I’m a big Marvel fan. Seen all the movies multiple times. Watched all the 90s cartoons. I know a little about the comics, though primarily through research, as I don’t actively read or keep up with the actual books (though I’m getting better about that). I even have a Spider-Man and Deadpool tattoo. As far as the TV shows, I saw the first two seasons of Daredevil and… that’s it. I didn’t watch any of the others, including Agents of SHIELD (though I do want to get to that some day). But these new shows, such as WandaVision, are different. These are actually controlled by Fiege to tie directly into the future films. WandaVision, specifically, is supposed to tie directly into Dr. Strange and the Multiverse of Madness. And if this show is any indication to the quality of what we are in for, I couldn’t be more excited.
Going into the show, all I knew was that this was going to be a House of M-inspired story leading into Dr. Strange 2. I ended up doing so much research during the course of the show to understand comics-relevance to things, theories, and more. For this Retrospective, I will break down each character arc, its importance to the show, where it could go from here, and–if relevant–any theories on unresolved questions.
While people were disappointed that it really was just Agatha All Along, I feel that she was a fun villain. I’ve seen complaints that she is a flat character and far from one of the MCU’s best, and while I can understand that to a degree, I feel Kathryn Hahn brought such great personality to the character that she is more memorable and can be fleshed out more later. Also, the show wasn’t about Agatha being the villain but, rather, Wanda. Agatha was merely the catalyst to bring her to the tipping point and give her the tools she needs (i.e. the Darkhold) to unlock the multiverse.
Agatha was still a great, fun character performed pitch perfect by Hahn. And I feel this character will be returning at the very least in Multiverse of Madness, as well.
Agent Woo & Dr. Darcy
In a show about magic, Darcy Lewis and Jimmy Woo are inspired choices for this show, as well. Darcy with her attachment to the first “magical” Avenger, Thor. Woo first appeared in Ant-Man and the Wasp, where he played the FBI agent in charge of Scott Lang’s house arrest. He also gained an affinity for magic/sleight of hand via Scott’s skills. This presented us with two fantastic payoffs, one in which he flourishes his business card and the other where he misdirects to snatch a cell phone and escape handcuffs. The clear thought put into the fact these characters not only didn’t get snapped but also what they did with their time is fantastic.
I understand why, but both characters had a sad amount of time in the finale (Darcy only getting one line in about 3 seconds of screen time after having been absent for over an episode). I hope that Woo and Darcy get more to do in the future, as well. There is the rumored Agents of Atlas (an Agents of SHIELD type thing with Woo at the head) possibility, and Darcy would be a fun add-on if that were the case. Or if Darcy becomes the new Erik and becomes a SWORD consultant. There would have to be more, too, due to Woo being there for a missing person–an unresolved storyline–which could inevitably be Ralph.
For about half the show, I considered it Monica’s show that just so happened to have Wanda and Vision as a well-developed focal point. It was, ultimately, a show that led to her superhero origin story. And then more or less trickled away once she had her powers. She barely had much to do in the finale except build on her powers more. The mid-credits sequence was nice, assuming it was referencing Nick Fury and going to space to lead in to Captain Marvel 2.
Monica is a fantastic character and one of my favorite parts of the show. I’m excited to have another new hero on the roster already in Phase 4, and she seems incredibly high powered. I also wonder about her inclusion in Dr. Strange 2, as she might be another god-tier powerhouse to take on Wanda or whatever baddie is coming in that. Having them set all that up here is smart, giving Wanda and Monica a history.
I did have to explain the Evan Peters reveal to my wife and daughter, who didn’t quite grasp how big of a moment that was. And unlike many who think it was just a red herring tease, along the lines of Spider-Man: Far From Home, I actually don’t believe so.
In case you didn’t know, X-Men, Fantastic Four, and all related properties and characters were owned by Fox. Spider-Man is owned by Sony. Everything else is Disney/Marvel. Tom Holland’s Spider-Man came to being because Marvel and Sony made a deal for rights and profits. And then Disney bought Fox, and suddenly the X-Men and the Fantastic Four can finally be a part of the MCU, bringing it even closer to the comics. With WandaVision having been theorized as a House of M storyline, many thought this would lead to the introduction of Mutants and the X-Men. House of M is a comics storyline where Wanda goes crazy and creates a pocket universe that ends when she erases mutants from existence, which was a massive deal in the Marvel comics universe. Many theorized this show would be a way to perhaps do the opposite and create them. This theory was seemingly solidified when rumors that Evan Peters, who played the Fox (and more popular) version of Quicksilver, might be in the show hit the internet.
Even more when he actually showed up as the “re-cast” Pietro. This was a big deal. It was also, to many, a big let down when it was revealed he was just some guy named Ralph and was just a fake-out. I don’t believe this is true. The commercial about the Nexus medication was a possible reference that Wanda is a Nexus Being. The idea in the multiverse is that there are different versions of every person in each varied reality. A Nexus Being is a super-powerful entity that is the anchor of their own reality, and unlike every other person, a Nexus Being only has one of each (so there is only one Wanda in all the multiverse). Also, Nexus Beings are watched over by the TVA, which appears to be heavily involved in the upcoming Loki series. All of this implies the lead-in to the multiverse (if the Dr. Strange 2 title wasn’t enough). And if Wanda is a Nexus Being, then there have to be non-Nexus Beings, right? People that have doubles in every universe. Like Peter/Pietro from the Fox X-Men universe being Ralph in this one. But wouldn’t he still be some form of Peter/Pietro, not Ralph?
Maybe he is. In another theory I like to believe, Agent Woo came to Westview because of a guy in Witness Protection. According to Woo, the witness had gone missing in Westview, and Woo was there to figure out what happened when he stumbled into the Hex field around the town. The best theory is Ralph. Why would Ralph have random printed copies of his identification information filed in a small loft Man-Cave otherwise? In other words, he changed his name to Ralph in witness protection and could easily, originally, be Peter or Pietro in our universe. It has also been revealed this isn’t the end of Evan Peters in the MCU. Therefore, the multiverse is still being hinted at through the use of Evan Peters–despite the let down that this wasn’t as big of a thing as fans hoped it to be.
The philosophical Ship of Theseus moment might have been the highlight of the show, if not at least a Top 3 moment. After 13 years, Paul Bettany has finally been given his moment to shine, starting as a voice butler and now giving one of the best and most heart-wrenching android/synthezoid performances since Blade Runner. His struggle with existence and morality is already Top Tier, and the philosophical climax between Vision and White Vision was masterful. I’m excited about where the White Vision storyline is going, and I’m excited that Bettany gets to continue on in the franchise while changing things up yet again.
I’ve heard theories he could go to Wakanda, which would make sense. Wise-cracking Shuri and near-emotionless White Vision as a duo would be highly entertaining. Otherwise, I actually have no idea what future film(s) White Vision could appear in (except maybe Dr. Strange 2 considering the Wanda connection).
Wanda (and Mephisto, etc.)
Bravo to Elizabeth Olsen. Like with Paul Bettany, this show managed to take the most underused and uninteresting character and turn her into such a fascinating, emotional powerhouse performed beautifully by Olsen. Her range and talents are insane, skills that have not been showcased in previous films. I have instantly gone from not really caring much about her (or her and Vision’s romance subplot) to wanting to know more about and see more of her than anyone else this Phase.
Agatha tells Wanda she is stronger than the Sorcerer Supreme. There are plenty of other Doctor Strange tie-ins in the finale, as well, including the Darkhold itself, the music, and the entire post-credits sequence. That sequence pays tribute to the original Doctor Strange film when he astral projected to do his reading while he slept. Except this time, we see that Wanda is so powerful (more so than Doctor Strange), she can astral project to read the Darkhold while independently moving around her cabin making tea.
I don’t know a ton about Mephisto outside of what I read in connection to House of M. I went along with the theory of him being the Big Bad in WandaVision, though I didn’t die on that hill. I think there is enough evidence in things we have seen for him not to be making an appearance soon. I suspect that Wanda might use the Darkhold to literally make a deal with the devil and bring her boys back with dangerous consequences, which will lead into Multiverse of Madness. Either way, Wanda is now either the Big Bad or will lead to the Big Bad. All of this will also connect with the Loki show with the TVA monitoring her and, inevitably, Kang the Conqueror (who might also have a connection to the Moon Knight show thanks to the Egyptian connection, as well as the Eternals movie due to the time-spanning aspect, and a connection to Fantastic Four).
What’s to Come
Phase 4 seems to be about rebuilding after tragedy. This is epitomized in WandaVision by Wanda and Monica trying to deal with their own grief. This will more than likely continue in Falcon and the Winter Soldier with rebuilding the image of Captain America and living up to the role in this new world. Rebuilding new teams after a fallen Avengers. This show will bring back Baron Zemo as well as introduce U.S. Agent. Black Widow will give us a new, well, Black Widow with Yelena. She Hulk is giving us the title character as well as bringing back Tim Roth’s Abomination (and I hope, eventually, pay off the Tim Blake Nelson baddie, The Leader). There’s enough there to start hinting at either Dark Avengers or Thunderbolts.
As for the kids, Hawkeye will introduce Kate Bishop. Ms. Marvel will give us Kamala Khan. We already have Cassie Lang via the Ant-Man franchise (who was recast, indicating a larger importance). Riri Williams is showing up in Ironheart. We probably haven’t seen the last of Wanda’s twins, either (if that post-credits scene is any indication), who could show up again (either same age or a little older) as Wiccan and Speed. There are rumors that America Chavez/Miss America will be introduced in Doctor Strange 2, as well. There’s also always Miles Morales in the future, especially with Spider-Man: No Way Home playing with the Spider-Verse story, as well as already setting up his existence in the world. All that’s left is Iron Lad, who grows up to be Kang the Conqueror–a character already confirmed to be in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania–and who also has the ability to be sprinkled in unknowingly throughout Phase 4 (There was a rumor it would be Harvey Keener from Iron Man 3, who was also at the funeral in Endgame, but nothing has much come from that outside of theories.)
In short, it appears that they’re building up the Young Avengers, which they might end up assembling in Ant-Man (due to the Cassie Lang connection), and it would be an idea that a movie as light as Ant-Man would tackle. And ending the Phase with the Young Avengers (since Ant-Man has a history of being near the end of Phases), it comes full circle on the theme of rebuilding from tragedy.
I understand the disappointment for the WandaVision finale from fans, but I feel it was still a fantastic show overall that is setting up unbelievable things. When we come back at the end of Phase 4, hopefully we will see just how vital/consequential this show was to the next couple years of the MCU.