By Laura Sirikul and Mike Manalo
By now, if you’re anything like us, you’ve already seen the first three episodes of WandaVision. If not — how dare you call yourself an MCU fan (just kidding, we love you!). Having said that, it’s no spoiler to say the show presents an intriguing slow burn mystery that keeps us guessing from the first frame to the very last frame of the third episode. And boy do we love the hell out of it! But, do we have any idea what’s going on, and why, or how it all leads into Marvel Studios’ first horror film, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness? Not a clue. And I’m sure you all are saying the same things. So being that we’re all MCU fans here at The Nerds of Color, we want to commiserate with you, our faithful fandom family, and see if we can put together our detective hats and paranoid “Charlie Day” conspiracy theory boards to present a few potential theories about where the series is going, and what the underlying story is behind WandaVision. If we’re wrong, please don’t hate us, but if we’re right, Marvel Studios owes us $2 billion dollars for cracking the case (Update: We’ve reached out to them and they said no to this so… just bragging rights)!
**Please note, we absolutely cannot express strongly enough that we will dive into spoiler territory for the first three episodes. So if you have not seen them yet, we very much encourage you to please watch before you read the rest of this article.**
Before we get into our theories, we must first look at the evidence the show has given us thus far.
WandaVision, as we’ve previously mentioned in our review, is unlike anything Marvel Studios has ever done in that the larger story is a puzzle, given to us piece by piece each episode. We’ve broken down a few of what we believe are the more prominent clues in the first three episodes to help us piece together what’s going on in the series.
- The Phony Commercials
Each of the commercials the show has served up so far has been linked to elements of Wanda’s past in the MCU, and features the same two actors in all three commercials — a man (Ithamar Enriquez) and a woman (Victoria Blade). With the Stark Industries toaster commercial, they both introduce and demo a toaster. Adding a slice of bread and clicking off the toasting switch, we hear the familiar sounds of a repulsor blast powering up, and a suspenseful beeping counting down like a bomb — potentially a nod to the fact that Wanda and Pietro waited days for a Stark Industries bomb to go off and destroy their family in Sokovia during their childhood. The second commercial, an ad for a Strucker watch, showcases the same duo pitching a fancy watch with a Hydra logo on it, boasting that Strucker “will make time for you.” And the third commercial is for Hydra Soak. Naturally, both the second and third commercials allude to how Baron Von Strucker and Hydra experimented on Wanda and Pietro using the Mind Stone, thereby giving them their powers. Between Stark and Hydra, we’re definitely revisiting some of the more traumatic events in Wanda Maximoff’s past here, meaning whatever is going on is inherently linked to the trauma that began with those horrific events.
- The Use of “Red”
Throughout the series, starting with the second episode, we see the color red everywhere. Our first glimpse of it is the light on the Stark Industries toaster in the first episode’s fake commercial. The second use is the red and yellow helicopter that lands in Wanda’s rose bushes. The third glimpse is when Dottie (played by Buffy alumnus, Emma Caulfield Ford) cuts herself on her glass, and we see her blood. And throughout the technicolor episode, Vision’s car is utilizing the same red and yellow color scheme as the helicopter, plus the orange and red patterns on Wanda’s dress, and the red smoke that appears when she’s trying to make the stork vanish. In our opinion, the recurring instance of red can’t just be a coincidence, considering how often it’s being used. Perhaps it’s because she’s the Scarlet Witch. But we believe it’s foreshadowing something sinister coming down the line.
- The Use of Hexagons
Something that seems to be incredibly subtle, but is more prominently seen in transition scenes during the title sequences and end cards of each episode is the use of Hexagons. They are being used everywhere. Potential reasons for this could be that Hexagons could be used to symbolize “Hexes” since, again, witchcraft will be prominent in a series about the Scarlet Witch. But given Hexagons are 6-sided shapes (6-points, 6-sides), they could point towards the number 6. Which may or may not be relevant for us to look at during the course of this series. We’ll dig into that in a little bit.
- Wanda’s Control
At the end of the first episode, Wanda looks to Vision and allows him to save Mr. Hart from his choking fit. At the end of the second episode, she and Vision see the bee-keeper, at which she says “No” and actively rewinds everything to disregard that scene. In the third episode, when Vision confronts her about something being wrong, the show skips and rewinds the scene to bypass the issue. And finally, what happens with “Geraldine” at the end of the third episode after she mentions Pietro and Ultron at the hands of Wanda. Wanda obviously has some power over this reality, and is hinting that she not only knows what’s going on, but can clearly reshape events and situations in this world to suit her needs when convenient. This ultimately leads to the larger question: Is she doing this because she wants to? Or, as the voice from the radio in Episode 2 asks, is someone making her do this?
From the first glimpse of the S.W.O.R.D. logo on the notebook in the first episode, to the appearance of the symbol on the helicopter, the Bee-Keeper’s outfit, and “Geraldine’s necklace,” we know the Sentient World Observation and Response Department is involved in this series and the events of what’s going on. We also know “Geraldine” is really Monica Rambeau, last seen in Captain Marvel. And if she works for S.W.O.R.D., as her necklace indicates, she has to be a good guy.
- The Bee-Keeper
We know at the end of the second episode, the Bee-Keeper also works for S.W.O.R.D., given the symbol on his back. He’s definitely involved here, and someone Wanda doesn’t want to see. But who is he and what does he represent?
- Tommy and Billy
“For the Children.” The oft-repeated line in the second episode is incredibly unsettling, reminiscent more of a cult from Rosemary’s Baby than an MCU film. But naturally in the episode where this phrase is repeated, what happens? Wanda gets spontaneously pregnant. Which leads into the rapid birth of Billy and Tommy in the third episode.
So what does all of the above mean? And what does it all add up to? We’re glad you asked.
- Master Pandemonium and/or Mephisto
If you dig deep into the comic book history of Wanda and Vision, particularly the mini-series, Vision and the Scarlet Witch Issues 1-12, you’ll see that Vision and Scarlet Witch do give birth to two twin boys — Billy and Tommy.
How is this possible, if Vision is not a real human being, you ask? Well the answer is simple: Magic. Scarlet Witch is able to create these two boys through magic. Not unlike the events we just witnessed in Episodes 2 and 3.
But naturally in the comics, altering reality through magic has dire consequences. Billy and Tommy are not natural. And thus, this kicks off a series of events that leads into West Coast Avengers Issues 51 and 52, in which the presence of the newly born twins attracts the attention of two villains: Master Pandemonium and the ultimate Marvel incarnation of the devil himself, Mephisto.
Now who The Hell are these characters? Glad you asked!
In the comics, Master Pandemonium was a Hollywood actor by the name of Martin Preston. He lost his arm in a horrible accident, and made a deal with the devil himself, Mephisto, to get his arm back. Naturally, Mephisto being the devil, means that Preston was destined to get screwed. And Mephisto takes three of Preston’s other limbs and replaces them with demons, and added a hole in his chest in the form of a 5-pointed star, representing five parts of his fragmented soul.
Pandemonium then goes on a quest to find the five parts of his soul, to solidify the star shaped hole on his chest, which eventually leads him to (guess where) Billy and Tommy. Yes, folks. In the comics, the magic Wanda used to create Billy and Tommy was actually pulled from the soul fragments of Pandemonium. And in the aforementioned issues of West Coast Avengers, Pandemonium kidnaps Billy and Tommy, and horrifically reabsorbs them, which is the panel you see above. However, once Pandemonium absorbs the twins, Mephisto reveals that what Pandemonium thought was his own soul, was actually part of Mephisto’s life essence (i.e. Mephisto’s soul). When the Avengers arrive to confront Mephisto and Pandemonium, they are defeated by the Scarlet Witch’s then-mentor, Agatha Harkness (an ancient and powerful witch) and her beast, Ebony. But at the end of the storyline, Harkness reveals that Billy and Tommy have been permanently erased from reality, and are erased from Wanda’s memory.
Now what does all of the above have to do with WandaVision? Well here goes. We think Mephisto and/or Pandemonium could very well be the big-bads of, not only WandaVision, but also Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (potentially or eventually with Wanda herself). We are speculating that Mephisto or Pandemonium are the man and the woman in the commercials, and Pandemonium being a former actor, used to make sitcoms — hence why the two are trapped in a series of sitcoms. We think it’s possible that one, or both, are possessing or influencing wanda to use her powers to alter reality over this neighborhood, and S.W.O.R.D. has been called in to try and stop them.
Now, why do we think this is possible? Well, take a look at the colors on Pandemonium above. They look familiar don’t they? Almost like the same shade of red and yellow on the helicopter that crashed in Wanda’s bushes, or Vision’s car in the third episode. Take a look at the red smoke Wanda was using in the third episode with the stork and the blood on Dottie, as well as on the toaster in the first episode’s commercial. It all seems very reminiscent of the shades of red commonly affiliated with Mephisto. It may be a stretch to say, and we may be looking into this too much, but also look at the hexagons. Six-sided shapes appearing in every episode. The devil’s number is 666. And it’s not a stretch to consider the star-shaped hole on Pandemonium could be easily amended to a hexagon in the MCU. However, if you want to be strict about the star-shape, it’s an odd coincidence that the talent show banner that says “For the children” in the second episode features a bunch of stars all over:
Again, it’s very possible all of this could be mere coincidence, or us looking into things too deeply, But I’d be willing to guess, that they’re tied into the series and foreshadowing the events to come, given the characters’ heavy ties into the mythos of Billy and Tommy, as well as Wanda and Vision. Furthermore, given that Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, is said to be a horror film, directed by Sam Raimi, the man who created the Evil Dead trilogy and Drag Me to Hell, it’s not a stretch to say that Marvel Studios intentionally picked Raimi because of his experience telling stories about demons and possession, because that’s the story they wanted to tell.
I also believe the train won’t stop there, and, dare I say it, this series and Doctor Strange 2 could set up Wanda to be the ultimate villain of this next phase. Why’s that? Because that’s also what happens in the comics. In the storyline Avengers: Disassembled, Wanda regains her memories about what happens to Billy and Tommy, and (with some influence/corruption from Doctor Doom and a force called The Life Force), she becomes even more powerful, and decides to seek revenge on the Avengers from not preventing the tragedy from happening. During the event Vision dies, Hawkeye dies, and Scott Lang is believed dead (even though he’s not — it’s complicated). And the person that stops her at the end is Doctor Strange. Wanda is then carried off away from the Avengers by Magneto, and the storyline eventually leads into the famed House of M storyline.
If WandaVision starts out with the birth of Tommy and Billy, and if Marvel Studios decides to follow the trajectory of the comics (which we know they don’t always do, but perhaps are inspired by), it’s not a stretch to say we’re heading towards Avengers: Disassembled.
2. Agatha Harkness
This is definitely not a new theory, as most people online are speculating the same — we believe Agnes is really Agatha Harkness. Given Agnes seems to be a bit closer to Wanda, even serving as a mentor for her in the first couple of episodes, and is also a bit more aware about what’s going on in the reality here than most others in Westview, we know she’s playing a larger role here than just a nosy neighbor. In fact if this scene from the trailer is any indication, her being dressed as a witch is definitely foreshadowing of her deeper role in Wanda’s life. Harkness does play a crucial role in both the Pandemonium/Mephisto storyline, as well as Avengers: Disassembled. Hence why it’s very plausible they are going down this direction.
3. Fenris — Andreas von Strucker and Andrea von Strucker
In the event that all the red we’re fixating on is, in fact, a red herring, and the series has zero to do with Mephisto or Pandemonium, it could be very possible that the antagonists Wanda, Vision, and S.W.O.R.D. are facing are the von Strucker twins, Andreas and Andrea von Strucker (also known in the comics as Fenris). Interestingly enough, a different take on the von Strucker twins was depicted in the now-cancelled and criminally underrated The Gifted on Fox, but they’ve never been adapted in the MCU.
In the comics, the Fenris twins were the children of Baron Strucker, now dead in the MCU. It’s not impossible to imagine that they’d be out for revenge for the death of their father. If we assume that the man and the woman in the Stark, Strucker, and Hydra commercials were Andreas and Andrea, controlling or manipulating Wanda, it wouldn’t be a stretch. Furthermore, the red we see could be a nod to the Red Skull, the original leader of Hydra. Additionally, Andreas’ call-sign in the comics was Swordsman. If S.W.O.R.D. is somehow an offshoot of S.H.I.E.L.D., which was at one point infiltrated by Hydra, it’s possible that undetected Hydra operatives could have spun off into S.W.O.R.D. as well, and the Swordsman could be the leader of that sect.
The only issue with this, however, would be the redundancy of storylines already explored in the MCU. If there’s one thing WandaVision and Phase 4 truly represent, its evolution for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Going back to Hydra or sleeper/double agents within S.H.I.E.L.D. or S.W.O.R.D. would be a bit of a step backwards for them. While the commercials represent Hydra and Strucker, it really could be ultimately just tied to Wanda’s past. And as the Stark Industries Toaster commercial states, “Forget the past. This is your future.”
Now the big question on the minds of many is what’s the deal with that Bee-Keeper in the second episode. What does he have to do with anything?
To be honest, there are a lot of Bee/Wasp/Hive related theories floating around on the internet, all having to do with roots from the original comics. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. for instance introduced a version of Hive from the comics, in the form of former fallen Hydra agent Grant Ward. Given AOS is sadly not really considered cannon anymore (or maybe it is, we’re not sure), perhaps WandaVision is alluding to a different version of Hive? There’s Wasp from the Ant-Man series, which I would honestly assume, apart from Jimmy Woo’s announced appearance on the show, would be a character with no connection to this series. And there’s the character of Swarm, a villain of Spider-Man’s from the comics.
Swarm, from the Spider-Man comics, is a villain whose body is made up of a swarm of bees. Hence the creative, original codename. The origin of the character is such that he was a German Nazi top scientist, named Fritz von Meyer, working for Hitler, who escapes capture after World War II to become a beekeeper. He discovers a mutated colony of bees, and tries to capture the queen, only to fail and have them devour his body. His consciousness remained intact, however, and was absorbed and merged into the hive, allowing him to control them.
Taken what we know of the character’s origins, it’s not out of the realm of possibility to say Marvel Studios could adapt the character of von Meyer to be a former member of Hydra, given the character’s roots in Nazi Germany. It’s also not out of the realm of possibility to say that the Bee-Keeper Wanda sees could be that scientist, and perhaps he’s found a way to control minds. In fact, all of the hexagon shapes seem similar to a beehive, and if mind control was not out of the equation, it’s easy to think he could make all the citizens of Westview his drones in this fantasy. If they adapt things in such a way that von Meyer lived through the eras of ’50s and ’60s sitcoms before his accident, it would make sense that he’d project what he knows about pop culture from his era on a subject he may be mind controlling, like Wanda. He may also be the man from the commercials. That said, we also know that the events of WandaVision will potentially impact Homecoming 3, which sees a storyline revolving around the multiverse. So if a Spider-Man villain like Swarm were to make an appearance in WandaVision, it’s easier for this show to tie into the next Spider-Man movie without much trouble.
However the only thing throwing this theory off is the S.W.O.R.D. logo seen on the back of the man’s suit. If Monica Rambeau works for S.W.O.R.D., and she’s a good guy, why would this Bee Keeper be bad if he works for her organization? The very possible situation of this character being good would disprove the idea that it was Swarm, and instead pose the notion that the Bee-Keeper could just be a regular S.W.O.R.D. agent in a containment suit used to protect him from the illusions being created by Wanda. After all, it’s the same episode in which “Geraldine” makes an appearance, indicating that this is ultimately when S.W.O.R.D. agents are starting to enter Westview. Perhaps Wanda just saw the outfit, and it reminded her of a Bee-Keeper’s outfit, so that’s how she envisioned it.
5. Advanced Idea Mechanics (AIM)
The final theory we’ll explore is the idea (or should I say “Advanced Idea”) that the culprits manipulating Wanda are tied to Advanced Idea Mechanics, or AIM for short. Anyone familiar with AIM from the comics or even the Avengers video game that came out last year, knows their symbol is a hexagon. And the outfits of AIM agents look like Bee-Keepers.
That could also mean that the potential villain behind all of this could be none other than the Mechanized Organism Designed Only for Killing, himself, MODOK.
The thing about this is that we’ve already seen AIM in the MCU before, in Iron Man 3. The organization was founded and controlled by the fake Mandarin, Aldrich Killian, played by Guy Pierce. And it’s entirely possible for the organization to still exist even after the death of Killian. It’s even more possible it’s now under the control of George Tarleton, who has never been introduced into the MCU just yet. Given the hexagons and the Bee-Keeper outfit it’s not a stretch to say that the creators behind WandaVision are attempting to allude to AIM.
Were that the case, the question becomes what is AIM’s aim here? What do they want with Wanda? We know Killian has played with AR tech that ties directly into the human brain, as he demonstrated in the first third of Iron Man 3. And there’s potential for a lot of what we’re seeing to be influenced by AR technology and potentially mind control. However, I can’t imagine Marvel Studios would want anyone to remember Iron Man 3. And it wouldn’t explain why the would-be AIM agent Bee-Keeper would have a S.W.O.R.D. logo on its back. I mean what would S.W.O.R.D. and AIM have to do with one another, much less MODOK and Wanda?
Overall, that’s as far as we’ve gotten given the third episode, and I imagine we’ll be getting more clues that will dispel a lot of what we are indeed theorizing above. But this is the fun of WandaVision: To allow us fans to speculate and theorize what this series is actually about and what the ramifications will be on the entire MCU. With that said, we’re happy to share our thoughts with you all, and want to know what you all think too. Do you think we may be right about any of these? Or are we completely off base here?
Let us know, and keep tuning in to WandaVision with us every Friday on Disney+!
UPDATE 3/5/21 – The day after the finale of WandaVision
To whoever reads this article in the future, yeah…. most of this was wrong. (It was Agatha All Along…but mostly Wanda :P). Going to chuck my Mephisto theories out the window now! 😀