With Thor: Love and Thunder (2022) now out in theaters, it feels like Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022) is already in our rear view. However, the 28th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe certainly leaves its impressions, which is largely owed to its main protagonist.
Directed by Sam Raimi, the man who helmed the original Spider-Man Trilogy which stars Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker/Spider-Man, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness conjured up over $953 million at the global box office, while generally receiving favorable reviews.
Here’s the synopsis for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness:
Doctor Strange faces his biggest challenge yet, as he’s forced to go deep into the Multiverse when Wanda Maximoff, a fellow Avenger, uses the “Darkhold” to become the Scarlet Witch, in an attempt to reclaim a life she was forced to surrender. With the help of newcomer America Chavez/Miss America and the Sorcerer Supreme, Wong, Doctor Strange sets out to stop his former ally.
While Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is a follow-up to Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021) in that it continues to explore the Multiverse, it’s actually more of a sequel to WandaVision (2021), the first official live-action MCU TV show that premiered on Disney+ last year.
WandaVision, which in itself acts as a sequel to both Avengers: Infinity War (2018) and Avengers: Endgame (2019), at least where the titular characters are concerned, finds Wanda Maximoff living in a seemingly idyllic suburban town with her husband Vision (Paul Bettany). However, not everything is as it seems.
Wanda has used her powers to turn the town of “Westview” into a contained alternate reality, in which she and Vision traverse the many different styles of the US sitcom through the decades, taking inspiration from the likes of The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961) and Modern Family (2009).
But things become even more complicated when Wanda gives birth to two boys — a consequence of the reality she has conjured up. Unfortunately, by the end of the show, she’s forced to give up everything she loves — including her children — and go into solitude.
But the show doesn’t end before teasing the arrival of the “Scarlet Witch” — Wanda’s wicked alter ego. And Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness finally gave Marvel fans what they had wanted for so long, by bringing Wanda back into the fold, this time as the villain.
However, Marvel has now revealed that Wanda/Scarlet Witch was supposed to be a much bigger villain. While she definitely rocks the boat in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness by unleashing her fury upon the Multiverse, it seems like we could have seen a lot more.
That’s not to say that Elizabeth Olsen doesn’t deliver a truly terrifying performance as Wanda/Scarlet Witch, but the trouble is that she’s easily the best part of the film, so much so that she leaves fans hungry for more. But was this the best “outcome” for her character?
Olsen certainly chews the scenery in the Phase Four film, stealing every single scene she appears in, but Marvel Studios has revealed that Wanda/Scarlet Witch was actually intended to be a much bigger villain in the MCU, perhaps even rivalling the likes of Thanos (Josh Brolin).
In the latest episode of Assembled (2021) on Disney+, which is described as “documentary-style specials examining the creation of Marvel Studios’ thrilling new shows and theatrical releases”, writer Michael Waldron explained that Wanda/Scarlet Witch was originally intended to be a villain in an Avengers movie.
Here’s what he said in the latest episode, The Making of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness:
“We knew that we wanted Wanda to be in it. I think originally, there was a version where Wanda was maybe gonna turn bad at the end. That was a big change that I made and had a strong perspective on making her a villain from the get go. It was always like, ‘Well that’ll happen in an Avengers movie or something.’ My perspective was, ‘Why are we letting some other movie get the best villain ever?”
Elizabeth Olsen also appears in the documentary, during which she confesses her initial shock at being told that her character would be the villain in the Doctor Strange sequel:
“We were about to go back to finishing WandaVision. I was pitched the actual story of Doctor Strange, and I was shocked. No one told me that their plan for me was to be the villain.” However, just like Wanda, Olsen clearly embraced becoming the Scarlet Witch, saying, “It was an exciting opportunity because it’s really fun playing people with moral ambiguity. She is one of the most powerful beings that’s ever existed. Why does that mean that she now has to settle for just being good, when all she wants is something that seems so simple and small, which is to be with her kids?”
Wanda/Scarlet Witch is easily the most tragic character in the MCU. Not only did she and her twin brother Pietro Maximoff survive a bombing in Russia that killed their parents, they were later subjected to experiments conducted by HYDRA.
Several years later, when we officially meet Wanda in Avengers: Age of Ultron, her brother Pietro is killed in action. While Wanda would later find solace in a romantic relationship with Vision, this would just the beginning of even more tragedy to come.
Many Marvel fans would agree that Wanda/Scarlet Witch deserves her own film. And many would also agree that the Doctor Strange sequel should have been a Scarlet Witch movie, with Doctor Stephen Strange/Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) as the supporting character.
Whether or not Wanda/Scarlet Witch will return in a future MCU movie remains to be seen, as her fate is left ambiguous at the end of the Doctor Strange sequel. Either way, at least we know she’s alive and well somewhere in the Multiverse.
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness stars ( / ), Rachel McAdams (Dr. Christine Palmer), (Wong/Sorcerer Supreme), (Kal Mordo), (America Chavez AKA
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and WandaVision are now streaming on Disney+.
Do you think Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch deserves her own movie? Let us know in the comments down below!