Scarlet Witch is a classic Marvel Comics character. Thanks to the MCU and WandaVision, she’s more popular than ever. As bizarre and surreal as that show is, it actually fits snugly within Wanda Maximoff’s convoluted history: She’s been repeatedly smacked with the retcon hammer as different writers have had new ideas about her parentage and what her powers actually do. Wanda has gone from pointing a finger to cast a hex (and then fainting) to becoming one of the most powerful characters in the Marvel universe.
Wanda is often defined by her relationships. First it’s her bond with her overprotective twin brother, Quicksilver. Then it’s her romance and eventual marriage to the Vision, which spans their years in the Avengers and some memorable times in the suburbs, which may have inspired aspects of WandaVision. Later on, she is shaped by her relationship to her twin sons, who may or may not actually exist. Most recently, she’s been defined by the damage she’s done to reality. Considering she’s built alternate worlds and wiped out most of mutantkind’s powers, she has a lot on her plate!
Let’s take a look at her long and ever-weirder history, and ask the big questions about this fascinating figure. Mutant or witch? Hero or villain? Chaos magic or "real" magic? These are the most mysterious corners of Scarlet Witch’s story, from all the times Wanda’s been possessed by others to her engagement to Doctor Doom.
Who’s your Daddy … and your Mommy?
Wanda and Pietro’s first origin story painted them as nameless, wandering orphans rescued by Magneto, who becomes a surrogate father. Things get complicated when Captain America’s old war buddy, Robert "Whizzer" Frank, is put into the mix. He and his deceased wife, Madeline "Miss America" Frank, had been exposed to radiation (and, in his case, superpower-inducing mongoose blood as well). As a result, their first child, Nuklo, was a radioactive mutant. When Maddy got pregnant again, they visited a super-scientist called the High Evolutionary for help. Maddy died giving birth, but the Evolutionary did manage to deliver Wanda and Pietro into Robert’s arms. However, he was too grief-stricken to raise them, and fled. He’s a speedster and Maddy was a powerful redhead — makes sense, right?
Wrong. A Romani puppeteer named Django Maximoff subsequently claims fatherhood. To prove his love, he … he imprisons Wanda and Pietro’s spirits in magical puppets. But he does later sacrifice his life for them! It is then revealed that their real mom was a woman named Magda, and their real dad is Magneto. This has major ramifications that echo for a long time. Eventually, however, Magneto is also revealed as a fake. Their real mom is currently Natalya Maximoff, the sister of Django, one in a long line of Scarlet Witches, Wanda being the most recent and powerful. Who’s their real dad? We don’t know — but we’re sure that’ll change soon.
Bane of Ultron
One of the Avengers’ greatest foes is Ultron, a murderous robot with an Oedipus complex. Yep, you read that right: A 1970s storyline sees him use his "mother’s" (Janet Pym) brain patterns to create his bride, Jocasta. He uses mind control to force his "father" (Hank Pym) to help him.
When Ultron subsequently attacks the Avengers, he has to deal with a member he hasn’t met before: the Scarlet Witch. Ultron constructed himself out of adamantium, an unbreakable metal. His body cannot be harmed in any way. However, in order to build his body in the first place, he had to use an internal "molecular rearranger," which is the only thing that can alter adamantium while it’s being set. Scarlet Witch hits him with a hex that momentarily causes the device to malfunction, but Captain America gets in the way before she can finish him off, and Ultron nearly kills both of them.
Jocasta is eventually called to her "husband," and the Avengers follow her to a convent, of all places. A trap is set for Wanda, but she survives it, and causes the molecular rearranger to malfunction so badly that all of the energy in Ultron’s armor comes blasting out. Luckily, Thor absorbs it. It is revealed that Ultron hypnotized Tony Stark in the event of his destruction, and so Ultron makes Stark reconstruct him. He also has him kidnap Wanda. Luckily, the Wasp flies in to save the day, and Ultron is trapped in adamantium.