6 Months On, I Still Can’t Forgive The MCU For 1 Avenger’s Treatment

Split image of Doctor Strange Endgame and Loki in Loki season 1 episode 1

6 months after Loki season 2’s ending showed how a complicated but ultimately heroic Marvel arc should be done, the MCU’s Scarlet Witch story appears yet more frustrating. The MCU timeline reaching the stage of its run that led to the first batch of hero endings and demises drew an inevitable amount of audience focus and discussion. Indeed, the reactions to the deaths of figures like Iron Man and Black Widow proves the franchise had truly resonated with audiences, as viewers dealt with the emotional weight of losing characters they’d connected with for over a decade in real time.

However, not all MCU deaths could have the weight and poignancy of Iron Man’s climactic sacrifice in Avengers: Endgame, and the fate of Scarlet Witch was a prime example of how not all endings in the franchise are created equal, even though Wanda and Tony were both Avengers in some of the MCU’s best movies. Though time has retroactively fixed or lessened some divisive MCU discussions, Wanda’s death and how it was handled is one that hasn’t been made sweeter by the test of time.

Scarlet Witch’s MCU Death Was A Waste Of A Truly Fascinating Avenger Arc

The Scarlet Witch in the skies above Kamar-Taj in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

While Doctor Stange in the Multiverse of Madness was not a bad movie, the amount of nuance that had been delivered to Scarlet Witch’s character arc via WandaVision meant her limited amount of screentime in the multiverse adventure doomed her story to a cramped-feeling ending. The movie needing to showcase the multiverse, the Illuminati, America Chavez, and still focus on Stephen Strange’s own story in his solo series meant that something had to give, and ultimately this meant that Wanda – as the villain the protagonists were actively running from – was the most logical choice to have less exploration.

The careful setup of Wanda’s return to villainy in WandaVision suggested it would be employed in a suitably nuanced way. This is especially true since the story would also have to convey what had happened to audiences who may not have been watching the Disney+ shows, and thus wouldn’t be aware of the complicated aftermath of Endgame for the character.

Unfortunately, that premise combined with the multitude of tasks for the film meant that when Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness had to dedicate relatively little time at all to Wanda officially becoming a villain once more – only for her to revert to seeing the error of her ways less than two hours later and die – much of the character’s capacity for storytelling had to be pushed to the side. Given Wanda had been a key MCU figure for 7 years at this point, her lackluster ending stood out among the more poignant Avenger deaths that define the franchise and its success.

Wanda’s overall screentime within Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness comes in at around 40 minutes. While this ties her for second-place screentime wise with America Chavez, it’s worth keeping in mind that much of Scarlet Witch’s screentime is dedicated to her wreaking havoc on those who oppose her, which naturally also limits how much these scenes could be used for character development.

Wanda’s Death Mistreatment Was Made Worse By Loki Season 2

Loki season 2's ending showcasing Loki as God Loki in his new outfit at the End of Time

Loki and Wanda experienced decidedly similar MCU character arcs, defined by complicated moral questions and figures who veered between the boundaries of good and evil relatively often. This is exemplified best by Loki season 2’s ending in November 2023, which saw the God of Mischief turn into the God of Stories after sacrificing himself to protect the multiverse and become its protector and anchor. Perhaps the most impressive part of this is how seamlessly Loki’s story takes him from villain to hero, to villain again, and then to one of the most significant heroes in the franchise’s history.

However, it’s hard to notice the similarities between Loki and Wanda and not note that the Scarlet Witch’s own decision to change her destiny and use her powers to protect others – destroying the Darkhold and herself in one fell swoop – wasn’t given the same time and dedication. This is understandable in the sense that Loki got his own two-season-long show and Wanda was appearing in another hero’s sequel as an antagonist, but this does raise the question of whether putting Scarlet Witch in the movie itself was a mistake, and if a WandaVision season 2 could have paid off better for her story.

Delaying WandaVision’s 2 Successor Series Mean It’s Hard For The MCU To Fix Its Scarlet Witch Problem

Kathryn Hahn using purple energy as Agatha Harkness in WandaVision

Wanda’s story can be redeemed by how WandaVision‘s follow-up series – Agatha All Along and Vision Quest – approach her legacy and the impact the Scarlet Witch had on the franchise. However, the shows have a complicated task ahead, as Scarlet Witch will have been dead in real time for two years when Agatha All Along releases, leaving a huge gap of time for audiences to lose emotional investment in her story. However, it’s not impossible for the shows to add poignancy to Wanda’s fate retrospectively – and if anyone can do it, it’s likely Kathryn Hahn and Paul Bettany.

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