Is Scarlet Witch a Hero or a Villain in the MCU? Origins, Powers, and Goals Explained

Wanda
Credit: Marvel Studios

Wanda
Credit: Marvel Studios

Scarlet Witch is easily one of the MCU's most powerful figures but the Harbinger of Chaos has somewhat become synonymous with villainy over the last couple of years.

Wanda Maximoff only earned the title when she transitioned from a Sokovian test subject along with her twin brother Pietro to becoming a nexus being.

Her ascension to villainy was fully realized in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

In case you didn't know though, the Scarlet Witch wasn’t always portrayed as a villain in the Marvel comics. This article expands beyond the Wanda Maximoff we have known her to be in the MCU as we dive deeper into her origins and whether or not she really is a villain in the franchise.

Canonically, Who is the Scarlet Witch in Marvel? Origins and Powers Explained

Is Scarlet Witch a Hero or a Villain in the MCU? Origins, Powers, and Goals Explained
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Credit: Marvel Studios

Wanda originally lived on Wundagore Mountain in Eastern Europe, after she and her twin brother, Pietro, were taken under the care of a Romani couple called the Maximoffs.

At one point, their parents had to separate the siblings, considering that their town villagers weren’t welcoming around their wariness against witches.

Eventually, Wanda and Pietro do end up reuniting again. Only this time, they fell under Magneto and his brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Initially, Wanda and Pietro were mistaken for having mutant powers, which is how they were led right into Magneto’s hands.

Given that they did just join an ‘evil’ team, this would render Wanda and her twin as villains, no? However, they did end up attempting to right their wrongs, and that is by joining Captain America’s Avengers team.

Wanda’s powers in the Marvel Comics were gifted to her when she was born. Her powers included actual magic and the innate power to manipulate her reality, which she eventually ended up mastering.

In addition to that, she was also able to train under fellow magicians and spellcasters that further enhanced her abilities and incantations, becoming what she was fated to be: the most powerful sorceress on earth, the Scarlet Witch.

Is Scarlet Witch a Hero or a Villain? How the Marvel Comics Shaped Wanda Maximoff

Is Scarlet Witch a Hero or a Villain in the MCU? Origins, Powers, and Goals Explained
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Credit: Marvel Comics

Wanda is canonically a villain. Though she wasn’t really meant to be (who is, really?), her ‘canon’ path has always somehow led her to a tragic life.

She loses her parents, she loses her twin brother, even the few of the only men she ever loved in her lifetime. And of course, most importantly, the moment she realized that her twin boys, Billy and Tommy, never really existed but were figments of her imagination she brought to life.

Wanda has been incredibly misled in her life, starting off with how in the comics, she ended up working for Magneto with her twin brother under the team of Evil Mutants.

This was only because she felt she owed a huge debt to Magneto for saving her and her brother’s life.

Not only that, but significant crimes she had done in the comics also involved wreaking havoc against the Avengers, to the brink of even scaring her own family of her capabilities.

However, it is worth noting that this merely happened because of Immortus, yet another variant of Kang the Conqueror, who intentionally manipulated Wanda’s way of life so that he could easily control her.

Wanda’s story was told differently in the MCU, though, and this is most likely because the cinematic universe of the Marvel franchise is weaving each story to intertwine into the Multiverse Saga we know of today.

ALSO READ: Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness: Is Wanda the Villain? Reason Explained

The Scarlet Witch’s Character Arc Explained: From Captain America: The Winter Soldier To Avengers: Civil War

Is Scarlet Witch a Hero or a Villain in the MCU? Origins, Powers, and Goals Explained
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Credit: Marvel Studios

If you had been closely watching since Captain America: The Winter Soldier, you’d know pretty much about how Elizabeth Olsen’s Wanda Maximoff started in the MCU.

From her teased introduction in the post-credits scenes of Captain America: The Winter Soldier to eventually becoming the Scarlet Witch, she has suffered greatly, especially when it comes to protecting the people she loved the most.

Initially, Wanda and her twin brother, Pietro, were taken under HYDRA with a thirst for revenge against Stark Industries, with the reason for their revenge stemming from how bombings from the Stark-owned inventions killed their parents.

The twins were then experimented on until Pietro gained the power of super speed, while Wanda’s natural telekinetic ability was amplified by the presence of the Mind Stone (as seen in WandaVision).

Once Wanda finally came into full view for the audience to see her in action in Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ultron utilized the siblings in claiming more power for his own in the guise of helping Wanda and Pietro with their goal against Tony Stark.

This was also the Avengers movie in which Wanda lost her only family at the grasp of her hands.

While trying to fight by the Avengers’ side to stop HYDRA from their goal of destroying humanity, Pietro sacrificed himself by the bullets to save Hawkeye and an innocent kid they were protecting, leading her to take a glimpse of her powers bursting with potential as the red light emanated from her body, destroying the enemies surrounding her and the Avengers.

Technically, Pietro was supposed to live for a bit longer than one movie in the MCU, however, the actor, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, had a line up of projects at the time, leading him to prioritize sticking to those aforementioned projects over joining the superhero franchise full-time.

Is Scarlet Witch a Hero or a Villain in the MCU? Origins, Powers, and Goals Explained
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Credit: Marvel Studios

The next time we see Wanda is actually in Captain America: Civil War (might as well have been an Avengers movie), where Wanda decided to side with Cap and his team against Tony Stark’s.

This is simply because when Wanda thought she was simply helping Cap finish up the job in Civil War, her incident of having killed a bunch of innocent citizens in the midst of the mission led the government to take action.

This is when the Sokovia Accords were first introduced, where the legal documents are assigning Avengers (and Wanda was a part of it at the time) to regulate their missions only after the government (aka S.H.I.E.L.D.) specifically seek their help.

Given that this was what began the ‘civil war’ between the heroes, Wanda would end up siding with Cap either way, especially after what Stark did to her — putting her under house arrest with Vision as her caretaker.

Only, it led to Wanda distrusting Stark altogether when Hawkeye managed to get her out of there, ultimately leading to her joining Cap’s side of the ‘war’.

With the use of her mind manipulation and telekinesis abilities, she was able to take Cap to where he needed to be.

Little did we know that the little moments Wanda spent with Vision had bloomed into something beyond friends, but enough to want to be together, and that is exactly what we see in their relationship in Avengers: Infinity War.

Where Scarlet Witch Began To Form: Avengers: Infinity War To Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Is Scarlet Witch a Hero or a Villain in the MCU? Origins, Powers, and Goals Explained
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Credit: Marvel Studios

Many were devastated over the fact that the majority of our beloved superheroes ‘died’ and vanished into ashes in Avengers: Infinity War.

While it was most certainly the most hyped up crossover film MCU fans have long been dreaming to watch on the big screens, it was equally as heartbreaking to experience seeing them disappear.

This included Wanda and Vision. Although, in this case, before the vanishing-to-ashes happened, Thanos had already killed Vision by forcing the Mind Stone out of the android’s body.

Wanda might have managed to destroy the Mind Stone in an attempt to sacrifice the only thing she loved the most at the time, but with the power of the Time Stone in Thanos’ gauntlet, he was able to resurrect Vision only to destroy him once again right in front of Wanda.

Seeing as Vision was dead long before The Blip happened, this led to Wanda suffering his death alone, even as she returned from the ashes. Yes, even if she did get her revenge against Thanos.

Is Scarlet Witch a Hero or a Villain in the MCU? Origins, Powers, and Goals Explained
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Credit: Marvel Studios

And then, WandaVision happened. The first ever MCU series released under Marvel Studios, where Wanda gets her own central story, and it involved having the life she dreamt of having with Vision and their twin sons, Billy and Tommy.

In the form of a sitcom, Wanda relived the supposed dream life she could have had with ‘Vis’ (her nickname for her beloved). Only, she was doing it while unknowingly terrorizing the people of Westview.

Wanda had basically caged the people of Westview in her own reality she made up, where they were forced to act like the actors did in the sitcoms she grew up watching.

The ending of WandaVision led her to her full transformation of being the Scarlet Witch, once Agatha Harkness unraveled herself to have played the former like a puppet in attempts to capture her chaos magic.

This, however, turned the tables on Agatha when Wanda managed to overpower her, thus, defeating the former witch, and ultimately declared a villain in the eyes of the people of Westview, and in the franchise itself.

Is Scarlet Witch a Hero or a Villain in the MCU? Origins, Powers, and Goals Explained
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Credit: Marvel Studios

Driven by her strong desire to see her twin boys and Vis (her family) again, she had mastered the Darkhold (aka the legendary book that could grant fuller access to Wanda’s innate powers) which led to what transpired in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

In the Doctor Strange sequel, Wanda had become the main villain of the story, leading Doctor Strange and America Chavez to save the world from her.

See, Wanda’s main goal this time is to find the reality in which her twin boys lived with her, where they actually existed.

But of course, Doctor Strange relays to her that her twins didn’t exist at all, and upon Strange’s attempt to calm Wanda of her ‘wishful thinking’ to see the family she wanted, America Chavez becomes the main target that could set her plan in motion.

In this sense, since America Chavez could travel through universes at will, Wanda could easily use that power to bring her to her boys.

Unfortunately, the movie did no justice for Wanda, as she went through all lengths just to reach her boys in another universe.

Such lengths even involved having murdered Reed Richards (John Krasinski), Doctor Xavier (Patrick Stewart), Captain Marvel (Lashana Lynch), Peggy Carter as Captain America (Hayley Atwell), and Black Bolt (Anson Mount).

While Wanda did succeed in having reached her boys by possessing the body of her other self in that universe, the boys had grown afraid of her capability of controlling the mother they had in their universe.

Once Wanda realized her boys could never be hers, America and Doctor Strange took this opportunity to take her down, defeating her.

So, is the Scarlet Witch a hero or a villain? Well, technically, she is, as she has committed multiple atrocities and crimes, which she was well aware of, all for the sake of wanting to see her family whole again.

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