Wanda and the Infinity Coven

SPOILERS for WandaVision through Episode 7, because I want to get some wild-ass theorizing out there before all is revealed.

In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, movies like Thor and Doctor Strange established magic as a technology born of a more advanced science, a means of tapping into primordial cosmic forces. The Infinity Stones, created along with the universe by the Big Bang, are powerful sources of these energies. But possessing an Infinity Stone is not the only way to access a portion of its power. Wanda and Pietro Maximoff were given powers by Baron Strucker, experimenting with the Mind Stone. Carol Danvers got her powers from an explosion of an engine powered by the Space Stone. Some mortals in the MCU seem less accidental about tapping into these forces.

In Doctor Strange, the Ancient One’s order had a book about the Time Stone it guarded, but the (hexagonal) shelves may have held other such tomes. One of them was even missing.

Does Agatha’s book belong to the Ancient One’s library?

WandaVision showed us that the witchy Agatha Harkness has another arcane tome. Does it belong to the same set? The orange energy seeping from Agatha’s book seems to point to the Soul Stone, along with Agatha’s fixation on Wanda’s twins–conceived and born under mysterious conditions. In Infinity War and Endgame, the Soul Stone demanded two souls for it to be claimed, first by Thanos, then by Hawkeye. What happened to those souls? Why does the Soul Stone even demand them? How does that work? Maybe I’m following a false trail, but if the MCU has souls, then Billy and Tommy are either soulless conjurations, or their souls came from somewhere. Even Sparky the Dog couldn’t be resurrected. Unlike in the comic books, without Franklin Richards in the MCU to fragment his soul, they didn’t come from Mephisto. So the twins could be reincarnations of Gamora and the Black Widow. To what end? Maybe Billy (AKA the future Wiccan) is a Soul Warlock the Infinity Coven needed to summon (by their colors, Wanda is a Reality Witch and Agatha is a Power Witch) to be complete, and Tommy was an unexpected byproduct of Wanda’s love for Vision, and the availability of another soul. Or maybe their soulless bodies are vessels for some Soul Stone magic, pulling through the Nexus. Hey, most of the fun is wild-ass guessing between episodes.

A better devilish option than Mephisto?

I’ve speculated about Westview’s Infinity Coven, but before all is revealed in the next two weeks, maybe it’s time to commit to the concept and hazard a guess on the other members who form the six points on the hexagon. MCU witches, naturally, would be aligned to the “elements” of the six Infinity Stones, not the traditional elements of earth, water, wind, fire, and spirit.

  • Scarlet (Reality): Wanda Maximoff
  • Purple (Power): Agatha Harkness
  • Orange (Soul): Billy Maximoff AKA Wiccan? Or the Red Skull, who guards the Soul Stone on Vormir?
  • Yellow (Mind): “Dottie Jones” AKA Clea?
  • Blue (Space): “Dennis” the Presto Delivery man AKA Martin Preston AKA Master Pandemonium?
  • Green (Time): My friend really wants Herb to be Brother Voodoo…

If an Infinity Coven is anywhere close to the truth, Wanda Maximoff seems poised to fall into two categories: Marvel’s mystics, who use knowledge of arcane science to manipulate cosmic energies, and another group, like Carol Danvers and Monica Rambeau, who have been changed by these energies. Mutated, you could say.

Let’s call them “mutants.”

Mutants or Witchbreed?

They, like Wanda, are naturals with their abilities. They don’t necessarily know how they shoot beams of Power from their eyes, see into others’ Minds, turn back Time on their bodily injuries, traverse Space in a single BAMF, change the Reality of their appearance on a whim, or manifest their Souls as a sword–but they can do it. They can do it because long ago, at the dawn of the species, the Celestials seeded humankind with the potential to tap into the cosmic powers like their distant cousins the Eternals.

When Baron Strucker and Hydra’s experiments “unleashed the goddess within” Wanda, they tapped into the latent Celestial potential. And now Wanda can do it to others. It’s a reversal of the comic book storyline “House of M,” where she tries to rid the world of mutants. In WandaVision, she unlocks them. Monica Rambeau was the first.

If you’re in the business of not only observing and responding to Sentient Weapons, but creating them–like Tyler Hayward is–now you have an easier and more productive path forward than trying to reactivate an Infinity Stone-powered, vibranium android. Especially if the show’s finale has Wanda’s hex exploding across the globe, the way Black Bolt’s Terrigen Mists did in the comics, triggering the (short-lived) Inhuman renaissance. There are a host of empowered individuals to exploit.

Maybe it’s a stretch. I’m reaching, because I really want Phase Five of the MCU to be about the X-Men. But is it too much to ask for a scene where Sir Ian McKellen embraces Wanda, calls her daughter, and warns her that, though he cannot stay in this world for long, she has the power to do something he once tried (back in the first X-Men movie), but failed to accomplish? She need not be alone. She has the power to create a vast brotherhood and sisterhood of beings who are–like her–as gods to these homo sapiens and their guns. She just needs to reach out with her powers, find the ones with the spark, and whisper…

More Mutants

More likely, the Nexus to the Multiverse gives Wanda a more direct way of dealing with her loss. This world robbed her of her brother, her husband–three times!, and her children who, even if they weren’t real, felt real. Grief can leave us imagining worlds that zigged instead of zagged, where our loved ones remained with us, and we were happy and whole. Wanda may be able to do something about it. The end of WandaVision could start her on a rampage through the Multiverse to find the world where things went right. And that may be exactly the kind of abuse of the natural order that Mordo warned Doctor Strange about.

WandaVision: Season of the Witch

SPOILERS for WandaVision through Episode 7 ahead…

Have you ever noticed that the stories of the Marvel heroines, from Jessica Jones, to Captain Marvel, to Wanda Maximoff, are about overcoming gaslighting? I wonder if Black Widow’s solo story will follow suit, with the other assassins of the Red Room. Anyway…

WandaVision episode 7 absolved our heroine of wrongdoing with the catchiest earworm of revelations: it’s been “Agatha All Along.” While this was presented as a big reveal, was it really? There was a certain joy in the confirmation–sold entirely by Kathryn Hahn’s gleefully wicked performance. But even casual readers of Scarlet Witch comics knew that Agatha Harkness was the likely identity of “Aunty Agnes.” In the comics, Agatha was more ally and mentor than adversary, and the only time she really went against Wanda was when she removed Wanda’s memory of her “children”–who weren’t really her children at all. Ooh, now that sounds like a clue. Regardless, there are now witches in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

In Spider-Man: Far From Home, one of the teachers is convinced that witches are behind the Elemental attacks

WandaVision has two apparent antagonists so far. This episode confirmed that Tyler Hayward, Director of S.W.O.R.D., was indeed trying to reactivate Vision as one of his sentient weapons, against Vision’s living will. Is it a mere nod that the ABC show Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. had a character, Brian Hayward, who ran a Hydra version of the super-soldier program called Centipede? Probably. The MCU keeps Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. continuity at arm’s length. But Hayward didn’t have any success with Vision until Wanda revived him, and his tactics make him seem like a blunt instrument, not a villainous mastermind. If Hayward was trying to use Vision, Agatha was trying to use Wanda–and she is more of a villainous mastermind. But to what end?

For the Children

Why is Westview a series of progressively more modern sitcoms? Why did Agnes seem to go in and out of character in front of Wanda, sometimes revealing complicity in the illusionary world? What is this whole elaborate show-world for? And why did Agatha choose to end Wanda’s show now (this is the first episode with a traditional MCU mid-credits scene)? There is a clue in the final line of her song: “And I killed Sparky too!” Why would she do that?

  • Agatha offered to quiet the infant twins, and they reappeared on the steps as young boys.
  • When Wanda and Vision decided the twins would be too young to take care of a pet until they were ten years old, they became ten years old.
  • When the twins discovered that Sparky had died, they were about to grow older again–until Wanda told them not to escape their pain by aging out of it.
  • When Billy told Agatha that she was “quiet on the inside,” she seemed to realize something about the twins. And they disappeared.

It does feel like the entire point of episodes 1 through 7 of WandaVision was to use Wanda to bring Billy and Tommy into the world, have them grow up and, er, ripen, and then… harvest them. In the dream/show-logic of WandaVision, it didn’t feel overly strange for the twins to age so rapidly. But even this feels incomplete. What are the twins? Why Wanda? And is Agatha a solitary predator, or working on someone’s behalf? These questions feel entangled with another concept raised by episode 7’s commercial: “Nexus.”

Nexus lets you choose your own reality

The Multiverse Is Confirmed

Spider-Man: Far From Home teases the multiverse, but it’s a fake-out

Or is it? Going only by the show, Wanda’s choice of “realities” seem to be her sitcom construct or the world outside of the Hex. But after the appearance of a Pietro with the face of Fox’s X-Men Universe Quicksilver, this is the second suggestion there are other realities. (And if Agatha is responsible for Evan Peters’ “recasting,” it implies she has knowledge of his reality. Maybe she’s from it.)

When Monica Rambeau charged through the Hex wall, she seemed to split into versions of herself and hear voices from her past. When her powers manifested with her Tesseract-colored eyes, she pulled herself together and broke through the wall.

No need to belabor it here, I think my arguments for the Marvel Multiverse still hold water as of Episode 7, even if Pietro isn’t the actual Fox Quicksilver. So why here? Why now? In the comics, Wanda Maximoff is known as a “nexus being,” someone who has versions of herself in every universe, each with a different power set. There is also a Marvel comic concept of a nexus of realities (such as the M’Kraan Crystal) which is a gateway to other universes. The show may be playing with both concepts.

If Agatha Harkness is a solo predator, her character may be conflated with the comic book character of Lore, an evil other-universe Wanda who went from universe to universe, devouring and absorbing the powers of her counterparts. Snackin’ on Yo-Magic and all. But this feels unsatisfying, because it doesn’t address the importance of the children.

In Scarlet Witch (1994) Wanda is attacked by a parallel universe witch called Lore

If Agatha Harkness is working on behalf of another, there are a few possibilities.

The comic book story that seems most immediately relevant is that the Marvel Comics devil, Mephisto, used Wanda to birth two pieces of his fragmented soul into the world so he could absorb them and become whole. There are certainly many callbacks to the Mephisto story in WandaVision: “The devil is in the details / That’s not the only place he is!”; “Unleash hell, demon-spawn!”, the Mephisto-faced Halloween decoration; “Señor Scratchy” (like Old Scratch, a moniker for the devil); Agnes’s never-present husband “Ralph”; and that fly crawling on Agatha’s curtains. And Agatha Harkness has a creepy, orange-lit Darkhold-looking grimoire in her basement. There’s enough groundwork for Mephisto, but that feels unsatisfying to me too. It comes out of a place that isn’t rooted in Wanda’s personal mythology, and WandaVision is, fundamentally, a personal story about her. I’d rather the payoff of this story comes from Wanda’s MCU history than her comic history.

If there were a devil-figure, I’d much rather it be the Red Skull, whose association with the Soul Stone provides a source for two souls to be born into the world. But I’ve already written about that.

Scarlet Witch and the Infinity Coven

A more interesting notion is that Agatha Harkness, like any witch in good standing, is working with a coven. When we first see the world outside of the Hex, Director Hayward asks if Wanda has a “funny nickname,” and Agent Woo insists she doesn’t. The words “Scarlet Witch” have never been uttered in the MCU, to my knowledge.

Red has been part of the show’s visual language around Wanda ever since it transitioned from black-and-white. Her wardrobe, her power effects, the flowers outside her home, and the smoke in which her troublesome stork appears and vanishes. This became even more pronounced once we saw purple–wardrobe, powers, flowers–associated with Agatha.

Dottie is back, and her roses are yellow

It’s enough to make one pay more attention to the use of color elsewhere. Remember where the “all for the children” thing started? At Dottie’s meeting. Agatha called Dottie “the key to everything in this town.” In a show like WandaVision, that’s not a throwaway line. Dottie disappeared until episode 7, and now she’s back, with a yard full of yellow roses–that bloom under penalty of death, according to Agatha.

Emma Caulfield doesn’t want us to forget about Dottie

And now Monica Rambeau has glowing blue eyes. It feels like there is a coven of superpowered women associated with colors. Powers and colors sound awfully familiar, don’t they? I’d theorized that, since the Infinity Stones were Celestial technology, and the Celestials in the comics had seeded the potential for superpower in the human race, exposure to the Stones might be unlocking that potential. “Unlocking the goddess within,” so to speak. Like they did with Wanda. And Captain Marvel. We mustn’t forget, the WandaVision show was being broadcast through radiation from the Big Bang, when the Infinity Stones came into existence. There is a link. Even the wizards of Doctor Strange’s order are associated with an Infinity Stone.

The Infinity Stones and their colors

The witches don’t seem limited in their power by their color. Wanda was empowered by the Mind Stone, and while her powers started as psionic, her Hex seems more of a Reality Stone effect. Agatha appears to be using Wanda’s old mind-control powers, though that may have come from “snacking on Yo-Magic.” The twins seem to have localized Time Stone powers, but then, so did Wanda and Agatha when they decided to “take it from the top” and redo a scene.

How do the children figure into an Infinity-powered coven? They may be trying to manifest souls from the Soul Stone. Or they may be sacrifices that the Soul Stone seems to demand. Or they may be recruits for the coven. It does seem significant that Agatha’s creepy book in the basement leaks the orange light of the Soul Stone.

Agatha Harkness’s book has a Soulful glow

How does an Infinity Coven tie into a multiverse? I don’t know! Maybe that’s how they manipulate reality; by shuffling things around. Maybe there’s power to be tapped across realities. Maybe their coven is spread across universes, but they’ve figured out ways to cross over to collaborate.

We have two more episodes to get answers. And to see if Vision can survive without Wanda. And to see if Wanda will be able to beat her gaslighting and face her grief.