HEAT VISION

How 'WandaVision' Could Introduce Marvel's Mutants

Evan Peters and Elizabeth Olsen in WANDAVISION
Courtesy of Disney+/Suzanne Tenner/Marvel Studios 2
The Disney+ series may provide an unexpected solution for how the MCU can incorporate an important part of the comic book universe.

[This story contains spoilers for WandaVision through last week's sixth episode].

Things are changing quickly in Westview. With the premiere of episode six, “All-New Halloween Spooktacular!”, WandaVision is two-thirds complete, and everything points to the last three episodes being a doozy. With every mystery that seemingly gets solved, another rises in its place. And, as previously discussed, the number six carries a lot of significance when it comes to the mythos of the Scarlet Witch, her hex powers, and the devil who may be waiting just around the corner. While some audience members were beginning to suspect that Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) was telling Vision (Paul Bettany) the truth, that she wasn’t controlling Westview, the latest episode proved that’s not entirely the case. While there’s a chance that someone is pulling her strings or manipulating her emotional vulnerability, Wanda’s power is mighty, terrifying and growing.

The late '90s/early 2000s sixth episode of WandaVision, which riffs on Malcolm in the Middle, takes place on Halloween. In both Vision and the Scarlet Witch comic series from the '80s, Halloween is a very important date for Wanda. It’s not just a holiday, but a religious date on which she is most in tune with her powers, and where the veil between the world of the living and the dead is at its thinnest. Death hangs heavily over the most recent episode, despite its comedic stylings. Wanda catches a glimpse of Pietro’s (Evan Peters) dead body, just as she did of Vision’s a few episodes earlier. And Agnes (Kathryn Hahn), momentarily removed from the spell over Westview, doesn’t hesitate to remind Vision that he should be dead. This later revelation prompts Vision to attempt to see what’s outside of Westview, an effort that seemingly kills him until Wanda expands the energy field, or “hex” surrounding Westview, reviving his body and bringing more of New Jersey into her manufactured reality.

In episode five, Wanda told her twins, Billy (Julian Hilliard) and Tommy (Jett Klyne), that it was impossible to resurrect the dead. And yet, within the boundaries of her hex that doesn’t seem to be entirely the case, though the resurrected aren’t exactly as Wanda remembers them. Pietro looks different, and his memories of his and Wanda’s childhood don’t entirely align. And Vision is not as easygoing as he appeared in the Avengers films. His typically calm demeanor has waned as the series has gone on.

“You’ve never spoken to me like this before,” Wanda says during their big argument at the end of the fifth episode, the suggestion of a lack of recognition in her voice. Wanda appears to somehow be bringing people back, but they’re all-new, all-different — mutated.

Mutation has, of course, been on everyone’s mind since the start of WandaVision. The arrival of Pietro in the fifth episode, “On a Very Special Episode …”, spawned dozens of theories about the multiverse and whether or not Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige was ushering Fox’s X-Men into the MCU. Episode six doesn’t provide much in the way of acknowledging those theories, but interestingly, this “recast” version of Pietro does seem to remember the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), including how Wanda’s powers used to work, and getting shot in the street. But it feels as though Pietro’s new appearance is something of a red herring for those looking for mutants by way of multiversal madness. It certainly has become easier to become distracted by what exists outside the narrative of WandaVision, in terms of past films, other franchises, and future movies, but perhaps the answers lie inside of Westview, rather than outside of it.

Given series creator Jac Schaeffer’s recent comments about Feige wanting to approach Peters’ inclusion in the MCU carefully and purposefully, it doesn’t seem like the MCU is simply looking to loop in all of the Fox’s X-Men stars. So what purpose does Peters’ inclusion serve other than meta-commentary on sitcom recasting, and the fact that there were two Quicksilvers from opposing franchises at one point in time? As many online have speculated, Evan Peters would be a fitting name to fill Mephisto’s red boots. Billy and Tommy’s initial suspicion of their Uncle Pietro is played for laughs, but like so much of what’s happening in Westview, those laughs may hide a darker truth.

It shouldn’t go unnoticed that Wanda’s twins are jokingly referred to as “demon spawn,” which in the comics, is exactly what Billy and Tommy are — fragments of Mephisto’s shattered soul. If Wanda has the power to re-create the world as she wishes, it would make sense that Mephisto would look for a way to siphon those powers, or feed on “yo, magic” as the distressing in-universe yogurt commercial suggested.

The fact that both twins discover their powers in a recent episode adds another wrinkle to the Mephisto and mutants theory. Pietro has a tattoo that says “MOM,” visible for a quick instant early in the sixth episode. This is actually Peters’ real tattoo, but the fact that it wasn’t removed in post, as so many actors’ tattoos are, is curious. Maybe, in terms of Pietro’s character, it really is just a tribute to his late mother. Or maybe it’s an acronym for Multiverse of Madness, the Doctor Strange sequel Wanda is set to play a prominent role in. Or, perhaps most interestingly, it’s an acronym for “Mother of Mutants.” But it’s not just Billy and Tommy who would be the mutants in this theory. Perhaps, in an inverse of the House of M storyline, Wanda creates mutants. This has been a long-running online theory, but only now, in the sixth episode, does there appear to be actual evidence supporting it.

Darcy (Kat Dennings) clues Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris) in on her changing molecular structure. Fans already know Monica’s long comic history as a superpowered heroine with energy absorption and manipulation abilities. Undoubtedly, WandaVision is serving as her origin story ahead of her role in Captain Marvel 2. In the comics, Monica gained her powers after being exposed to a weapon containing extradimensional energy. The MCU is straying from that origin in some ways, but in broad strokes, with Wanda being a seen by SWORD as a weapon-wielding extradimensional energy, Monica is acquiring powers in much the same way she did in Amazing Spider-Man Annual No. 16 (1982). But if Monica has seen her body chemistry change after just two trips into the hex, what does that mean for the residents of the still-expanding Westview?

Perhaps by the end of the series, the whole world will be an extension of Westview, if only for a moment. And through this ordeal, a certain percentage of the world’s population may emerge as the MCU’s first mutants, possessing the HEX gene, which will undoubtedly be shortened to something more familiar: the X gene. Whatever the endgame is with Wanda’s hex powers, it looks increasingly likely that the arrival of mutants will be a significant part of her future.

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