Whedon Alters the Scarlet Witch
The Scarlet Witch is one of my favourite Marvel characters, mainly because she’s been around since pretty much day one. Her first appearance was in X-Men #4 in 1963 and she’s been an under-used character ever since. So that’s over 50 years of neglecting this complex and interesting character. She’s been an evil mutant, an Avenger, a crazy Avenger, a “Force Works[er]” an Avenger again and then a crazy Avenger again.
I was so pleased that Bendis used Wanda as the central character for House of M, the end of the Avengers, the eradication of most of the mutant population and then the whole AvX Phoenix storyline. This is why I was quite surprised, and more than a little bit heart-broken to hear Joss Whedon had flat-out changed her character for the Age of Ultron Movie. (see below)
We’ve already seen suggestions that the Maximoff twins have been re-written as Inhumans instead of mutants and the rejection of their connection to Magneto due to Fox owning the rights to all those terms, but this latest change goes a step too far. While I’m inclined to trust Whedon as he’s never steered me wrong in the past, why oh why was it necessary to turn Wanda into a goth version of Jean Grey? I know Whedon is an X-Men fan, having admitted before that Fox has all the best characters (I’m inclined to agree with you Joss), and even writing issues of the comic long before the Avengers became his baby, but Wanda is an awesome character in her own right and deserves to be justly represented.
In case you’re unfamiliar with the Scarlet Witch, her originally mutant powers involved an unpredictable ability to alter probabilities. Basically she pointed at stuff and things happened. Through the years she studied with Agatha Harkness to gain some measure of control over her powers but didn’t really make much of a breakthrough until many years later. It was revealed (and since rebuttled) that Wanda was born an energy-manipulator like her father Magneto, and it was her connection to the demonic elder god Chthon that meant she was focus chaos magic in her hex powers. These powers later went on to include manipulating reality, a power so great that it drove her insane (the second time) which resulted in several Avengers deaths, a few rebirths, an alternate reality and the the elimination of the majority of Earth’s mutant population.
Pretty cool right?
Now in Avengers: Age of Ultron the Scarlet Witch has the powers of telekinesis and telepathic abilities attuned to fear. Fear-telepathy?! Really? What the hell is that? I’m guessing the reason for the change was that these abilities would be easier to explain and for the audience to grasp, I still don’t see what would be so complicated about just making her powers hexes. No need to mention magic or probabilities. Bring it back to her 1960s classic and just have her point at things and stuff happens. Surely that would be super easy to write in and can still have the bad-ass pink light gesture we’ve seen her doing in various gifs.
I’m glad I found this out now before I saw the movie, otherwise I would have been distracted during it and would have gotten annoyed like I am now. My hope is that maybe these are how the Avengers understand Wanda’s powers now. In the comic there has been a constantly evolving theory about the true nature of her powers, and this could be addressed in future Avengers movies and even in the Inhumans movie (if that’s what her and Pietro are now this week). I will agree to be patient and place my faith in the Whedon, but if she’s not warping reality by the end of Infinity Wars I will be supremely pissed!
Learn more about the Scarlet Witch
When in doubt, read more comics. Brush up on some on the Scarlet Witch’s origin’s as well as her long-standing romance with the Vision. Alternatively read her most involved and powerful storylines in the House of M Crossover and Avengers Vs X-Men.