Wong is Wild AF in the MCU Now and I Love It
Can you believe this guy? (We love him.)
In episode 3 of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, Jen Walters (Tatiana Maslany) finds out that Wong (Benedict Wong) may be responsible for Emil Blonsky (Tim Roth) escaping from prison. Jen leans over to break the fourth wall. “I know you can’t wait to see Wong,” she tells the audience. It’s true! Fans have been clamoring for Wong ever since we found out he was going to have a cameo in She-Hulk. He’s one of the best characters in the MCU. Why? Because he’s wild and unpredictable as hell, and I’m here for it.
Let’s look at why Wong is so awesome—and how his character might keep evolving as the MCU heads into Phase 5!
The Saga of Wong
To say that Wong’s character comes from humble beginnings is an understatement. When Wong first appeared in Marvel comics in 1963, he was a nameless character who served as Doctor Strange’s valet. The backstory that Wong eventually got wasn’t much better than his status as a bit character: it turned out that he came from a long line of sorcerers’ servants. Ugh.
In the 2016 film adaptation of Doctor Strange, though, Wong got a major upgrade—helped, in no small part, by Benedict Wong’s fabulous acting chops and charisma. Not only was Wong now a Master of the Mystic Arts in his own right, outranking Stephen Strange from the get-go, but he was Kamar-Taj’s librarian. That role allowed him to bump up against Stephen in funny and believable ways, and their banter became a legendary part of Marvel cinematic lore.
After the events of Infinity War, Wong became Sorcerer Supreme. You’d think a promotion like that would exacerbate his old stuff-shirt tendencies, but weirdly, quite the opposite has happened. The new gig has opened up a whole new side of Wong.
The New Wong
We first find out something’s up with Wong in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. When Shang-Chi and Katy go to the Golden Dagger Club, we see Wong fighting Emil (in his Abomination form) in a cage match. When Wong wins, he revels in his victory, holding up his fists as the audience chants his name. Afterward, Wong opens a portal to return Emil to his prison cell.
Wong seems to have everything under control in Doctor Strange 2. He’s just doing his thing as Sorcerer Supreme, keeping the lights on at Kamar-Taj and preventing the Scarlet Witch from taking over the multiverse. His wilder side comes out again in She-Hulk, though, when he guest stars in Episode 3, “The People vs. Emil Blonsky.”
In this episode, Jen and Nikki track Wong down after Emil says that Wong forced him to break out of prison to fight him at the Golden Dagger. Leaving aside the hilarious fact that Wong apparently worked at a Target before becoming a sorcerer, his explanation for why he broke Emil out raises some huge questions. Wong says he essentially kidnapped Emil because he needed someone to help him train for his work as Sorcerer Supreme.
Really, though? He’s kidnapping people for public fights instead of just training with other sorcerers? Even if his opponent had to be Emil, couldn’t he just bring him back to Kamar-Taj? I call bullshit on Wong’s whole story. I just don’t buy it! What’s clearly happening is Wong and Emil have a lucrative side hustle on the fight club circuit. In Infinity War, Wong told Stephen that his spirituality forbade him from carrying enough cash for a sandwich, but now he’s obviously making bank.
But it gets even better! After Wong tells Emil’s parole board that he forced Emil to fight, they point out that breaking someone out of prison is a crime. Wong’s response? He just nopes right on out of that room, never to return. He has no intention of ever suffering any consequences for his shenanigans. After all, he’s got that memory-erasing magic in his back pocket, and he told Jen to her face that he was willing to use sorcery to avoid the criminal justice system.
In Episode 4, “Is This Not Real Magic?” we learn even more about Wong’s dark side. Enjoying The Sopranos and drinking gin and tonics is pretty vanilla in the grand scheme of things, but Wong says some pretty revealing stuff when he confronts Donny Blaze. Donny has been using the mystic arts to send young women to Hell dimensions as a cheap magic show stunt, and Wong, worried about the reputation of the Kamar-Taj sorcerers, wants to issue a cease and desist. When Donny says that Wong is just afraid Donny will become more mystical than him, Wong has the absolute incredible audacity to claim that “the Sorcerer Supreme doesn’t engage in competition.” After the whole world found out about the cage match! (Of course, the fact that no one in the room reacts to that blatant lie might indicate that Wong has already erased their memories.)
I just love this new look for Wong. Not only is it really funny, but it sets up some genuinely interesting questions for Phases 5 and 6. Will he stay Sorcerer Supreme, or will that title eventually go to Stephen, like it does in the comics? If Wong does stay Sorcerer Supreme (please, Kevin Feige, pretty please?), then how will his personality continue to change as he handles the stresses and responsibilities of the job? After all, we saw in the original Doctor Strange that the previous Sorcerer Supreme, Tilda Swinton’s Ancient One, let herself get pretty corrupted by the position. Remember how she tapped into the forbidden power of the Dark Dimension to make herself functionally immortal? If Wong is headed down a similar path, I want a front row seat.
It was a lot of fun to watch Wong and Stephen’s odd couple dynamic in the first Doctor Strange movie, but I’m head over heels for this new version of Wong: the one who hangs out with Madisynn, does a happy dance before he settles in for TV night, and warps reality at will to save his own ass. I can’t wait to watch Wong’s further descent into a life of crime and delicious mayhem.
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