Like The Mandalorian, the most alluring thing about WandaVision is its mystery. The first Marvel series on Disney+ is unlike anything fans have seen from Marvel before, with two movie Avengers — Elizabeth Olsen's Wanda and Paul Bettany's Vision — living an idyllic TV sitcom life.
But what's really going on? Because no way in Mephisto's hell are Wanda and Vision actually living inside a black and white TV show. Well, one fan on Reddit has a substantial theory about a secret Avenger behind Wanda and Vision's new "life": Doctor Strange.
The theory — On Monday, Reddit user u/TheMediocreCritic (come on, man, have more faith in yourself) shared on r/FanTheories their big picture take on WandaVision and who is behind its machinations. u/TheMediocreCritic believes Wanda is going through the five stages of grief throughout the show, and the one helping her out is none other than Doctor Strange.
"Each episode or pair of episodes will be about the stage of grief," wrote u/TheMediocreCritic. "The first two episodes are being about denial. In Episodes 1 and 2 [Wanda] denies the outside world and even fix [sic] and rewinds parts of her own fantasies to help deny the truth that Vision is dead."
u/TheMediocreCritic further says that Doctor Strange "is actively trying to lead her through the five stages of grief" due to Wanda's potentially dangerous subconscious. "Though she is unconscious and unaware, her grief creates real-world consequences, fracturing reality and opening up the Multiverse of Madness."
u/TheMediocreCritic further elaborates on their theory in their post, adding that Strange is posing as Vision to help Wanda cope with the cooperation of S.W.O.R.D., a new organization that has made subtle appearances in the first two episodes of WandaVision.
Doctor Strange in WandaVision?
I have to admit, there's a lot of weight behind u/TheMediocreCritic's theory. Here's why.
First, we know that the 2022 Doctor Strange sequel, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, will have direct ties to WandaVision. We know this from Marvel's own Kevin Feige, who said as much at Comic-Con 2019 when Phase Four was revealed.
When both WandaVision and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness were revealed for the first time to the general public, Feige confirmed that the events and story of WandaVision will lead into Multiverse of Madness. They're so fundamentally connected, audiences basically need to see WandaVision before the Doctor Strange sequel, scheduled for release in March 2022.
Feige obviously didn't spill spoilers, so the specifics of how and why the two are connected remain to be seen. But Marvel went out of its way to establish that WandaVision and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness are to be understood as a two-part story.
Doctor Strange and a Multiverse of Madness!
So u/TheMediocreCritic's theory has weight thanks to Marvel itself. What gives u/TheMediocreCritic's theory an extra mile is both an understanding of Marvel lore and the very interesting things we're still learning about other MCU projects, namely the third untitled Spider-Man film starring Tom Holland (henceforth known as Spider-Man 3).
u/TheMediocreCritic understands Wanda is an exceptionally powerful Avenger, who, in Marvel's comic book history, has been strong enough to completely rewrite reality. WandaVision itself is heavily inspired by the 2005 Marvel series House of M, in which Wanda's grief for her lost children compels her to remake the Marvel Universe with severe consequences.
In the MCU, fans haven't seen this power from Elizabeth Olsen's Wanda before; the only time Wanda has reached this level of power was when her anger fueled her ass-whooping on Thanos in Avengers: Endgame. Wanda was strong then, no doubt. But rewrite-reality-as-we-know-it strong? That might be the reason WandaVision exists, to prove Wanda is in fact capable of this power.
That brings us to the multiverse . It's hard even now to guess how WandaVision is leading to an unlocking of the multiverse (Do Wanda's sitcoms inhabit a parallel Earth?), but we can guess the show is the first in a series of falling dominoes, with the next one being Spider-Man 3.
If WandaVision leads the way for Doctor Strange to be at the center of a multiverse-centric plot, that explains how Spider-Man 3 will have returning actors like Jamie Foxx (expected to reprise his role as Electro from the 2014 movie The Amazing Spider-Man 2) and Alfred Molina as Doc Ock from 2004's Spider-Man 2. The multiverse is how the many different Spider-Man movie franchises — previously not canon to the Marvel Cinematic Universe — can collapse atop each other. And it's only happening because Wanda is having a bit of a crisis in WandaVision.
The Inverse Analysis — As far as fan theories go, u/TheMediocreCritic's theory on Doctor Strange being behind WandaVision is good enough to be my own understanding of the show until Marvel says otherwise. With seven more episodes to go, WandaVision could seriously go anywhere at this point. u/TheMediocreCritic's theory is simply the only avenue that makes sense.
Thus far, Benedict Cumberbatch has not been confirmed to appear in WandaVision as Doctor Strange. But if The Mandalorian taught us anything, it's that not everyone who plays an important, pivotal role in a high-profile streaming series gets revealed until they need to be.
WandaVision streams new episodes on Fridays on Disney+.