Did the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron secretly tease mutants' existence in the MCU? Despite the gigantic role they play within Marvel Comics, mutants have been completely absent from Disney's cinematic universe, largely due to Twentieth Century Fox's longstanding ownership of the X-Men rights. But after Disney's acquisition, Marvel Studios will be tasked with explaining where mutants have been all of these years - a tall order considering they have yet to be mentioned in the franchises' many films and television series.
However, when looking to existing MCU stories that could have already hinted at the existence of mutants, Avengers: Age of Ultron stands out, particularly since the film introduced Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch, characters created for early X-Men comics. In the source material, the Maximoff twins were long-thought to be the mutant children of Magneto (though those origins were recently retconned). While the MCU's version of Quicksilver was killed off in the third act of Avengers: Age of Ultron, Wanda is still very much alive and appears to be a major player in Phase 4's evolution. Due to make her next appearance in the WandaVision series, Scarlet Witch appears to have unlocked new levels of her reality-bending powers. This particular ability, previously unexplored in the MCU, has been proven impactful in the comics' "House of M" storyline, which concluded with a distraught Wanda erasing most of the mutant population from existence.
It has long been rumored that Kevin Feige will somehow reverse-engineer "House of M" to bring mutants into the MCU. But before he does so, it will likely be necessary to answer some questions about Wanda and her past, most of which stem from Avengers: Age of Ultron. Here's how and why the second Avengers film will likely be important going forward.
Age Of Ultron Introduced Scarlet Witch's Backstory
Considering the large role she is set to play in the MCU's upcoming Phase 4, relatively little is known of Wanda's in-universe backstory. She and her brother, Pietro, are revealed to have been left orphaned after their home in Sokovia was bombed with Stark weaponry, an event that inspires the twins to volunteer for Hydra's experiments with Loki's scepter. Wanda and Pietro are the sole survivors of the experimentation and, for reasons left vague in the film, acquire superhuman abilities. However, in the recently released Wakanda Files, Shuri mentions that Hydra chose Sokovia as a testing ground for the "genetic anomalies" of its citizens - a potential hint that the twins may have been mutants with an X-gene all along. Elizabeth Olsen, who plays Wanda in the films, has teased that the upcoming WandaVision will explore the character's Sokovian roots. Therefore, it is possible that the MCU will begin filling in the gaps of Scarlet Witch's origin story, perhaps going into more detail about what made the Maximoff twins so special.
Wanda's Powers Don't Suit Her "Origin"
Scarlet Witch's powers have been notably inconsistent in both the MCU and in the comics. In Avengers: Age of Ultron, Agent Maria Hill describes Wanda's abilities as "neuro-electric interfacing, telekinesis, mental manipulation," all of which she displays during her first film. While later installments show her ability to levitate herself and using her telekinesis to go toe-to-toe with Thanos, her mind-controlling abilities are conspicuously absent after Avengers: Age of Ultron. In her earlier comic book appearances, Wanda is able to create "hex bolts," red energy bursts used to affect the probability of the events around her. Over the years, writers have greatly augmented her powers, giving her the ability to alter reality itself. Her reality-bending, as well as her great skill as a sorceress, makes her one of the most powerful figures in the Marvel universe.
The upcoming WandaVision series appears to be tapping into Wanda's reality-altering at long last. In the trailer, it appears as though she has (perhaps unconsciously) created her own pocket dimension - a reality other people have been sucked into with her. If this is something the MCU iteration of the character is truly able to do, it is possible that this isn't the first time she has changed the world around her without anyone else catching on. If that's the case, perhaps her powers have been subtly working in the background since (or before) Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Sokovia Could Be Wanda's "House Of M" Moment
In the comics' "House of M" storyline, a heartbroken and out-of-control Wanda breaks the main Marvel timeline after learning that her children, Tommy and Billy, were actually extensions of her abilities and, therefore, did not really exist. Unlike her comic book counterpart, the MCU's version of Scarlet Witch has already experienced her own enormous loss, having lost her parents, her brother, her love, and her entire country within a span of only a few years. During Avengers: Age of Ultron's climactic battle, Wanda somehow registers that her brother has been killed and unleashes a wave of telekinetic power that shreds through Ultron's approaching bots.
This moment would be a monumental one in Wanda's life but it's oddly never referenced again in her subsequent appearances. Based on what the WandaVision trailer teases about the true extent of her powers, it may be possible that this explosion of energy had some larger and more world-altering consequences than initially thought. With the Disney+ show promising plenty of odd turns and surprises, it would be a clever twist if it's revealed that the MCU's Scarlet Witch already had her M-Day, perhaps erasing a mutant population there all along or otherwise depowering them.
What's The Deal With The Mind Stone?
It may turn out that we have not seen the last of Wanda's time in Sokovia, even after the nation's (literal) fall. The second WandaVision trailer shows Wanda looking wonderingly at the Mind Stone, but close inspection may suggest that this is actually a flashback to the character's pre-Avengers: Age of Ultron days, a time in which she was still under the thumb of Hydra. First, her physical appearance is awfully similar to her cinematic debut in Captain America: Winter Soldier's mid-credits scene. Her face is uncharacteristically starved-looking, her hair is unkempt, and her gray outfit looks incredibly similar to what she was wearing during her first appearance. Furthermore, the industrial and bleak background could very well turn out to be Baron von Strucker's Sokovian base.
Then there is the Mind Stone itself, which has a blue aura surrounding it - an odd detail considering that the stone is yellow and Wanda's power signature is red. However, prior to the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron, the Mind Stone was still embedded in the blue crystal within Loki's scepter, suggesting that Wanda may have at some point removed the gem from its casing. Wanda's relationship to this particular Infinity Stone has been well-established (as the origins of her powers and her ability to destroy it), but if this is indeed a flashback scene, it is possible that some deeper connection could be revealed. In the comics, Wanda uses Professor Xavier's telepathic abilities to help bring the people of the universe into her new reality. Could the Mind Stone serve a similar role in the MCU's version of "House of M"?
Phase 4 Could Re-Introduce Mutants
If Wanda truly has the power to alter reality, she may be the one being powerful enough to bring mutants into the MCU. Further, if she is somehow responsible for their disappearance in the first place, Phase 4 may follow her journey to atone for her mistake. WandaVision is sure to come with several revelations about Scarlet Witch for the characters and viewer alike and will likely hint at her role in 2022's Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. With characters already confirmed to be crossing universes in the upcoming Spider-Man 3, it's also not out of the realm of possibility for Wanda to venture into the multiverse in search of the missing mutants.
Regardless of how their long absence is ultimately justified, mutants are surely entering the MCU and, given Wanda's comic book affiliation with the X-Men, it is likely that she will play a part in their emergence. So many years after its release, there are still some dangling plot threads left from Avengers: Age of Ultron, many of which involve Wanda. Since Kevin Feige and Marvel Studios have never shied away from re-examining previous films, don't be so sure that we've seen the last of Sokovia.
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