collide on the silver screen, as they do in the comics. WandaVision could be what makes that happen.
One Reddit fan suggested that, after Wanda escapes from her sitcom reality and realizes Vision and her children aren’t real, she might have the ultimate mental break—one that results in the creation of mutants like her, spawning a bridge between her universe and the world of X-Men. Maybe it’s a stretch. But let’s just say I wouldn’t be surprised.
This story will be updated each week after new episodes of WandaVision drop.
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