WandaVision has changed everything we thought we knew about Elizabeth Olsen’s Wanda Maximoff.
Throughout the series, Marvel's first Disney+ offering has taken the time to explore both Olsen’s Wanda and Paul Bettany’s Vision in ways that the MCU films never dared. It's a stunning showcase for both Bettany and Olsen’s talents as performers, and together, they’ve created the best romance in the MCU this side of Steve Rogers and Peggy Carter.
Beyond the spectacular displays of love and grief, WandaVision Episode 8 also managed to pull off something so massive that it not only completely upends everything we know about Wanda, but also how we may view the MCU moving forward. That reveal? Wanda's powers have been with her throughout her life — and they may hold the key to answering one of Marvel's biggest and literal X-factors as a result.
What Happened - WandaVision Episode 8 follows Wanda as she is forced by Kathryn Hahn’s Agatha Harkness into reliving many of her worst, most traumatic memories. The first she relives is from when she was a child, growing up in Sokovia. It’s the moment we were told about in Avengers: Age of Ultron, when Wanda’s parents were killed by a bomb strike, and she and Pietro were forced to wait under their beds for 2 days to see if a nearby Stark Industries bomb would go off and kill them.
In Age of Ultron, the story is told in a way that implies Pietro and Wanda were just lucky that the bomb didn’t detonate. But WandaVision Episode 8 suggests otherwise, with Wanda’s childhood self reaching out with her hand towards the bomb as if to cast a spell on it.
Moments later, Agatha says that Wanda used a “probability hex” on the bomb to stop it from going off. She calls Wanda’s childhood self a “baby witch, obsessed with sitcoms and years of therapy ahead.” Later on in the episode, after witnessing Wanda’s first interaction with the Mind Stone, Agatha even surmises that “little orphan Wanda got up close and personal with an Infinity Stone that amplified what, otherwise, would’ve died on the vine.”
Assuming Agatha is right and Wanda had powers even before her time with HYDRA... then what does that make her?
Wanda The Mutant? — In the comics, Wanda and Pietro Maximoff were first introduced as Magneto's mutant children. However, due to Fox’s control over the X-Men rights, Marvel shied away from those mutant origins. Instead, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Avengers: Age of Ultron made it clear that Wanda and Pietro got their powers via HYDRA's Mind Stone experiments. Marvel Studios simply threw out the characters’ mutant origins from the comics and just made them regular old superheroes.
Thanks to Disney’s purchase of Fox in 2019 though, Marvel now owns the rights to the X-Men, which means they can introduce mutants into the MCU whenever they wish. Therefore, the reveal in WandaVision Episode 8 that Wanda had magical powers prior to her time with HYDRA may not just be there to further help explain the character’s “Scarlet Witch” moniker but could be a sign that Wanda is, actually, a mutant after all.
In other words, Marvel may have just used one flashback to retcon Wanda’s entire character. It's a big change and one that could have massive implications for the future of the entire MCU — namely, that Wanda may be the first in a long line of mutants coming to the MCU soon.
The Inverse Analysis — Marvel fans know that mutants are, at some point, coming to the MCU, and there’s been a lot of speculation that WandaVision will be the title that kickstarts that process. Some have theorized that Wanda herself will create mutants in the MCU in a fun inversion of her “No More Mutants” moment from the House of M comic, while others have suggested she’ll bring mutants in from an alternate reality by accidentally creating cracks in the multiverse.
Those theories are still, for all intents and purposes, plausible. But WandaVision Episode 8 offers another possibility: there are already mutants living in the MCU — and they, just like Wanda, don’t know about their powers yet.
How will the awakening of mutantkind unfold? It remains to be seen. But now, after Episode 8 of WandaVision, there’s certainly a chance the growing spread of Wanda’s chaos magic in the world may have something to do with it.
WandaVision is streaming now on Disney+.