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Elizabeth Olsen Explains How She Wrapped Her Head Around Wanda’s Sudden Turn in ‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’

Wanda talking to Doctor Strange in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is, for me, a bit of a mixed bag—partly because my love of Wanda Maximoff made her sudden turn into this being who didn’t care about anyone else but her own pain seem so out of left field from the woman who was coming to terms with her grief in WandaVision. But then I left my screening to the news that the Supreme Court was trying to overturn Roe V. Wade (which they would eventually go on to do) and that rage that spurred Wanda on was something I understood.

Still, it was a lot to unpack, and I had to look at Wanda through the possession of the Darkhold and how she reacted to America Chavez for a while. It took me time to see her motivation and what was happening to my favorite girl, and it seems that that understanding was also something that star Elizabeth Olsen worked through. In a new interview with Variety, Olsen talked about how she was shocked about Wanda’s turn in the film but then how she was able to understand her arc.

“Well, this is quite a leap from the woman that I’ve been playing!” She said and went on to talk about how she understood Wanda’s rage and how that was something she could tap into. “At least in my experience, it’s been hard as a woman to express rage,” Olsen said. “It’s one of the most amazing feelings, because it’s so specific: You can know exactly why you’re angry.”

That rage that Wanda has, mixed with being possessed? All of that makes me understand the film on a level I didn’t when I first saw it—which is maybe to do with the fact that I knew how people would react to her when the movie was in theaters. I knew the reaction to WandaVision and how it was going to be ten times worse from this movie because there is a lack of nuance in how people see fictional characters.

You’re either the hero or the villain, and there is no room for a gray area if you’re a woman—especially if you’re a woman. Male characters have the luxury of living in the gray often. Think of Loki and the universal love for him or even Tony Stark who is, when we meet him—an arms dealer. Those characters are flawed, but we celebrate them and honor them, and yet, when given a chance, people love to vilify a woman who is in that same gray area.

So, hearing Olsen’s perspective on this and how she feels? That’s what excites me about what could come for the character in the future.

The future for Wanda

Our Chelsea Steiner wrote up Feige’s comments about Wanda’s future and his comments do parrot that of my own. We didn’t see Wanda in that rubble and if I know anything about superhero movies, if you don’t see a dead body, then that doesn’t mean they’re dead.

But what this interview did for me was give me up that Wanda isn’t gone and that when she comes back, she’s going to still be in that gray area. Not a villain, not a hero in the eyes of those around her. Flawed and yet trying. Because that’s the Wanda Maximoff I know and love.

(image: Marvel Entertainment)

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Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. A writer her whole life but professionally starting back in 2016 who loves all things movies, TV, and classic rock. Resident Spider-Man expert, official Leslie Knope, actually Yelena Belova. Wanda Maximoff has never done anything wrong in her life. Star Wars makes her very happy. New York writer with a passion for all things nerdy. Yes, she has a Pedro Pascal podcast. And also a Harrison Ford one.