Wanda who? The Scarlet Witch reigns on the penultimate episode of 'WandaVision'

·Senior Writer, Yahoo Entertainment
·7 min read

Warning: This post contains spoilers for Episode 8 of WandaVision.

"I am Iron Man," Tony Stark famously declared in the closing moments of 2008's Iron Man, a declaration that set the Marvel Cinematic Universe in motion. Flash-forward to 2021, and the flashback-heavy penultimate episode of WandaVision, "Previously On," ends with Elizabeth Olsen's Wanda Maximoff finally assuming her comic book identity as the Scarlet Witch. Only Wanda isn't the one who announces her new name: Instead, Kathryn Hahn's centuries-old sorceress Agatha Harkness bestows it upon Wanda after recognizing that she represents the living embodiment of a magical myth. "A being capable of spontaneous creation," Agatha says, with equal parts amazement and envy. "It's chaos magic, Wanda. And that makes you the Scarlet Witch."

That sentence has been six years in the making: When she was originally introduced in 2015's Avengers: Age of Ultron, Olsen went by "Wanda Maximoff" largely because both Walt Disney and 20th Century Fox had claims to the character, due to the fact that she — and her speedy twin brother, Pietro Maximoff — had been part of both the Avengers and X-Men over the decades since her 1964 debut. Eventually, the two studios reached an agreement where the siblings' super-abilities would be the result of Infinity Stone-experimentation in the MCU and their mutant genes over in the now-defunct X-verse. While the X-Men franchise made room for Quicksilver (played by Evan Peters), they never got around to introducing their own version of Scarlet Witch.

In the immortal words of Highlander, now there can be only one. Disney's 2019 acquisition of Fox scrubbed any rival Wandas from the timeline, permanently. That leaves Olsen as the sole Scarlet Witch, and all that's left now is to see her in full magical battle rattle — not that janky homemade Halloween costume she sported in the sixth episode. (Although, to be fair, fans loved that look, too.)

The bulk of "Previously On" concerned itself with filling in the historical gaps on Wanda's path to becoming the Scarlet Witch. And it's worth noting the one gap that the series leaped over. Ever since Peters's X-verse version of Pietro showed up at the end of Episode 5, some fans have speculated that the MCU would use WandaVision to bring in the X-verse mutants... specifically Michael Fassbender — or better yet, Ian McKellen — as Erik Lehnsherr, aka Magneto. In Marvel's comic universe, the metal-bending master is Pietro and Wanda's father, and they fight alongside him before switching sides.

Leading into the eighth episode, Twitter was ablaze with rumors that we'd get a Magneto sighting. But when Wanda and Pietro see their father in flashback, he's definitely not Fassbender or McKellen. Instead, his sole superpower is assembling an admittedly impressive DVD collection of American television shows.

Another face we didn't see in Episode 8 — contrary to rumors — was Ultron's metallic visage. Despite the flashback structure, the writers opted to skip over Wanda's time as the sidekick to Tony's biggest mistake. That hasn't stopped fans from speculating how James Spader might reprise his voiceover performance before the season wraps up next week.

Here's one way we might see... uh, hear Spader next week. A mid-credits scene reveals that everyone's least favorite S.W.O.R.D. director, Tyler Hayward, is using Wanda's powers to re-animate Vision, this time under their control. The new Vision is also colorless, which mirrors a famous late '80s comic book storyline where he's dismantled and rebuilt as an emotion-free android. ("Previously On" features a nearly frame-for-frame recreation of one particularly nightmarish panel of a deconstructed Vision.) The newly minted Scarlet Witch now finds herself in the unenviable position of having to fight both her neighbor and her husband on the season finale. At least she'll have some Photon power on her side.

WandaVision is currently streaming on Disney+.

Watch: Teyonah Parris reveals the scene she consider's WandaVision's "Red Wedding" and how she's preparing for her superhero big-screen role in Captain Marvel 2:

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