One line of dialogue changed everything. In the fifth episode of WandaVision, a few non-powered heroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe — FBI agent Jimmy Woo (Randall Park), scientist Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings), and S.W.O.R.D. agent Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris) — debate over Wanda's powers like a living, breathing Reddit thread. Monica even claims Wanda could have torn up Thanos had he not "ordered the blitz," which raises other questions about how they know this stuff.
But the heart of this matter is what Darcy says about Wanda. How did Wanda create a living TV sitcom in the middle of New Jersey? "If all the sets, props, and wardrobe were solid matter, that means she's wielding an insane amount of power," Darcy says. And she's right.
Wanda isn't just creating an illusion. She's creating a reality, a physical space made up of physical objects populated by physical people who (painfully, it seems) adhere to the script. That's an awful lot of power to wield for any one Avenger, even one with as much proven raw power as Wanda. In Avengers: Endgame, Wanda's vengeance towards Thanos — for killing her beloved Vision — made her an especially powerful foe on the battlefield. And it's a similar emotion that might be fueling Wanda right now to create a perfect life in New Jersey.
Wanda's powers are at a scary, all-time high, which is inspiring even more Woo/Darcy/Rambeau-esque discussions around Wanda's powers compared to the rest of the MCU.
Just how much stronger is Wanda over the other Avengers (and a few other important Marvel characters)? Let's find out.
Is Wanda stronger than Thor?
Let's begin by comparing Wanda to the so-called "Strongest Avenger" (or so he thinks), Thor.
As the second beefiest Avenger with biceps the size of boulders, Thor is easily the muscle of the Avengers (after Hulk). If the Avengers were a Dungeons & Dragons party, Thor would be a barbarian. (If you challenge me and say "Actually, he'd be a paladin," I will bully you.)
Thor's strength, and most importantly his endurance, were demonstrated in moments like Avengers: Infinity War. In Nivadellir, Thor held open the forge and withstood the power of a star. And that was without the power of Mjolnir, his beloved hammer that endows the worthy few "the power of Thor." To this day, the extent of "the power of Thor" remains indeterminate. It's magical strength with magical lightning, which is hard to measure by any means known to man.
But Thor's power compared to Wanda's power is an awkward comparison to make. Thor is strong; Wanda is powerful. Power doesn't have to mean raw strength, but the tremendous demonstration of one's own ability. Thor could beat Wanda in an arm wrestling contest, but Thor is still susceptible to Wanda's mind powers. And we've seen that before, in Avengers: Age of Ultron.
In the movie, Thor literally brags about how mighty he is, only to find himself stepping into Wanda's illusion and getting psyched out from it. Thor's worthy strength didn't leave him immune to Wanda's powers, which shows in a delicate way how much Wanda can outrank even the strongest Avenger.
Is Wanda stronger than Black Widow?
This one should be quick: Yes.
Unlike Thor, Black Widow's expertise lies not in strength, but tactics. As a former spy, Natasha excels in infiltration, mission analysis — you know, things a spy does. She has no superpowers, magical or scientific. She's very good at what she does, perhaps the best in the world. And perhaps Natasha can out-wrestle Wanda in a one-on-one fight. But one flick of the wrist and Natasha's flying across the room.
Again, the proof lies in Avengers: Age of Ultron, as Natasha fell to Wanda's mind tricks just as quickly as Thor and the other Avengers. But also in Captain America: Civil War, Wanda got a hold of Natasha and flung her across the airport without breaking a sweat.
Is Wanda stronger than Jean Grey?
Unfortunately, there's no way to truly analyze this pairing. Not without going into non-MCU media, like the long history of comics (of which fans have been doing for a long, long time with no answer), and even then it becomes a question if it's Jean Grey with or without the Phoenix Force, a very convenient boost that is only as strong as the writers on the comics want it to be.
We could in theory compare Wanda to Jean Grey from the X-Men films, specifically 2006's X-Men: The Last Stand and 2019's Dark Phoenix (both of which included Jean Grey at the height of her abilities). But it's still a difficult comparison, as the X-Men universe operated on a different wavelength than the MCU. There were two Jean Greys (Famke Jessen's adult Jean, and Sophie Turner's young Jean), and both demonstrated powers against villains that aren't comparable to the MCU. That's not a knock against the X-Men films. It's just asking "Who is the better athlete, Babe Ruth or LeBron James?" without acknowledging both played different sports in different eras.
It wasn't until WandaVision Episode 5 that Marvel seemingly merged the MCU and the X-Men universe, and even then we're not sure at this point in time how this crossover is working out. Until Wanda can confront Jean Grey on the same screen, consider this completely unknown.
Is Wanda stronger than Captain Marvel?
Oh. Here we go.
Here's what's interesting about Wanda and Carol Danvers: Both their powers come from Infinity Stones. (Carol's powers originate in the Tesseract, while Wanda's comes from Loki's scepter, which carried the Mind Stone.) This raises a lot of fair questions.
Update, July 2021: As pointed out by one Inverse reader, WandaVision’s penultimate episode reveals that Wanda’s powers didn’t come from the Mind Stone, but were enhanced or possibly activated by it. This complicates the debate of Scarlet Witch vs. Captain Marvel slightly, though their MCU history still provides a guide. With that in mind, our original article continues below. (Thanks, Luka!)
As humans imbued with Infinity Stones, is there a base change the Infinity Stones causes in homo sapiens? Are the Infinity Stones equal in power? Or are those also subject to a tier list? Does the fact that one was altered with alien science (Captain Marvel) and the other by occult science (Wanda) also make a difference?
Whatever the case, it's impressive that WandaVision remembered this truly nerdy continuity, likely to the pleasure of MCU fans logged into Wikia. Even if it's just for trivia, one can't help but anticipate Marvel is setting something up between the two later down the road.
But who is stronger? It's hard to say, but it might still be Wanda.
Both Carol and Wanda demonstrated their own advantages over Thanos, an alien warlord from Titan and a member of a race of species who are off-shoots of the Eternals. It's not easy to take down a Titan, let alone a Titan whose sole thing was warfare. Thanos wasn't just a strong alien, he was a strong alien who commanded a monstrous army.
But like Thor, Carol proved she had strength and durability that matched Thanos. Wanda has powers that overpowered Thanos. It's a small difference with negligible evidence. But until more is known about Wanda's powers, we can only argue one's merits based on what we've seen.
Speaking of Thanos...
Is Wanda stronger than Thanos?
A human woman powered by occult Nazi science and a cosmic space stone versus a brute alien warlord hellbent on decreasing overpopulation. Hmm.
There has only been one (1) instance of Wanda confronting Thanos in an actual fight: the aforementioned Avengers: Endgame fight. (In Infinity War, they didn't trade punches so much as Thanos swatted Wanda like a fly after a traumatic moment.) And it's in that battle, the one Agent Woo et al. say Wanda got the better of Thanos until he called for a cluster strike like a sweaty Call of Duty streamer, that our argument lies.
It's safe to say that Wanda, especially an angry Wanda, overpowers Thanos not just in strength but actual power. You could see the fear on Thanos' digitized, scarred face — and the labored panic in his voice — when Wanda had him in her grasp.
He knew he was out of his league. Who knows how much sooner the battle would have ended if Thanos didn't have backup? All we know is that Wanda is really, really strong. And fans should probably be scared about where WandaVision goes next.
WandaVision streams new episodes Friday on Disney+.