The Witch’s Road: What’s Next for Wanda Maximoff

One could argue that few characters have had a more difficult and emotionally scaring tale told in the MCU than Wanda Maximoff. To date, Wanda’s story has been heavily shaped by loss: her brother, her love and, most recently, her twin sons. Despite the loss, Wanda has perseverated, however, and after 4 major film appearances and the Disney Plus series WandaVision, she’s only just starting to truly understand who she is.

First introduced in a post-credit scene to Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Wanda’s origins were explained briefly in Avengers: Age of Ultron where it was explained that she, and her twin brother, Pietro, were given powers as a result of experimentation with the Mind Stone at the hands of Baron Strucker. In true comic book fashion, that origin was heavily retconned in WandaVision when it was revealed to Wanda that she had always possessed the ability to wield Chaos Magic-an ability that was simply enhanced by the Mind Stone-as she was the embodiment of the mythological Scarlet Witch, a being capable of spontaneous creation. Already incredibly powerful, Wanda began her studies of the Darkhold, a book which not only prophesied her ascension to a level of power great than that of the Sorcerer Supreme, but also her destruction of the world. This is the Wanda fans will next see in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and she’s a far cry from the orphan first introduced in 2015.

Unsurprisingly, her path in the MCU is deeply-rooted in Marvel Comics. While she was once the mutant daughter of one of Marvel’s most powerful villains, modern day Wanda’s comic book story, like her MCU counterpart, has been heavily retconned. No longer a mutant, Wanda is a born witch whose powers were amplified by scientific experimentation, though in the comics it was the High Evolutionary who did the work. Her powers were inherited from her mother, the previous holder of the title “Scarlet Witch” and her maternal grandfather, the “Scarlet Warlock.” This “new” family history was explored in James Robinson’s Scarlet Witch solo series, which ran for 15 issues from December 2015 through February 2017, a series which fans of the character may wish to explore, or reexplore, as they prepare for the character’s post-MOM chapter.

While we haven’t seen her character arc in Multiverse of Madness unfold just yet, the trailers and plot rumors have given us a good sense of what to expect in the film: Wanda’s continuous studies of the Darkhold, where she seeks for an answer of how to get her sons back, have corrupted her and, in combination with her incredible powers, made her a threat to anyone who might stand in her way. Without delving too deeply into spoilers, it’s safe to say from the trailers that she’s not necessarily there to support Stephen Strange. Skipping through that heavy spoiler territory, recent rumors have her surviving the film and appearing in a pair of projects over the next several years. The firsts of those projects, a solo Scarlet Witch project, is rumored to go into production at some point in 2023 and could well be an adaptation of Robinson’s Marvel Comics’ series.

Such a story would certainly further into her past, only briefly glimpsed in flashbacks in WandaVision, and potentially involve the return of Kathryn Hahn’s Agatha Harkness, a witch whose long life-span would make her perfectly suited to lead Wanda through further explanation of her true nature: after all, fans only know that Wanda IS the Scarlet Witch, but not what the really means about her outside of being extraordinarily powerful. In the comics, Wanda’s journey lead her to the Witches’ Road, an alternate plane of existence accessible only to powerful mages, where she faced numerous dangers and discovered the true nature of Chaos magic and witchcraft.

Robinson’s solo series is a wonderful character study that is ripe for adaptation in the MCU. It would allow for all sorts of interesting characters to be introduced and all sorts of wild visuals and explorations. It could also, if done correctly, lead Wanda down one very specific road that leads to another incredibly powerful magic user…but that’s a story for another day, or for the adaptation of The Children’s Crusade.

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