WandaVision is still one of the best things that Marvel has done because it took the time to explore one of Marvel’s most interesting mutants—ahem, characters, Wanda Maximoff. Especially the duality of her being a victim and a manipulator, as Jac Schaeffer explained.
During an interview with io9, the showrunner explained that a high level of responsibility also comes with Wanda’s impressive chaos magic.
“It was important to us that it be all Wanda and that it would be her responsibility because we didn’t want—we weren’t doing Mephisto, Nightmare, the Grim Reaper, or any other people or entities,” Scheffer explained. “If we’re not going to take the cheap way out that there’s this other force, right, if we’re going to give the gift of storytelling to Wanda, I give the whole power, she also then has the culpability and has the accountability.”
A lot of the speculation about possible villains behind the events of the series felt like an attempt from people to make Wanda even more of a victim, all while reducing the harm that Wanda was absolutely responsible for. But here’s the thing: That is what makes Wanda’s story interesting and worth telling.
As a culture, we spend way too much time trying to rationalize the bad behavior/actions of our fictional favorites rather than sitting in the messy complicated reality of their actions. Wanda did harm. It happened largely by accident, and Agatha helped pull at the strings so it would collapse faster, but Wanda did the harm because she basically disassociated and thought she was doing good. We clearly see she wasn’t in full control of her abilities, so the spells were messy and harmed the people around her.
Wanda was someone who went through a lifetime of trauma that unleashed a powerful reality-warping power she was not fully aware of, and that power harmed a lot of innocent people—something she’ll never be able to fix or “atone” for.
Both things are true, and it doesn’t make Wanda “bad” or “good.” It makes her a more layered character and emotionally complicated in the same way Bucky is. This reductive way we like to make labels of good and bad is just not always good storytelling.
“We had a grief counselor come to the [writers] room, and we did some research on grief, and there’s a lot about how people remember faces,” Schaeffer went on to say. “The anxiety of not remembering the faces of your loved ones, misremembering, or actively misremembering things as a self-preservation tactic—all of that became fascinating to us, and we thought that by casting Evan [Peters] in the role, it would not only have that effect on Wanda, but it would have this meta layer for the audience, as well.”
I’m glad that we have given Wanda this space to exist, and considering we opened the MCU proper with a movie about a man who created weapons of war (weapons that helped create Wanda’s trauma), only for him to be a savior of the universe, I’d hope we can give Wanda room to live in this new chaotic good space.
(via io9, image: Marvel Entertainment)
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