WandaVision: What you should know before watching Marvel’s new series on Disney+

The Marvel Cinematic Universe begins a new chapter this week with WandaVision, the first project to debut from Phase Four of the studio’s interconnected superhero saga, and the first major MCU release since 2019’s Spider-Man: Far From Home.

Set after the cataclysmic events of Avengers: Endgame, Disney+ series WandaVision brings back Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany as Avengers teammates and romantic partners Wanda Maximoff (aka The Scarlet Witch) and Vision, respectively. The pair find themselves living an idyllic suburban life — straight out of classic TV sitcoms — but soon find their perfect existence unraveling in bizarre ways.

It has been more than a year since Endgame and Far From Home arrived in theaters, so there’s a good chance that a refresher (or possibly, a recap) on certain elements of the Marvel universe could be of service to fans looking forward to WandaVision. With that in mind, here’s everything you need to know about Wanda and Vision heading into their new Disney+ series.

Note: Discussion of plot points from prior Marvel Cinematic Universe movies will occur from this point forward, so consider this a spoiler warning.

Wanda who?

Both Wanda Maximoff and Vision have slightly different backstories in Marvel Comics lore, but in the MCU, the pair were first introduced in 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron (although Wanda made a brief appearance in a mid-credits scene in 2014’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier).

Wanda and her brother Pietro (aka Quicksilver) gained powerful abilities after being experimented on by the terrorist organization HYDRA. Initially, they fought against the Avengers, having blamed Tony Stark for the death of their family. They eventually realized they were being manipulated by HYDRA, however, and joined the heroes’ battle against the genocidal, artificially-intelligent android Ultron. Although Pietro lost his life in the heroes’ final battle, Wanda later chose to join the Avengers.

One of the Avengers’ most powerful team members, Wanda’s abilities include seemingly unlimited forms of telekinesis and energy manipulation. She’s held her own against some of the toughest villains (and heroes) in the MCU, with Thanos himself struggling to overpower her in Avengers: Endgame. (He eventually had to order a barrage from the sky in order to daze her enough to gain the upper hand.) She also has some telepathic abilities, having planted visions in Tony Stark’s mind and mentally forced Bruce Banner to transform into Hulk.

Avengers: Age of Ultron

Vision 101

The Avengers’ only android team member, Vision is technically a “synthetic being” created by the android Ultron in order to host his consciousness, only to have the Avengers steal the body away in Age of Ultron and activate it with help from the Mind Stone — one of the powerful Infinity Stones sought by Thanos throughout the first three chapters of the MCU. In addition to the sentience Vision was given by the Mind Stone, Tony Stark uploaded his A.I. assistant J.A.R.V.I.S. into Vision, giving him a more grounded connection to humanity.

Vision joined the Avengers in battling Ultron and quickly established himself as another powerful member of the team. Along with a body made of the fictional, indestructible element vibranium, Vision possesses superhuman strength and the ability to fly, change his appearance (in order to make himself look human), and alter the density of his own form — making him capable of “phasing” through solid objects at will. He is also able to focus the energy of the Mind Stone embedded in his forehead into a concentrated, destructive beam.

Avengers Infinity War

Marvel’s star-crossed couple

Over the course of the later films in the MCU, the relationship between Wanda and Vision evolved from teammates to something deeper, with both characters shown to be sneaking away from the rest of the Avengers for romantic moments together.

Despite Vision’s synthetic status, the pair bonded over the android’s desire to understand human emotions and Wanda’s fear of her own powers. Vision’s abilities allowed him to work closely with Wanda on controlling her abilities, and the pair’s relationship blossomed to the point of romance by the time the events of Avengers: Infinity War unfolded.

Their relationship wasn’t without plenty of obstacles, but the depth of their feelings for each other were finally realized when Vision attempted to make the ultimate sacrifice in order to prevent Thanos from taking the Mind Stone. The pair confessed their love for each other before making a final stand against Thanos.

Avengers Infinity War

Dead or alive

Sadly, Wanda and Vision’s relationship seemed to reach a tragic end in Infinity War. After Wanda reluctantly agreed to destroy the Mind Stone in order to keep it from Thanos — essentially forcing her to kill Vision to save the universe — Thanos managed to turn back time, stealing the Mind Stone and leaving behind the fractured, empty husk that was once Vision. Wanda then seemingly met her own, sudden end when Thanos used the combined power of the Infinity Stones to suddenly eliminate half of all life in the universe.

And yet, that wasn’t the end for Marvel’s Scarlet Witch. In Endgame, Marvel’s heroes were able to bring back everyone who had disappeared due to Thanos’ snap for one final battle with the cosmic villain, and Wanda was among the returning heroes. Of all the Avengers, she came the closest to beating Thanos, showcasing how powerful she can be when she leans into her abilities.

Thanos’ defeat didn’t result in Vision’s return, though, and Wanda was among the many mourners shown in the final moments of Endgame, hoping that those they lost somehow know that the battle was eventually won.

So… what’s going on?

Given that Vision is no longer among the living, there’s plenty of mystery surrounding his presence in WandaVision. Marvel is playing coy about how Wanda and Vision have reunited in the series, and previews suggest that there’s a much deeper, darker story behind how the pair ended up in the little suburban town of Westview.

Various theories suggest that the pair’s latest adventure could be some manifestation of Wanda’s telepathic powers, possibly tied to the trauma she suffered during the battle with Thanos, or that their experiences could be tied to Vision’s connection to the Mind Stone. At this point, however, it’s all a mystery — one that’s certain to prompt no small amount of speculation as each episode is released.

Marvel’s WandaVision premieres Friday, January 15, on streaming service Disney+.

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