WandaVision finale questions answered
It was a love story.
Marvel series WandaVision ended as it started, as an emotionally honest, beautifully told love story between two characters who never had the space to breathe in the crowded blockbuster movies.
SPOILERS AHEAD FOR WANDAVISION EPISODE 9, 'THE SERIES FINALE'
Wrapping after nine episodes, WandaVision gave Wanda and Vision an ending of sorts that highlighted the deep love between them and the deep pain of her grief.
Wanda sacrificed the idyllic suburban world and family she created to free the people she had naively trapped in the hex.
In that it was a love story, it was also a story about grief, centred on a character whose life has been marked by loss - her parents, her twin brother and her lover. That pain manifested in this world born out of the escapist family sitcoms she loved as a child, fictional worlds where everything was righted by episode's end.
That profound line of dialogue from episode eight really hit home again, "What is grief if not love persevering?". This was Wanda's expression of that grief, the ultimate manifestation of love.
As the Vision she created was fated to fade with her hex, she tells him, "You are my sadness and my hope, but mostly you're my love".
WandaVision was stellar television that was more interested in developing these characters we fleetingly knew and giving them the time to just be, rather than rushing through reams of plot and setting up future projects (though there was a lot of that too).
Many of the frenzied fan theories didn't pan out, at least not yet, and there was too much laser/magic beam fights in the sky but it didn't matter because this was the emotionally satisfying ending this story needed.
The big battle may have between Wanda and Agatha, but the series climax was Wanda and Vision's heartwrenching goodbye.
As Vanity Fair's Anthony Breznican astutely put it on the Still Watching podcast last week, Marvel Studios has managed to be so successful, more than other similar franchises, because it has frequently prioritised their characters' connections to the people in their lives.
In other words, we care because they care - Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes, Tony Stark and Pepper Potts and Wanda and Vision.
For all their powers and world-saving destinies, it's the all-too-human bonds that were the most important, even when they weren't all human.
But if you're not ready to let go of WandaVision yet, we've taken a stab at some of the lingering questions about what we've all just experienced, and where we might be going next.
WHY WAS THE SCARLET WITCH REVEAL A BIG DEAL?
Many of us have been referring to Wanda Maximoff as the Scarlet Witch since she first appeared in Avengers: Age of Ultron, because that was also her moniker in the comic books. But as a throwaway line in episode five made clear, Scarlet Witch was never used in the Marvel Cinematic Universe until now.
In the comics, Scarlet Witch is a really powerful mutant (and until the Disney-Fox acquisition, mutants weren't allowed to exist in the MCU) with the ability to alter reality among other things, wielding chaos magic.
While we've always been led to believe that Wanda's power comes from the Mind Stone when she was experimented on by HYDRA, we now know she already had latent powers and the Mind Stone merely enhanced them.
With Wanda officially the Scarlet Witch, she seems to have access to more power than ever before, but that also makes her more dangerous.
Agatha said to Wanda in the climactic battle after the Scarlet Witch took Agatha's power and her iconic crown appeared, "Oh, god, you don't know what you've done. You have no idea what you've unleashed".
As ominous as that sounds, it was what Agatha said earlier in the episode that really chills, "Scarlet Witch is not born, she is forged. She has no coven, no need for incantation. Your power exceeds that of the Sorcerer Supreme, it's your destiny to destroy the world".
Hmmm, world-destroyer. Señor Scratchy better find a good hiding place.
WHAT'S THE DARKHOLD?
Agatha said there's a whole chapter dedicated to Scarlet Witch in the Darkhold, "the book of the damned". In the comics, the Darkhold is a book of spells, descended from an Elder God named Chthon. It's bad news, full of dark magic.
It has also popped up in previous Marvel TV shows including Agents of SHIELD and Runaways but its appearance in WandaVision, and looking quite different to when we saw it on TV last, might mean Marvel Studios is retconning the other Marvel shows out of the MCU.
WandaVision is the first Marvel Studios TV project whereas shows such as Agents of SHIELD and the Netflix Defenders heroes were made under a different studio division which now doesn't exist. They were ostensibly part of the same continuity universe, especially at the beginning of SHIELD, but they became increasingly disconnected in recent years.
So, this Darkhold may not be the same one we've seen before, or maybe it is and the art department just wanted it to be spiffier.
Regardless, we first see this version of the infamous book in Agatha's basement and then she later brandishes in front of Wanda.
If you stuck around for the second credits scene we see Wanda in an isolated cabin, pouring herself a tea, only for the camera to pan to another room where we see Wanda's astral self, studying the Darkhold with great intensity.
Gaining access to all that dark knowledge doesn't bode well, and there's been speculation that Wanda could be the villain of the MCU's Phase Four in the way Thanos was in the Infinity Saga.
WHAT ABOUT THIS MULTIVERSE EVERYONE WAS FROTHING ABOUT?
Fans were convinced that WandaVision might open the door to the multiverse and it was teased in Spider-Man: Far From Home, which then turned out to be a big punking on Peter Parker.
The idea behind the multiverse is exactly what it sounds like, multiple universes or even parallel dimensions. The upcoming Spider-Man: No Way Home has widely been rumoured to plunge straight in with previous on-screen iterations of Spider-Man played by Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield expected to appear.
So, it's not those Spider-Men don't exist in the MCU, it's that they're just in a different universe.
We know multiverses will be a thing because the Doctor Strange sequel is titled Multiverse of Madness and Wanda will have a significant role.
In the comics, Wanda is a nexus being, someone who acts as a centre point or anchor for multiverses, and there was that ad in episode seven for an antidepressant named Nexus, with the line "because the world doesn't revolve around you, or does it?"
If Wanda ends up being a nexus being in MCU, many worlds will revolve around her.
And in that last shot of WandaVision, where she's reading the Darkhold, there are red energy balls surrounding her, which could be just that or it could be hints of the multiverse, especially as the last sounds we hear is one of her sons calling out, "mum, help, please" from somewhere echoey.
WERE HER KIDS EVER REAL?
The Billy and Tommy born in Westview weren't real as we understand it. Like the Vision inside the hex, they were also created from Wanda's magic. Their existence was tied to her magic, which was strongly hinted at in one of the in-universe ads - the one with the plasticine boy who died on the island because he couldn't open the tub of life-sustaining "Yo Magic" yoghurt.
Get it? Without magic, the boy dies.
When she chose to close out the world she created, what she manifested inside including her children were also reversed. When she and Vision put them to bed at the end of the episode, she knew she was saying goodbye.
But that "mum, help, please" sounded very real, which suggests that versions of them exist in the multiverse that are corporeal outside of the hex.
In the comic books, Wanda also magicked twin boys named Billy and Tommy who later vanished/were reabsorbed into a villain named Mephisto. But their souls were actually born into other children who grew up to become Young Avengers with the same powers Billy and Tommy exhibited in WandaVision. It's a whole thing.
Bank seeing Billy and Tommy again.
SO THAT WASN'T PIETRO NOR PETER?
That jaw-dropping revelation of Evan Peters at Wanda's door at the end of episode five was also supposed to be confirmation of the multiverse in the MCU, but it looks to have been a very clever red herring and piece of stunt casting.
For the uninitiated, due to a quirk in the comic book movie rights, Pietro was a character that both the Fox X-Men universe and the Marvel Cinematic Universe could use - and they both did.
In the MCU, that was Wanda's twin brother Pietro, played in Avengers: Age of Ulton by Aaron Taylor-Johnson. In the X-Men universe, that was Peter, played by Evan Peters. They were both speedsters, ostensibly Quicksilver but like Scarlet Witch, the nickname was never used onscreen in the MCU.
The Pietro in the MCU is well dead, his bullet-riddled body buried somewhere in Europe. So, when Evans showed up as Pietro, everyone thought it was the X-Men version, popping over from another universe.
But he turned out to be a man named Ralph Bohner, a meat puppet controlled by Agatha to trick Wanda into sharing her secret and who appreciates a boner joke.
Yep, we were had. Probably.
WHAT'S THE GO WITH THE SECOND VISION?
Surprise, surprise. SWORD acting director Hayward was not to be trusted - which was obvious with his smug, arrogant bro energy.
He had a secret agenda all along to manipulate Wanda into activating the Vision bot he was reassembling from the corpse that remained after Thanos ripped the Mind Stone out of his head in Infinity War.
For seven and a half episodes, it was assumed the Vision inside Wanda's hex was the reanimated Vision, until we learnt the truth about how she created her lover out of herself - "the piece of the Mind Stone that lives in me".
Hayward was still successful in having his White Vision come to life by harvesting Wanda's chaos magic from the drone missile he sent inside the hex.
When Wanda's Vision and the White Vision faced off in Westview, Wanda's Vision posed a philosophical question to him, challenging him to identify which of them is the real Vision.
Wanda's Vision reactivated White Vision's data bank so that he remembered all the experiences original he had with the Avengers and especially with Wanda. White Vision flies away, but not before his eyes turn human-like and he declares, "I am Vision".
Before Wanda and her Vision say goodbye, there's a lingering promise between them. He says to Wanda that he was "a memory made real, who knows what I might be next".
That double emphasis on memory (and the idea that loved ones we've lost live on in our memories of them) feels like it will be significant when Wanda and White Vision cross paths next, forcing them to reckon with what makes someone who they are and whether someone's memories and experiences are the same as their essence and soul.
That Wanda and Vision will meet again in some form feels inevitable after their exchange as he faded away, "We have said goodbye before so it stands to reason…" he started, as she finished with "… we'll say hello again". And now we're crying again.
IS AGATHA COMING BACK?
That's a promise too. Wanda has trapped Agatha in her nosy neighbour Agnes persona in Westview. When Agatha tells Wanda that she will be needed, Wanda says that she knows where to find her.
In the comics, Agatha is generally an ally to Wanda, and a magic mentor, so she may yet fulfil that role in the MCU.
WHO WAS MONICA TALKING TO IN THE MID-CREDITS?
In the mid-credits scene, the newly superpowered Monica is asked to go into the theatre except no one is there.
The seemingly human agent who follows her in reveals herself to be a Skrull, the shapeshifting alien race from Captain Marvel and gives her a message that an old friend of her mother's heard she was grounded and would like to meet with her.
When Monica asks where, the Skrull merely points upwards.
It's likely a reference to Nick Fury, who we know from the Spider-Man: Far From Home end-credits scene is off-world in a massive spaceship, or at least will be by the time of Far From Home which actually takes place months after WandaVision.
Unless the reference is actually to Carol Danvers, aka Captain Marvel, who is usually somewhere extraterrestrial. But there was a hint of some tension between Monica and Carol earlier in the season when Captain Marvel's name came up.
As far as we know, Carol didn't return to Earth between the mid-90s, when the Captain Marvel took place, and when the Blip happened in 2019, so maybe Monica felt Carol abandoned her and mum Maria. But again, that's only as far as we know. Maybe they spent every Christmas together.
We know Teyonah Paris is going to be in Captain Marvel 2, due out in November 2022, and now that she has these superpowers thanks to Wanda's hex manipulating her DNA on a molecular level, Monica might be closer to where her character ends up in the comic books, taking over the Captain Marvel mantle.
WHAT HAPPENED TO THOSE MEPHISTO AND NIGHTMARE THEORIES?
Nothing at all, despite all the speculation. Not to mention the rumour that Al Pacino had been cast as Mephisto, which would've been the second time Pacino gets to suit up as the devil.
To be fair to everyone expecting Mephisto to show up, the creation of Billy and Tommy are linked to Mephisto in the comics - they were made from shards of his soul.
Mephisto may still become a MCU Big Bad, ditto Nightmare. They just weren't in WandaVision.
AND THE MYSTERIOUS AEROSPACE ENGINEER?
Sometimes an aerospace engineer really is just a personable colleague in a military uniform we'll never see again.
I THOUGHT DOCTOR STRANGE WAS SUPPOSED TO SHOW UP?
There were whispers of a Benedict Cumberbatch cameo since WandaVision directly links into Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness, and there was even that reference to her being more powerful than the Sorcerer Supreme.
In a non-COVID world, according to the original MCU Phase Four release timeline, there would only have been a couple of months between WandaVision and Doctor Strange 2. But with production interruptions and the lack of cinema releases, it's now going to be a year-long wait before Doctor Strange 2, currently slated for March, 2022.
They're still filming it in London, where Elizabeth Olsen was doing WandaVision press while production had halted again due to COVID.
WHAT'S NEXT? IS THERE A SEASON 2?
WandaVision was originally the fifth Phase Four release, after Black Widow, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Eternals and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
The three cinema releases obviously didn't happen, though Black Widow and Eternals had both wrapped filming when COVID hit.
WandaVision ended up being the first Marvel Disney+ series because while it and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier both had a couple of episodes left to film when COVID shut everything down, WandaVision had its production in Atlanta, Georgia and was able to return much earlier than Falcon, which had been filming in the Czech Republic.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier will now premiere on March 19, in two weeks' time, while next week on Disney+, there will be a WandaVision behind-the-scenes episode of Assembled.
As for a second season of WandaVision? Marvel boss Kevin Feige said never say never but WandaVision was designed to be a one-season miniseries that leads into Doctor Strange 2. Plus the name of the finale was "The Series Finale" not "The Season Finale". That seems pretty final.
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Originally published as WandaVision finale questions answered