This article contains significant spoilers for WandaVision Episode 7, which premiered on Disney+ earlier today.
One of the joys of Disney+’s WandaVision series, outside of it shining a spotlight on the titular two Marvel Cinematic Universe’s superheroes who have at best been supporting players in their film appearances, is searching for clues and trying to piece together potential answers to the many mysteries that the show has presented.
This week’s episode, “Breaking The Fourth Wall,” ended on a note that was a rather major reveal, in one instance shattering a number of fan theories, confirming others, generating new questions and maybe leaving those not well versed in the comic book stories that spawned the superpowered Wanda Maximoff, known in the comics by the codename of Scarlett Witch, and her synthezoid husband Vision wondering what was so important about who the revealed person is.
There will be spoilers past this point. This is your last chance to turn back.
Rather slyly, WandaVision has spent two episodes teasing SWORD Agent Monica Rambeau’s unnamed “aerospace engineer” contact who would be able to help her pierce the Hex field that Wanda has created around the town of Westview and gain access inside to try and put a stop to things. That led to a flurry of speculation with many people leaning towards the unlikely conclusion that the contact was going to be Reed Richards and this was how Marvel was going to start introducing the Fantastic Four into the MCU. And well, it didn’t.
Instead, the big character reveal in this week’s episode was that nosy neighbor Agnes is actually a witch named Agatha Harkness, something that fans of the show well-versed in their Marvel Comics minutiae were theorizing from the start of the series. (But really, “Ag”atha Hark”ness”= Agnes is not the hardest code to crack.) And as we are informed through her own theme song, a riff of the tune composer Vic Mizzy created for The Munsters TV series back in the 1960s, it was Agatha all along who has been controlling things in Westview.
Who is Agatha Harkness?
As she explains to Wanda in the closing moments of this week’s episode, Agatha “isn’t the only magical girl in town.” And in Marvel Comics lore, Agatha has been around for quite some time, having been alive for at least 500 years before Atlantis sank. She came to North America at by least the 1690s and was involved in the Salem With Trials. Nearly a century later she trained young witches to help fight in the Revolutionary War.
Harkness, created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, first appeared in 1970 in Fantastic Four #94 as a kindly older woman who Reed Richards hires as a nanny for his and Sue’s son Franklin. At first she kept her powers a secret from the superhero team, but eventually reveal them. She would continue to watch over young Franklin, while occasionally warning them of and even helping them defeat certain dangers. She also helped tutor young Franklin in the use of his powers when they started to emerge.
Sometime later, the town of New Salem, Colorado was taken over by the group of evil magic users, and Harkness’s grandchildren, Salem’s Seven. They captured Harkness and burned her at the stake, killing her. But her astral form lived on and that was how she was able to help Scarlet Witch free the town, after the Avenger discovered what was going on. The fight unleashed an enormous amount of mystical energy, some of which Wanda used to help herself become pregnant with her and Vision’s two children.
Harkness would later return to corporeal form and appear to Wanda, telling her that her children were actually created from fragments of the soul of the demon Mephisto. After Mephisto reabsorbs those fragments, essentially destroying the constructs that Wanda thought were her children, Hakness erases Wanda’s memories of them, lest they become too painful. She then started tutoring Wanda how to better use her chaos magic. After some time, Wanda regained her memory of her children. In her confrontation with Harkness about them, Wanda killed her.
Agatha And The MCU
So far, all we have seen of Agnes-as-Agatha for all of a few seconds as she reveals her true self to Wanda, so it is hard to divine her actual intentions here. Sure, her catchy theme song – written by Avenue Q and The Book Of Mormon co-writer Robert Lopez and his wife Kristen Anderson-Lopez – admits that that it was her who was controlling things all along.
But to what purpose? If she is indeed just taking on her comic book tutorial role for Wanda, her methods do not seem very benevolent. And let’s face it, anyone who would kill a dog to teach a lesson, is probably teaching something nefarious. So finding out what her ultimate goal here is likely one of the things to be addressed straight up in the next episode.
Even though she has been manipulating Wanda throughout the whole Westview anomaly, what if Agatha Harkness is not even she the show’s final big bad? Fans have been theorizing that the real baddie behind everything has been the aforementioned Mephisto. And if one wanted to still hang onto that theory, you could always point to the fly that was seen in Agnes/Agatha’s home as an indicator. Mephisto’s first comic book appearance was in the form of a fly, and the episode does make a point of featuring it in a shot as Wanda is sitting in Agnes/Agatha’s living room. Given that this seems to be the popular theory, I suspect that the show may have a different twist up its sleeve.
What we do know is that there is much to be revealed in the next two episodes of WandaVision, some of which will lead us into next summer’s Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness feature film. As to what these revelations will be, we will just need to stay tuned to find out.