|Marvel Cinematic Universe character|
Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff in the 2015 film Avengers: Age of Ultron.
|First appearance||Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)|
|Adapted by||Joss Whedon|
|Portrayed by||Elizabeth Olsen|
|Family||Pietro Maximoff (brother)|
Wanda Maximoff is a character portrayed by Elizabeth Olsen in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) media franchise who is based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name (more commonly known as the Scarlet Witch). As of 2019[update], Maximoff has appeared in the films Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014), Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), Captain America: Civil War (2016), Avengers: Infinity War (2018), and Avengers: Endgame (2019), all of which take place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Olsen will reprise the role in the upcoming Disney+ series WandaVision (2020) and the film Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022).
Conception, characterization, and appearance
Scarlet Witch debuted, together with her brother, Quicksilver, as a part of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants in X-Men #4 (March 1964). They were depicted as reluctant villains, uninterested in Magneto's ideologies. According to left-wing site Vox, Scarlet Witch was depicted as calm and submissive, as were most female comic book characters at the time. Her costume was mainly composed of a bathing suit with straps, opera gloves, short boots, a leotard covering her body, a superhero cape, and a wimple, all colored in shades of red. She was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.
Lee also wrote the Avengers comic book, composed by the most prominent heroes of the editorial. He eventually removed all of them, save for Captain America, and replaced them with villains from other comics: the Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver from the X-Men, and Hawkeye from Iron Man's adventures in Tales of Suspense. The team was known as "Cap's Kooky Quartet." Although common in later years, such a change in the roster of a super hero group was completely unprecedented. Some years later, Avengers writer Roy Thomas started a long-running romantic relationship between the Scarlet Witch and the Vision, considering that it would help with the series' character development. He elected those characters because they were only published in the Avengers comic book, so it would not interfere with other publications.
Steve Englehart succeeded Thomas as writer of the Avengers. He gave her a more assertive personality, removed Quicksilver, and expanded her powers by turning her into an apprentice of witchcraft. The Vision and the Scarlet Witch married in Giant-Size Avengers #4 (June 1975), at the end of the Celestial Madonna arc. The couple starred a limited series of four issues, The Vision and the Scarlet Witch (1982–83), by writer Bill Mantlo and penciller Rick Leonardi.
In the 1990s, Marvel licensed the filming rights of the X-Men and related concepts, such as mutants, to 20th Century Fox. Fox created a film series based on the franchise. Years later, Marvel started its own film franchise, the Marvel Cinematic Universe, focused on the characters that they had not licensed to other studios, such as the Avengers. The main core of this franchise were the Avengers, both in standalone films and the successful The Avengers film. Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch were disputed by both studios. Fox would claim the rights over them because they were both mutants and children of Magneto, the villain of most of their films, and Marvel would claim those rights because the editorial history of the characters in comic books is more associated with the Avengers rather than the X-Men. The studios made an agreement so that both of them would use the characters. It was made on the condition that the plots do not make reference to the other studio's properties: the Fox films cannot mention them as members of the Avengers, and the Marvel films cannot mention them as mutants or children of Magneto. Despite this deal, films in the Fox X-Men series did not feature Scarlet Witch.
In May 2013, it was reported that Joss Whedon considered Saoirse Ronan to be his "prototype" actress for the part, but by August of that year, Elizabeth Olsen had been cast for the role. Olsen has since played Wanda Maximoff in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The comic book costume was ignored in favor of more everyday clothes. She first appeared, as well as Quicksilver, in a mid-credits scene of the 2014 film Captain America: The Winter Soldier as a prisoner of Baron Strucker (Thomas Kretschmann). Scarlet Witch became a supporting character in the 2015 film Avengers: Age of Ultron, where the siblings initially conspire with Ultron (James Spader) but later defect to the Avengers. Quicksilver dies in the ensuing conflict while Wanda goes on to become a member of Captain America's Avengers. She appears in the 2016 film Captain America: Civil War. Both Olsen and Aaron Taylor-Johnson signed multi-picture deals. Olsen reprises the role in the 2018 film Avengers: Infinity War and its 2019 sequel Avengers: Endgame and will appear in the upcoming film Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. In the films, her powers are telekinetic and telepathic abilities, which she gained by volunteering as a test subject in Hydra experiments to create supersoldiers, by exposing her to the Mind Stone. Therefore, both she and her brother are described in the films as "enhanced humans," as opposed to the naturally-occurring Mutants they are in the comics.
In September 2018, it was reported that Marvel Studios was developing several limited series for Disney's streaming service, Disney+, to be centered on "second tier" characters from the Marvel Cinematic Universe films who had not and were unlikely to star in their own films, such as Scarlet Witch, with Elizabeth Olsen expected to reprise her role. The title of this show was later announced in 2018 to be WandaVision and will co-star Paul Bettany as the Vision. It is set to air in December 2020.
Maximoff is first fully introduced in Avengers: Age of Ultron as the twin sister of Quicksilver who can engage in hypnosis and telekinesis. Olsen felt Wanda was "overly stimulated" rather than "mentally insane" because "she has such a vast amount of knowledge that she's unable to learn how to control it. No one taught her how to control it properly... she can connect to this world and parallel worlds at the same time, and parallel times." Describing her character's mind control powers, Olsen said that the character is able to do more than manipulating someone's mind, with Scarlet Witch able to "feel and see what they feel and see" by projecting visions that they have never seen. Olsen expanded upon this, saying, "What I love about her is that, in so many superhero films, emotions are kind of negated a bit, but for her everything that someone else could feel—like their weakest moments—she physically goes through that same experience with them, which is pretty cool." Olsen drew on her relationship with her older brother and her sisters to prepare for the role, as well as looking to the comics for inspiration. Olsen revealed that Whedon was inspired by dancers as a way to visually represent how the character moves. As such, Olsen mostly trained with a dancer in lieu of traditional stunt training.
In Captain America: Civil War, Maximoff allies with Steve Rogers against the Sokovia Accords. According to Olsen, the character is "coming into her own and starting to understand and have conflict with how she wants to use her abilities." As such, Maximoff's costume was "relatively casual" and "more clothes-based than superhero-based" according to Makovsky, since the Russos believed Maximoff was not a full-fledged Avenger yet. When asked about the relationship between her character and the Vision compared to the comics, Olsen said, "You learn a little bit more about what connects [Scarlet and Vision] in this film. And I think there's some really sweet moments between Paul and I, and it's more about how they relate to one another and their similarities just based on their superpowers."
In Avengers: Infinity War, Olsen explains that Maximoff and Vision have maintained a romance while Maximoff remains in hiding and are "trying to within that time find points of meeting in different places in order to try and forward our relationship." Paul Bettany described it as the most emotional arc for the characters. In early drafts of Infinity War and Endgame, the screenwriters had Maximoff survive the snap and participate more substantially in the events of Endgame, while still mourning Vision, but this angle was ultimately dropped because "she'd gotten so much mileage and story in the first movie that she didn't really have anything that equaled that in the second."
Fictional character biography
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Wanda Maximoff and her twin brother Pietro are first introduced as test subjects in a Hydra facility in the Eastern European country of Sokovia commanded by Baron Wolfgang von Strucker. The twins are among the few survivors of Strucker's experiments on humans using the scepter previously wielded by Loki.
Avengers: Age of Ultron
The Avengers—Tony Stark, Steve Rogers, Thor, Bruce Banner, Natasha Romanoff, and Clint Barton—later raid Strucker's facility and encounter the twins, with Wanda using her telepathic abilities to interfere with their attack.
Stark and Banner subsequently use an artificial intelligence within the scepter's gem to complete Stark's "Ultron" global defense program, and the unexpectedly sentient Ultron, believing he must eradicate humanity to save Earth, recruits the Maximoffs, who hold Stark responsible for their parents' deaths by his company's weapons. The Avengers attack Ultron in Johannesburg, but Wanda subdues them with haunting visions, causing Banner to turn into the Hulk and rampage through the city. Ultron travels to Seoul and uses Loki's scepter to enslave the team's friend, Dr. Helen Cho, using her synthetic-tissue technology, vibranium, and the scepter's gem to craft a new body. As Ultron uploads himself into the body, Wanda is able to read his mind; discovering his plan for human extinction, the Maximoffs turn against Ultron. After Stark, Banner, and Thor cooperate to turn the captured synthetic body into the "Vision," the Maximoffs accompany the Avengers to Sokovia, where Ultron has used the remaining vibranium to build a machine to lift a large part of the capital city skyward, intending to crash it into the ground to cause global extinction. Barton encourages a frightened Wanda to join the Avengers in fighting Ultron. Pietro dies when he shields Barton from gunfire, and a vengeful Wanda abandons her post to destroy Ultron's primary body, which allows one of his drones to activate the machine. The other Avengers thwart Ultron's plan, and the Avengers establish a new team led by Rogers and Romanoff, and featuring James Rhodes, Vision, Sam Wilson, and Wanda.
Captain America: Civil War
Approximately one year later, Rogers, Romanoff, Wilson, and Wanda stop Brock Rumlow from stealing a biological weapon from a lab in Lagos. Rumlow blows himself up, attempting to kill Rogers. Wanda telekinetically contains the explosion and throws it upward, accidentally damaging a nearby building and killing several Wakandan humanitarian workers, to her dismay. U.S. Secretary of State Thaddeus Ross informed the Avengers that the United Nations (UN) is preparing to pass the Sokovia Accords, which will establish a UN panel to oversee and control the team. Wanda is restricted by Stark to remain at Avengers headquarters in New York, watched over by Vision, who attempts to comfort her, for the two have developed romantic feelings for each other. Rogers and Wilson go rogue to pursue villain Helmut Zemo, sending Clint Barton to recruit Wanda, who rejects Vision's warnings and goes with Barton. Stark's team intercepts Rogers's group, including Wanda, at Leipzig/Halle Airport, where they fight until Romanoff allows Rogers and Barnes to escape. The rest of Rogers's team, including Wanda, is captured and detained at the Raft prison, until Rogers returns to break them out.
Avengers: Infinity War
Several years later, Wanda and Vision have begun a secret romantic relationship while living off the grid in Edinburgh, when they are ambushed by Proxima Midnight and Corvus Glaive, servants of Thanos sent to retrieve the Mind Stone, which is in Vision's forehead. Rogers, Romanoff, and Wilson rescue them, and they take shelter with James Rhodes and Banner at Avengers Compound. Vision asks Wanda to destroy him and the Mind Stone to keep Thanos from retrieving it, but Wanda refuses. Rogers suggests they travel to Wakanda, which he believes has the resources to remove the Stone without destroying Vision. Thanos's army invades Wakanda as Shuri works to extract the Mind Stone from Vision, but she is unable to complete the extraction of the Mind Stone from Vision before Thanos arrives to retrieve it. Wanda is forced to destroy the Mind Stone and Vision, but Thanos uses the Time Stone to reverse her actions. He rips the repaired Mind Stone from Vision's forehead, killing him. Thanos, with the completed Gauntlet, snaps his fingers, and half of all life across the universe disintegrates, including Wanda.
Five years later, when the remaining Avengers are able to use quantum time travel to steal the stones from the past and create a new gauntlet, Wanda is restored along with the other people who were disintegrated. Sorcerers bring heroes from around the galaxy, including Wanda, to Avengers headquarters in upstate New York, where a time-traveling past version of Thanos is mounting a new attack. Wanda confronts Thanos directly, and nearly defeats him, destroying his sword and forcing him to order his ship to bomb the area, including his own troops, to escape. Wanda then assists Carol Danvers in an unsuccessful attempt to use Scott Lang's van to return the gauntlet to the past. After Stark sacrifices his life to defeat Thanos, Wanda attends Stark's funeral and consoles Barton over the death of Romanoff.
Afterward, Wanda enters a sitcom-themed dimension with Vision, where they marry and live their ideal suburban life together.
Differences from the comics
Maximoff in the MCU "possesses a drastically different powerset to her comic book counterpart," having been described less as a wielder of actual magic and more as "a Jean Grey analogue, gifted with both telepathic and telekinetic powers," with her abilities in the MCU being derived at least in part from experiments in which she was exposed to the Mind Stone. As of 2019[update], Magneto and other characters from the X-Men franchise have not been introduced into the MCU because Marvel Studios didn't own the rights for the X-Men until early 2019, and therefore no mention has been made of Maximoff's traditional depiction as the daughter of Magneto.
Rachel Leishman of the feminist "geek site" The Mary Sue wrote that Maximoff "isn't the most fleshed out of characters because she is often tied down to a male character and very rarely does anything but kill people accidentally," but that Avengers: Infinity War provided "the Wanda Maximoff who understands her placement among the Avengers and her abilities," and that by the end of Avengers: Endgame, Maximoff is "taking on her position as one of the new leaders of the Avengers."
|2015||Avengers: Age of Ultron||Teen Choice Awards||Choice Movie: Breakout Star||Nominated|||
|2016||Captain America: Civil War||Teen Choice Awards||Choice Movie: Chemistry (with cast)||Nominated|||
|2018||Avengers: Infinity War||MTV Movie & TV Awards||Best Fight (with cast)||Nominated|||
|Teen Choice Awards||Choice Action Movie Actress||Nominated|||
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Stan Lee and Jack Kirby decided to try their hands at a pair of reluctant super villains when they created Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver in The X-Men #4.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
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