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Why Does Wanda Maximoff’s Accent Return in ‘Doctor Strange 2?’

Wanda Maximoff telling Stephen Strange the truth in the Multiverse of Madness trailer

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is almost here, and judging from the trailers and TV spots that have been released, it looks like the movie is going to be just as much Wanda Maximoff’s story as it will be Stephen Strange’s. Wanda has gone from HYDRA asset to Avenger to the Scarlet Witch, and one interesting detail that’s now emerging is her accent. Why does Wanda’s Sokovian accent, noticeably absent in WandaVision, suddenly return in Doctor Strange 2? Let’s dive in and and find out!

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Wanda’s Early Days

Out of all the superpowered characters inhabiting the Marvel universe, Wanda might have the most heartbreaking life story.

A quick recap: Wanda and her twin brother Pietro come from Sokovia, a Central European country prone to violence and political instability. As children, Wanda and Pietro are caught in an airstrike that kills their parents instantly and leaves them trapped in the rubble of their apartment building for two days. Even worse, one missile lands in the apartment but fails to go off, so Wanda and Pietro spend the entire two days waiting to see if it’s going to explode and kill them.

Wanda and Pietro are radicalized by the violence, and eventually they join HYDRA to participate in the organization’s experiments with the mind stone. After they defect to the Avengers, Pietro is killed by one of Ultron’s Sentries. By the end of Avengers: Age of Ultron, Wanda’s entire family has been brutally killed.

Wanda soldiers on, though, joining the Avengers and getting to know Vision. She and Vision fall in love, but when Thanos comes after the mind stone, Wanda has to watch Vision die twice: once when he asks her to destroy the mind stone, and then again, five minutes later, when Thanos rewinds time to pluck the mind stone out of Vision’s head himself.

Westview and the Hex

As if Wanda hasn’t suffered enough already, when she comes back from the Blip, she finds out that S.W.O.R.D. is desecrating Vision’s body by dismantling it. That final insult might be what drives her to create the false reality of WandaVision, in which she turns the entire town of Westview, New Jersey into a sitcom. In the “hex” she creates, Wanda gives birth to two boys, Billy and Tommy, only to lose them again when she shuts the spell down.

So, just to reiterate: Wanda has literally lost every single person she’s ever loved. Even worse, she has reason to believe that Billy and Tommy are still out there somewhere and in trouble, but she doesn’t know how to get to them. Plus, now she’s known as a villain for her actions in Westview.

That is a LOT. And Wanda’s accent ends up being a potent symbol of all the loss and humiliation she’s suffered throughout her life.

It’s no wonder that as soon as she creates the false Westview, her Sokovian accent is replaced with an American one. Her sitcom plots take place in the US, and so even though she acknowledges that she’s from Europe in the first episode, her character is thoroughly American. As we can see when Monica Rambeau mentions Ultron, Wanda wants to escape her old life completely and inhabit the new world she’s created.

There are a couple of interesting moments in WandaVision when other characters hang a lampshade on the fact that her Sokovian accent has suddenly disappeared. At one point, when she’s trying to figure out what the false Pietro might be up to, she asks where his accent has gone, and he asks her the same question. Then, in the finale, Agatha Harkness remarks on it: “Boy, that accent really comes and goes, doesn’t it?” Wanda’s old life starts to creep in more and more as her false reality grows shakier.

There’s also a moment in WandaVision when Wanda has to leave the hex to try and get S.W.O.R.D. to leave her alone. The moment she steps beyond the hex’s borders, her old accent comes back in force. It’s only within the hex that she can inhabit her false persona.

Elizabeth Olsen explained the significance of the disappearing, reappearing accent in an interview with Indiewire. “As much as she’s trying to keep this reality together she’ll have the American accent,” Olsen said. “Then, at what point does her Sokovian come back and we get to make a comment on it when it happens?” The accent is very much tied to Wanda’s efforts to escape reality, and as we can see from the times her old accent slips out, it’s not even completely conscious on her part. It’s all part of the hex.

That New TV Spot

In the previous trailers for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, it wasn’t clear from Wanda’s dialogue how strong her accent was going to be. Now that the new TV spot has dropped, though, Wanda talks about the waking nightmare that her life has become, and you can hear that her accent is very clearly back.

While we still don’t know much about Wanda’s role in the movie—will she ultimately be an ally or a villain? Are Billy and Tommy involved?—we do know that the movie will continue her struggle with the grief and pain that was explored in WandaVision. We also know that she’s been using the dangerous Darkhold to master her chaos magic. The Darkhold has a corrupting influence, and Wanda’s already been told that she’s the dreaded Scarlet Witch who will end the world. Combine grief, solitude, shame, alienation, and ancient magic, and you’ve got a recipe for a very dangerous person.

The return of Wanda’s accent could point to a few things. It could just mean that the effects of the hex have worn off, and she’s given up on trying to live the false life she had in Westview. Or it might signal that she’s integrating all the different phases of her life, from childhood to the present, into one unified identity. As the Scarlet Witch, Wanda is treading new ground, and we’re sure to get some surprising twists and turns as she rediscovers herself yet again. We just hope she gets the peace and healing that she so desperately deserves.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is busting into your reality on May 6!

(image: Marvel)

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Author

Julia Glassman
Julia Glassman (she/her) holds an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop, and has been covering feminism and media since 2007. As a staff writer for The Mary Sue, Julia covers Marvel movies, folk horror, sci fi and fantasy, film and TV, comics, and all things witchy. Under the pen name Asa West, she's the author of the popular zine 'Five Principles of Green Witchcraft' (Gods & Radicals Press). You can check out more of her writing at <a href="https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/">https://juliaglassman.carrd.co/.</a>

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