Disclaimer: If you haven’t seen WandaVision, Please do watch the series before reading this article. It isn’t a review, but an acknowledgment of the world created by Jac Schaeffer embedding Vision and Wanda, The Scarlet Witch.
Henri Langlois once made a distinction between cinéphiles and cinéphages. He said, “A cinéphage – A film nerd – sits in the front row and writes down the credits. But if you ask him whether it’s good, he’ll say something sharp. But that’s not the point of movies: to love cinema is to love life, to really look at this window on the universe. It’s definitely not about taking notes!” What’s my motive for starting the analysis with Langlois’ words? Well, it is to make clear that this article isn’t a film nerd essay where I am going to talk about Easter Eggs and Fan Theories. It is, in its purest form, a compilation of words that aims to talk about emotions and feelings in WandaVision felt by cinephiles like you and me.
Over analyzing ruins the essence of films and all those fan theories around the internet make us doubt our own judgment and wit. It is mostly to intimidate us by those who find their existence in analyzing the material to the depths but stretch the rubber too much, and it loses its grip. I still believe that the existence of cinema or any art lies in the fact that it hits each one of us differently. Either we are human enough to accept that fact or cynical enough to deny it, whatever the case, the pillars of storytelling will always be emotions and not theories. Hence, here we begin with the emotional aspect of WandaVision.
The timelines take place after the events of the Avengers End Game. Like many others, Wanda lost Vision in the battle with Thanos, and there isn’t any way to bring him back.
However, with the first episode of WandaVision, we see Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany) living as a newlywed couple in the 1950s setting in a small town called Westview. Wanda and Vision are playing the odd couples in a monochrome sitcom setup, where Wanda has magical powers and Vision is an android, the fact they funnily try to hide from their neighbors and friends. With each proceeding episode, the ERA and the setting of the sitcom evolve, and with that the technical aspects of the screen, that is the screen ratio and the color scheme.
In this happy family set-up, there are some unusual activities or incidents happening all along that create anticipation of something dangerous coming through their way. These symbols include a strange a colored helicopter in a black and white set-up and a beekeeper emerging from a manhole at the end of the second episode.
All our curiosity is answered by the fourth episode through a prominent character and S.W.O.R.D Agent, Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris) who is thrown out of Wanda’s Hex by Wanda herself for trespassing and distorting her perfect surreal reality. The revelation is that after Vision’s death, Wanda took his android body from the S.W.O.R.D facility, and through her magic, created an alternate reality in Westview in order to eradicate her grief of losing Vision. She builds a perfect universe from her memories and establishes a wonderful life with vision. In the effort to make this reality look authentic, she created characters around her from real people by hypnotizing them with her magic. They all become the puppets of Wanda, in her own perfect world, where she wanted to stay with Vision.
Anything created out of selfishness doesn’t last long, and this is what happens with Wanda’s Westview. The S.W.O.R.D tries to stop her but there is someone more dangerous inside her magical wrap, who has been tampering with Wanda’s creation. An imposter, Pietro arrives at Wanda’s door imposing as her brother, Quicksilver. Initially, Wanda fails to understand the confusion but everything is quickly answered by her neighbor Agnes, who was, in reality, a witch named Agatha Harkness (Kathryn Hahn).
Agatha Harkness is in pursuit of Wanda’s magic so that she can become the most powerful witch in the world. In return, she offers Wanda to keep her little Westview and spend a happy-ever-after life with Vision. The ending episodes explore Wanda’s struggle against Agatha and The S.W.O.R.D, and acceptance of her own denial as she confronts Vision in the end.
Major Spoilers Ahead
Wanda Maximoff’s Transformation into Scarlet Witch – The Complete Character ARC
The most perfect characters are the most boring ones. They have no flaws and thus nothing to pursue. In WandaVision, Wanda is both the protagonist and the antagonist. There is no other conflict, other than her own internal struggles. The plotting of an internal conflict among superheroes is a common phenomenon. I won’t say cliche because superheroes can’t struggle with much external conflict given their superhero powers. Few perfect examples of internal conflicts in a superhero would be, Batman or Spiderman hiding behind a mask to save their loved ones, and Wolverine’s ageless longevity that compels him to see his loved ones dying.
In Wanda’s case, it is the grief of losing Vision too soon. If she would have been Tony Stark, she would have re-created Vision again but she is Scarlet Witch and thus she acted to the best of her capabilities, i.e. Chaos Magic.
Wanda creates an alternate reality in Westview in order to deny Vision’s absence. However, in order to make alternate reality picture-perfect, she uses real people in her hex which turns her into an evolving antagonist. A character started with good faith but lost her way in between because she was lured with selfishness. She is driven by her childhood memories and traumas that further fuel her anger and creation. All the sitcom setup comes from her childhood “admiration” for them while she was growing in the war-stricken Sokovia. Every sitcom had a happy ending because Wanda Maximoff never had a happy ending in her life, whether it was with her parents or with her brother, or with Vision. Her life has been a series of losses and hardships that never seem to end.
Wanda, once, was a destructive machine, prepared by Nazi experimental superhuman lab, HYDRA. It was Vision who saved Wanda and rekindled the dying light of humanity in her. But the loss of Vision threw Wanda again into the abyss of despair, in which she grew up and she didn’t want to go back into that darkness. That was her ultimate pursuit. Being in Denial of her Grief.
Wanda faces a crisis, a classic “All is Lost Situation” when Vision leaves the house. The foundation of all her creation is weakening because the man for whom she created the wrap doesn’t approve of it. It is in those moments that Wanda understands the fact that love isn’t all about owning, but preserving.
“We can’t reverse death, no matter how sad it makes us. Some things are forever.”Wanda to her kids on the death of their dog, Sparky.
When S.W.O.R.D tried to interfere with her pursuit, it acts as a conflict to Wanda’s goal. She becomes the ultimate antagonist and blasts off Monica and others from Westview. She even warns the acting Director of S.W.O.R.D, Tyler Hayward to stay away from her house and let her be in peace with Vision inside her bubble. Tyler and Monica’s plea isn’t baseless either because Wanda, blinded in her selfishness and grief, has forgotten that she is controlling and exploiting the real people of Westview in her mirage. Vision puts the same argument in front of her which creates a rift between the couple.
“But what is grief, if not Love Preserving?”Vision to Wanda
It is when Wanda accepts her flaws, her real transformation begins. She is in a state of confusion when Agatha Harkness tries to lure her into thinking that she can keep living inside her own little hex. But Vision’s support helps Wanda to differentiate between reality and memories. Wanda fights back Tyler’s army and Agatha’s magic, as she finally transforms into her real self, the Scarlet Witch. A hero’s journey comes to an end when she uses her own flaws against her enemies. In the end, Wanda bids goodbye to Vision and her children, before she finally takes down the hex. She corrects her mistake that caused chaos in the peaceful world.
“You are a body of wires and blood and bone that I created. You are my sadness and my hope. But mostly, you are my Love.”Wanda to Vision, before the final Goodbye.
‘WandaVision’ Ending Explained
WandaVision is a beautifully craved character arc of Wanda Maximoff transforming into Scarlet Witch. She reaps her full strength and power when she accepts the past and leads into the future. Marvel films, though, never end without a cliffhanger or in popular terms, post-credit scenes, and this series also show-offs a few of them.
Now, I ain’t much of a genius in that regard but I can simply state the literal meaning of the leftover plots. A white Vision appears at the end that was created by S.W.O.R.D but Wanda’s Vision convinces him that with data of memories, he can be the Vision too because that’s what constitutes a person, the memories. Hence when Wanda takes down her wrap, the Vision created out of her memories vanishes but the white Vision with data and memories is still out there who might come back someday.
Monica is greeted by a Skrull who tells her that a friend of her mother is waiting up in the galaxy. This friend (Skrull calls him HE) is Nick Fury who was seen in space with Skrulls in the post-credit scene of Spider-Man: Far From Home.
Wanda lives in a secluded mountain region (could be Wundagore Mountain) where she is seen studying the Darkhold or The Book of Sins. Wanda is doing the same astral projection reading technique that Doctor Strange uses to read the Darkhold. Her twin’s cry for help can be heard in this scene which means Wanda would be recreating the magical realm, but maybe, a better spell this time, without any flaws. Who knows? It could also mean that Wanda’s children are not just creations from her memories and could be a reality in the multiverse and Wanda is trying to save them. Too much complicated, isn’t it? Let’s just Marvel decide the fate further.
The impacting essence of WandaVision lies in Wanda’s journey from denial of grief to finally accepting the loss. Other than that, all fan theories or screen-freeze details are just to keep you invested in the franchise. On a filmmaking aspect, it is only character and story, everything else is a freebie. Wanda’s character arc did make my eyes moist, and the final separation was undoubtedly emotional. I am gonna remember the series for the way it made me feel about love. I hope you find your reasons too.
If you haven’t seen WandaVision, do not miss this intriguing web created by Jac Schaeffer. All 9 episodes of the series are streaming on Disney+ Hotstar.
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