Warning: Serious spoilers to follow.
If you’ve already seen the new Marvel extravaganza Avengers: Age of Ultron, you know how much havoc the mind-warping Scarlet Witch wreaks on our super team. Otherwise known as Wanda Maximoff — and played by Elizabeth Olsen — the reality-altering Witch implants some seriously disturbing and completely crippling hallucinations in the minds of Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Black Widow, and the Hulk early in the movie. But what kind of clues can we glean from their (non-Vision) visions? Below, we try our hand at some dream interpretation:
Iron Man’s Portents of Doom
What He Dreams: Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) sees a Chitauri vessel (like the ones that appeared in the final battle of 2012’s Avengers) slither through the sky in the distance. That’s followed by the sight of his fellow Avengers lying before him in a broken heap, either dead or dying. Captain America’s shield is split in half, and he says to Stark with his last breath: “You could have saved us. Why didn’t you do more?”
It’s this terrifying vision that directly leads to the birth of Ultron, as Stark seizes a chance to create an artificially intelligent being that can protect humanity from the extraterrestrial hordes (Ultron, of course, has other plans in mind). Later at Hawkeye’s safe house Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) tells Stark, “That Maximoff girl — she’s working on you, Stark.”
What It Means: Stark’s fears for the future don’t end with Ultron: His new safety-first outlook will surely carry him into the forthcoming Captain America: Civil War, eventually leading him into direct conflict with Captain America himself. The broken shield also doesn’t bode well for Cap’s longevity, which is a major plot point in the Civil War comic book.
Thor’s Pool Party
What He Dreams: Thor (Chris Hemsworth) envisions what looks like an A-list party on his home planet of Asgard. A man in a black hood appears in view, eventually revealing himself to be a white-eyed Heimdall (Idris Elba). He tells Thor the “sign of Odin” is upon us, adding, “They see you leading us to hell… We are all dead, can you not see?!” Haunted, Thor then flees the Avengers’ safe house, telling his teammates: “I saw something in that dream. I need answers.”
Thor seeks out researcher Erik Selvig (Stellan Skarsgård), who leads him to a small indoor pool called “Water of Sight.” Warns Selvig, “Men who enter the water — the legends don’t end well.” Thor enters the water anyway, and reenters a dream state. Electricity surges through him as his vision comes in quick flashes, showing the scepter being used for human extinction. He zeroes in on the gold stone and sees how it aligns with all of the Infinity Gems. He now knows what he as to do.
What It Means: Some fans are already abuzz about this body of water, saying it’s the Well of Wyrd (also known as the Well of Life), a pool on Asgard that allows dippers to see through time and space. Heimdall’s warning also signals the impending existential crisis facing Asgard in the next Thunder God sequel, Thor: Ragnarok.
Black Widow’s Black Swan
What She Sees: Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) glimpses a ballet class of girls who look to be about 10-years old being led by a pale-faced, mean-looking man. “He’ll break them,” she says in her dream state. “Only the breakable ones,” replies Widow’s assassin trainer Madame B (Julie Delpy). Later, a teenaged Widow is seen losing a sparring match.
At times the vision looks like a horror movie: There are flashes of a figure with a burlap bag over his or her head, and several mouthless little girls. Another figure, meanwhile, is seen on a surgical table. The vision clearly rattles Black Widow: Later, at the safe house, she tells Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) that she was sterilized in the Red Room as part of the graduation ritual. “It’s efficient,” she says despondently.
What It Means: While this sequence offers great insight into Widow’s past, it may also foreshadow her future. According to the comics, Romanoff discovers later on that the Red Room training center is still active as “2R.” Based on her comic-book origins, the operating room alludes to the young Natasha being treated with age-defying, strength-enhancing chemicals similar to Captain America’s Super Solider serum. And those ballerina visions were implanted memories from her childhood — she never actually danced.
Captain America’s ‘40s Flashback
What He Sees: Cap (Chris Evans) is at a World War II-era swing party. His true love, Peggy Carter (Hayley Attwell), asks him, “Are you ready for our dance?” Later, she tells him: “We can go home. Imagine it.” By the end, though, the party disappears, and Steve Rogers is left on the dance floor alone.
What It Means: This dream plays to Cap’s greatest fear: Not just being a man out of time, but being alone. Cap also seems to have the least amount of pent-up angst, which means the Witch’s spells don’t are less potent on him.
The Hulk Goes Green and Mean
What He Sees: Unlike the others, we don’t get to see the Hulk’s thoughts after Scarlet Witch has her way with him. We only see his reaction, as a freaked-out Hulk all but destroys a city block and traumatizes innocent bystanders. “That little witch is messing with your mind,” Stark says while he tries to subdue his raging friend using the specially designed Hulkbuster suit.
What It Means: Bruce Banner doesn’t always need much to set him off, but our guess is that he is shown something truly disturbing — like a vision of Hulk run amok and destroying those he truly loves (including, perhaps his prospective soulmate, Black Widow). What we do know is that the repercussions of Hulk’s rampage help convince Banner to abandon the team in the end.