Since Elizabeth Olsen first appeared as Wanda Maximoff in the post-credit scene of ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ and made her full debut in ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’, she has become one of the most popular and most powerful MCU characters. It’s interesting how we needed to wait until 2021’s ‘WandaVision’ to see her become the Scarlet Witch she was always supposed to be. Of course, Wanda’s story in the comics is quite different than one we’ve watched in live-action, so we’re going to tell you how her origin story from the MCU compares to her origin story in the comics. So, how did Wanda become the Scarlet Witch?
In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Wanda Maximoff got her powers after she was exposed to the Mind Stone inside the Scepter under the supervision of Baron Strucker, one of the leaders of HYDRA. The Mind Stone amplified her powers and the powers of her brother Pietro. In the comics, however, the source of her powers came from the High Evolutionary, who made alterations in her genome to disguise her as a regular mutant. After she was exposed to the mystic energies of Wundagore Mountain, she developed a natural talent for practicing magic.
Scarlet Witch’s origin story and character development in the Marvel Cinematic Universe were built on a lot of personal tragedies and losses. She lost her entire family, and just when she found some happiness with Vision, he was also taken from her. All those tragedies and immense grief eventually climaxed Wanda’s story when she officially became Scarlet Witch in her battle against Agatha Harkness. While her origin story in the comics is very different, it’s not any less interesting. So, let’s look into Scarlet Witch’s origin story in more detail.
The High Evolutionary played a big role in Scarlet Witch’s origin story in the comics!
The fans of Marvel Comics probably know who Dr. Herbert Edgar Wyndham, also known as the High Evolutionary, is. The fans unfamiliar with the source material have met him for the first time in live-action this year in ‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3’, in which he was depicted as the villain who played the crucial role in Rocket Raccoon’s origin story. When you only look at the MCU canon, it’s hard to imagine Scarlet Witch and the High Evolutionary have ever crossed paths, but it’s interesting to know they actually had.
Even if you’re unfamiliar with the source material, you probably heard that Scarlet Witch is the daughter of Magneto, which is true in some way, but the story goes much deeper than that. In the source material, Natalya Maximoff, also known as the Scarlet Witch, gave birth to Wanda and Pietro near Novi Pazar, Serbia. While they were still newborns, they were kidnapped by the High Evolutionary, who was looking for babies for his experiments. He took them to Transia and altered the twins’ genomes, disguising them as mutants by birth.
The High Evolutionary’s servant Bova Ayrshire was looking after the twins. While they were under the High Evolutionary’s care, Wanda was exposed to the mystic energies of the Wundagore Mountain, a prison that held Chthon, a demon lord of chaos. This way, Wanda acquired her talent for practicing magic. The High Evolutionary and Bova wanted the twins to be adopted by Robert Frank, aka Whizzer, and Madeline Joyce, Miss America, but after that plan failed, the High Evolutionary returned the twins to Natalya’s brother Django Maximoff and his wife, Marya.
Fast forward to when Magneto comes into the story. After Wanda and Pietro got separated from their family, they spent five years wandering central Europe. One day, Wanda accidentally used her powers to set fire to one village. The villagers attacked them, and one of them called her “Scarlet Witch.” Magneto arrived to save Wanda, after which Wanda and Pietro joined the Brotherhood of Mutants as the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, which put them in a fight against X-Men on several occasions. Eventually, Wanda and Pietro will leave Magneto and the Brotherhood to join the Avengers.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe was slowly building Wanda’s origin story before it culminated in WandaVision!
Elizabeth Olsen first appeared as Wanda Maximoff in the mid-credit scene of 2014’s ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’, which set up her introduction in 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron. She and her brother Pietro were introduced as young Sokovians who lost their parents in the bombings of Novi Grad. Growing their hatred towards the USA and the Avengers, the twins joined HYDRA and agreed to undergo an illegal experiment supervised by Baron Strucker.
Using the Scepter that the Avengers took from Loki and then HYDRA reclaimed through SHIELD, both Wanda and Pietro were exposed to its energy, along with all the other volunteers. While the Mind Stone’s energy proved fatal for other volunteers, Wanda and Pietro survived, manifesting their powers. Unknown to her at the time, her powers amplified Chaos Magic within her, which fulfilled the myth of Scarlet Witch, as Agatha Harkness called Wanda in the WandaVision series finale.
When ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron‘ was first released, Marvel fans immediately recognized Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, although they were never actually referred to in the movie as Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver, only by their birth names. We know that Wanda eventually joined the Avengers in a fight against Ultron in Sokovia when Quicksilver sacrificed his life to save Hawkeye and a young boy from Ultron.
Wanda was later trained by the Avengers and fought alongside them. She eventually fell in love with Vision, although they were on different sides in Civil War between Iron Man and Captain America. Wanda spent some time imprisoned in the Raft with other members of Team Cap, but after Captain America broke them out, she and Vision started their relationship. Unfortunately, with the arrival of Thanos and the Black Order, their short-term happiness will quickly come to an end.
During the climax of ‘Avengers: Infinity War,’ Wanda endured two tragedies in only a few minutes. First, she had to kill Vision to destroy the Mind Stone, but after Thanos used the Time Stone to bring Vision back to life, she watched Thanos take the Mind Stone from Vision, killing him again. Wanda was one of the victims of Thanos’ snap, but given what she just experienced and how she felt, we wouldn’t say she cared much about her own life at that point.
Just like everybody who has been snapped away, Wanda returned in ‘Avengers: Endgame’ for a final showdown against Thanos and his army. Wanda almost single-handedly defeats Thanos, which once again shows how powerful she is. But even after Thanos’ defeat, Vision was still dead, and with all the immense grief, she created an alternate life in Westview, where she and Vision happily lived and had two sons. And that’s when Agatha Harkness comes into play.
Agatha used the Darkhold to manipulate Wanda’s Westview anomaly. Agatha revealed to Wanda that there’s a whole chapter in the book about the Scarlet Witch. After defeating Agatha and locking her into the noisy neighbor persona, Wanda takes the Darkhold and leaves View. But, as she was studying Darkhold, the book corrupted her mind, eventually putting her against Doctor Strange.
Will Scarlet Witch return in the MCU?
The climax of Doctor Strange in the ‘Multiverse of Madness’ occurred in the Darkhold Castle on top of Mount Wundagore. Let’s remember that in the comics, Wanda acquired her talent to practice magic after being exposed to the mystical energy of Wundagore Mountain, the prison of Chthon. When she sensed Chthon’s return in the comics, Scarlet Witch also discovered the original Darkhold, so here’s one parallel between the comic book and the movie.
In the movie, after being consoled by her alternate self, Wanda is set free from the Darkhold’s influence. Realizing that Darkhold can’t be allowed to tempt anyone ever again, Scarlet Witch uses her powers to destroy the castle and every Darkhold in the Multiverse. The entire castle crumbled and collapsed on her, seemingly killing her off, which begs the question about Scarlet Witch’s future in the MCU.
We can all agree that Wanda definitely didn’t kill herself when she destroyed the Darkhold. Elizabeth Olsen never actually confirmed whether Wanda is dead or not, but she never tried to hide that she wants to play Scarlet Witch again, so we’re sure she’ll eventually return. There are several MCU projects in which she could potentially make at least some cameo appearance, like ‘Vision Quest‘ and ‘Agatha: Coven of Chaos.’ And if that doesn’t happen, we always have those upcoming Avengers movies where we’re expecting to see… everyone!
Every MCU project featuring Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlet Witch is now streaming on Disney+.
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