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[This story contains spoilers through episode seven of Disney+’s WandaVision.]
Wanda’s madness grows. A hero rises. A villain stands revealed. And all of reality may be at stake. In episode seven of WandaVision, “Breaking the Fourth Wall,” Agatha (Kathryn Hahn) reveals herself as the witch, Agatha Harkness, who has been manipulating events in Westview all along, pushing Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) further into darkness. Viewers have been anticipating this reveal since before the series premiere. So while Agatha Harkness’ appearance is not entirely surprising to Marvel fans, the reveal is highly satisfying, especially given Hahn’s delivery, “you didn’t think you were the only magical girl in town, did you?”
So what does Agatha want? The answers may lie in two comic book limited series that weren’t previously mentioned as important to WandaVision’s building narrative: Scarlet Witch Vol. 1 (1994) and Avengers Forever (1998).
The commercial in the latest episode of WandaVision is for an antidepressant called Nexus, a term that has a larger significance in the Marvel Universe. In the four-issue Scarlet Witch by Andy Lanning and Dan Abnett, with art by John Higgins, Wanda is revealed to be a Nexus-Being, a witch who represents the reality of that universe. In her case, it’s the 616 Universe (the designation for Marvel’s mainline comic universe). In terms of the Nexus-Beings classified thus far, their manipulation of probability and reality have distinct names individual to each being, Sorcery, Psychometry, Necromancy, Geomancy and Hex Power in Wanda’s case. No two Nexus beings can exist within the same dimension, which inevitably brings Wanda into conflict when an alternate reality version of herself, Lore, who enters her universe, on a path to conquer every dimension and claim their magical energies for herself. Lore tells Wanda, “Each of the universe’s innumerable dimensions has its own Nexus Being, one who personifies that realm’s character.” Wanda with the aid of her mentor, Agatha Harkness, manages to defeat Lore, ultimately increasing her own magical abilities, and preventing further destruction of the multiverse.
What’s interesting about Agatha Harkness’ appearance in WandaVision is that she seems to be an amalgamation of the comics’ version of Agatha and Lore. She wears a brooch similar to Agatha, and appears to have more experience in witchcraft than Wanda, but whereas Agatha in the comics is an elderly crone who serves Wanda’s ally, she appears as the youthful source of Wanda’s undoing in WandaVision. Agatha’s magic in WandaVision is manifested as a purple energy, as opposed to Wanda’s red energy. Not only does the color of her magic give her further ties to Lore, who wore only purple in her appearances, but it ties to the MCU’s Infinity Stones. Purple is, of course, the color of the Power Stone. While red, the color of Wanda’s magic, is the color of the Aether, or Reality Stone. Given Wanda’s ability to manipulate reality, it would seem that Agnes has the ability to manipulate and harness great power, setting the stage for a hell of a witch war by the culmination of the series.
Wanda’s invitation to Agatha’s house, the first time viewers have gotten glimpse of the inside, comes after Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris) displays powers of her own, her molecular structure having changed within the hex, setting the stage for her eventual superheroics in Captain Marvel 2. While Monica will seemingly have her own encounter with Agatha’s witchcraft in the next episode, as a post-credit scene sees her encounter not-Pietro (Evan Peters), Wanda may be on her own in Agatha’s basement for the time being. Wanda’s search for her children, Billy (Julian Hilliard) and Tommy (Jett Klyne), lead her to a cellar that looks straight out of a medieval castle.
The cellar is filled with magical artifacts, most notably a sinister looking book that may be the Darkhold, a book of Black Magic written by the demonic Elder God, Chthon, who possessed Wanda with the help of Mordred the Mystic in Avengers No. 185 – No. 187 (1979) by writers David Michelinie, Mark Gruenwald and Steven Grant, with art by John Byrne, who would of course later go on to destroy Wanda’s world, her marriage, and children, in the pages of West Coast Avengers. Is it possible that Chthon in the MCU will simply be another name for Mephisto, who might be Agatha’s husband “Ralph”? And if Evan Peters isn’t playing that role, then maybe, just maybe, Mordred has been reimagined as the son of Agatha and Mephisto? We’ll table that theory for now and turn back to Billy and Tommy.
Billy and Tommy are nowhere to be found in Agatha’s cellar, though it’s doubtful we’ve seen the last of them, as they could be the most powerful beings in the universe. In Avengers Forever, the twelve-issue comic book series by Kurt Busiek and Roger Stern, drawn by Carlos Pacheco and Jesus Merino, Space-Phantom, servant of the time traveling villain, Immortus (who is also the future version of Kang the Conqueror) reveals the truth about the threat the Scarlet Witch’s children represent in the eighth issue of the series. “The Scarlet Witch is your reality’s Nexus-Being – and thus almost as important, in her own way, as the Celestial Madonna. Any children she bears – they will be so powerful as to stand among the great forces of the universe – and will have the potential to rock the cosmos itself.” With Billy and Tommy at her disposal, Agatha has the potential to rewrite the universe, which explains why she’s been watching Wanda and Vision so closely. But she may not be the only one watching.
Nexus-Beings are closely monitored by the Time Variance Authority who monitor the multiverse. Because of Nexus-Beings’ ability to alter universes, unleashing threats that could destroy the whole multiverse, the Time Variance Authority, or TVA, culls universes deemed too dangerous to remain in existence. Their management of the multiverse has created long-term disputes with Kang the Conqueror, who has his own masterplan for the multiverse. The TVA is set to appear in the upcoming Disney+ series, Loki, which might have already teased in an appearance by Mephisto in the trailer. And Kang is set to appear in Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, where he will be portrayed by Jonathan Majors.
Loki, Ant-Man, and the Wasp may find themselves dealing with the fallout of Wanda’s actions in their own adventures, their own forces of magic and science set in opposition to hers, even if indirectly at this point.
While WandaVision has largely been discussed in relation to Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, and the third Spider-Man film, the latest episode suggests that Wanda may be the center of Marvel Studios’ Phase 4, the nexus for the MCU’s future, with ramifications felt by everyone from Carol Danvers to Peter Parker. As we prepare to head into the last two episodes of WandaVision, this series, which seemed to be an off-beat experiment on a smaller scale, may be the most ambitious narrative the MCU has attempted yet. And given the reception and weekly anticipation, we all seem to be caught under the spell.
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