'Splainin to do

What is the Scarlet Witch? WandaVision's "Chaos Magic" reveal, explained

Wanda's powers and name are her birthright.

A key member of the Avengers for years, Wanda Maximoff has operated without a code name. All this time, the world has known her as "an Avenger named Wanda," and nothing more.

Well ... that's changed now, hasn't it?

In WandaVision Episode 8, "Previously On," Wanda walks through the past. She and we see her history leading up to Westview, as well as Agatha Harkness' early days as well. The painful but cathartic trip through Wanda's memories ends with a huge reveal about Wanda: her hex power is actually "Chaos Magic," making her not just "Scarlet Witch," but "The Scarlet Witch." Here's what that all means.

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In the comics, Wanda's backstory is a touchy subject. At first, she and her brother Pietro were the children of classic superhero Whizzer, then were revealed to actually be the mutant children of Magneto, who were adopted by Marya and Django Maximoff. In 2016, that backstory turned out to be false as well when Wanda realized she and her brother weren't mutants at all but results of experimentation by the High Evolutionary.

In the 2016 comic Scarlet Witch Vol 2 #4, Wanda goes on a journey much like the one she goes on in WandaVision Episode 8. Accompanied by the ghost of her mentor, Agatha Harkness, she seeks out the truth of her parentage and finds the spirit of her biological mother Natalya Maximoff, her adoptive father's sister. Wanda watches in confusion as she conquers a magical creature with her sorcery while dressed in Wanda's classic Scarlet Witch costume.

Wanda learns her true heritage with the spirit of Agatha Harkness.

Marvel comics

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Agatha explains that Wanda's moniker of "Scarlet Witch" is not just a nickname, but a legacy of magical people in her family that have all used the "Scarlet Witch" title. All this time, Wanda believed the name came to her fully formed, but in reality, it was part of her inheritance.

However, that doesn't explain why Agatha highlights Wanda's chaos magic at the end of WandaVision Episode 8. Chaos magic also has precedence in the comics, but not in connection with the long line of Scarlet Witches.

Wanda sees a Scarlet Witch-like figure when she gets her powers in Episode 8.

Marvel Entertainment

While Wanda's powers in the comics are a result of experimentation by the High Evolutionary on Mount Wundagore, inside the mountain lurks a horrible secret: the long-buried Elder God Chthon. Chthon affected a newborn Wanda giving her a fraction of his powers. That, combined with energy manipulation from the experimentation, resulted in fearsome, reality-warping magic.

It looks like WandaVision is going to combine these two comic storylines into one, where Wanda is next in a long line of Scarlet Witches, a pantheon of mystical sorcerers who can all use chaos magic. Whether this chaos magic comes from an Elder God or some being of MCU origin, Wanda is further proving herself to be much stronger than she first appeared.

WandaVision is now streaming on Disney+.

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