How Wanda Maximoff became the MCU’s best character

Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff in Marvel Studios’ WandaVision. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2021 All Rights Reserved.
Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff in Marvel Studios’ WandaVision. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2021 All Rights Reserved. /

Over the course of seven years, Wanda Maximoff has evolved into the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s most compelling character.

When Wanda Maximoff first made her presence felt in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, fans of the character were so excited to see the Scarlet Witch in the MCU. The character in the comic books has long been one of the most engaging – not-to-mention the most powerful – so it was exciting to think about the possibilities she could achieve on the big screen.

Elizabeth Olsen first cameoed as the character in Captain America: The Winter Soldier before going on to play integral roles in Avengers: Age of UltronCaptain America: Civil WarAvengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. However, there was always the feeling that the character could have been given that little bit more.

Don’t get me wrong, Wanda remained a favorite of viewers, and that’s the reason why the conversation about her role was so loud, because fans wanted more. The fact that she couldn’t do more was down to the fact that the Wanda we saw on-screen never felt like she had been given the power that her comic book counterpart possessed – because, let’s face it, Thanos wouldn’t have had a hope in defeating the Avengers if he went up against the fully-powered Wanda.

But there was a noticeable shift with the arrival of WandaVision and it single-handedly proved that fans were right to see the potential in Wanda.

WandaVision highlighted the complex character that Wanda Maximoff is

WandaVision changed the game for the MCU’s portrayal of Wanda Maximoff. For starters, Marvel Studios’ acquisition of Fox allowed them to finally delve into the true origins of her abilities and bring the fully-powered Scarlet Witch, along with that codename, to screen. And thus, some rewriting was done to correct her Age of Ultron backstory, with the reveal that she did not receive her powers from the Mind Stone but that her abilities actually protected her from its power, and were awakened as a result.

Seeing her evolve into the Scarlet Witch on-screen was a fulfilling moment for fans of the character who always knew what she was capable of. We had seen glimmers of that before – the moment she went toe-to-toe with Thanos being an example of that – but this was something else entirely. This was the Scarlet Witch fans had longed for and, in that moment, it became clear that no threat the MCU has ever produced would ever stand a chance against this version of Wanda.

However, WandaVision did so much more for Wanda than give her limitless powers. It finally placed a spotlight on her that the movies she appeared in were often afraid to do. Captain America: Civil War is an example of this, as the character found herself at the center of a story that ultimately became about everything but her. It was very much a case of “protect Maximoff!”, “stop Maximoff!”, “grab Maximoff!” while focusing on all the characters trying to do those things instead.

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Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff in Marvel Studios’ WandaVision. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2021 All Rights Reserved. /

WandaVision, on the other hand, placed the focus solely on Wanda as she dealt with the aftermath of Vision’s death. We didn’t know what was happening at the time given the mystery nature of the show, but as she uncovered parts of the story, we saw them through her eyes, making it that much more of a personal experience.

On the surface, WandaVision may have been an eerily light-hearted sitcom with an unnerving mystery at its core, but in its heart of hearts, it was a show that focused on the complexities of grief and how it can affect people. For Wanda, that was accidentally unleashing her limitless powers on an unsuspecting small town and creating the perfect life for herself and Vision to hide away from the grief, all while trapping that town in her dreamscape. There is still much atoning that needs to be done for those actions, and as aftermath is clearly where this character shines, let’s hope we see more of that in her next appearances.

In one nine-episode series, an overlooked supporting character with untapped potential became one of the most real characters that the Marvel Cinematic Universe has ever given us. And the fact that we’re saying that about mystically-powered witch is a testament to the storytelling of the show and the stunning portrayal that Elizabeth Olsen delivered.

Wanda will return in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, and none of her silver screen appearances have been more anticipated than this one. The Scarlet Witch is a character who has spent most of her MCU existence with the potential for greatness but was never truly allowed to shine (though from time-to-time she really did). Now, though, she stands atop the MCU’s line-up of superheroes, having earned her place as not only one of the shared universe’s best characters, but its most complex – and intriguing – hero. Trauma birthed the Scarlet Witch and it’s going to be very interesting to see where her story goes next.

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Are you a fan of the Scarlet Witch? Are you excited for Wanda Maximoff’s return in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness? Let us know in the comments below!