Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness writer Michael Waldron explains Wanda’s descent into madness that led to her actions in the film. Elizabeth Olsen returns to the role of Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch in the superhero sequel, which brings back star Benedict Cumberbatch in the lead role of Doctor Stephen Strange. Olsen first portrayed Wanda in Avengers: Age of Ultron, starting off as a villain aligned with Ultron before joining the Avengers. Wanda’s parents were killed in a bombing in Sokovia when she was a child, leaving her and her twin brother Pietro to survive on their own. The twins were experimented on by Hydra, which resulted in the release of their natural-born abilities.
Pietro was killed at the end of Age of Ultron, and sadly, his loss would not be the last one Wanda suffered. Wanda embarked on a romantic relationship with Vision (Paul Bettany), which ended in tragedy when she was forced to kill him in Avengers: Infinity War. The Disney+ series WandaVision would then explore Wanda’s grief in the aftermath of Infinity War, revealing that she created a sitcom world where Vision was alive and they had two children. However, that world eventually came crumbling down and she was forced yet again to say goodbye to the ones she loved, before once again going into hiding, this time with the Darkhold book to influence her. That paved the way for her arc in Doctor Strange 2. In Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Strange seeks Wanda out for help with America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez), who has the ability to travel through multiverses. However, it turns out that Wanda seeks Chavez’s powers in order to travel to a universe where her projected kids are real and alive, no matter the cost. In a new interview with Gizmodo, Waldron credits Wanda’s decent into madness with the trauma, pain, and residual anger that she harbors from a life of loss and sacrifice, as well as observing the hypocrisy of other heroes abusing their power.
Wanda’s actions in Doctor Strange 2, particularly her brutal and violent tactics that lead to the deaths of many heroes in multiple realities. From her attack on Kamar-Taj to her infiltration of The Illuminati, Wanda takes her darkest turn yet, taking out anyone who stands in her way of being with her children. This even prompted some to suggest that Doctor Strange 2 needed an R-rating. Another criticism is the absence of Vision in the film, as he typically acts as an anchor to Wanda and was last seen flying off in his white form at the end of WandaVision. Wanda’s journey from hero to villain is similar to that of Daenerys Targaryen on HBO’s Game of Thrones, as she seemed like a hero at the start of her journey, but took actions and made decisions that seemed contrary that were overlooked due to her charm and strength. Like Daenerys, the trauma Wanda endured was too much to bear (Ironically, Olsen tried out for the part of Daenerys, but it eventually went to Emilia Clarke). At the same time, the Darkhold’s corruption is not to be overlooked. Scarlet Witch will surely return at some point in the MCU, but what she becomes from there will be an interesting and challenging journey after the events of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.