Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness star Elizabeth Olsen confirmed what fans had suspected about some issues with her character in the MCU sequel.
Since the Infinity Saga came to an end, Olsen’s Scarlet Witch has been a major focus of a number of projects set within the super-powered canon.
After the character got her own series in Disney+’s WandaVision, she took a controversial villainous turn in Doctor Strange 2, something that “shocked” Olsen upon her finding out.
This quick antagonistic flip proved divisive amongst fans, especially coming off the redemptive arc that seemed to take place during WandaVision, leaving many to wonder if the Multiverse of Madness writer had even seen the character’s Disney+ series.
Elizabeth Olsen Proves Wanda Fans Right
After months of speculation, Scarlet Witch actress Elizabeth Olsen proved some fans right, revealing that the Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness writers had not seen WandaVision when writing the Multiversal blockbuster.
Speaking with Vanity Fair, Olsen remarked that during the production of the Doctor Strange sequel, she asked the writers, “Do you know what we’re doing in WandaVision?” And the answer was, “No:”
“It’s a similar arc in ‘Multiverse of Madness’ that it is in ‘WandaVision.’ There could be parallel stories being told there of dealing with grief and loss. Well, I proposed that to the writers who wrote ‘Multiverse of Madness?’ [laughs]. I said, ‘Do you know what we’re doing in ‘WandaVision’? Have you seen it?’ And no, they had not seen it ’cause it wasn’t finished yet.”
This meant the actress had to “attack [some of] the same themes” and “come at it from a different point of view so that it wasn’t repetitive:”
“So I had to try and, I don’t know, play it differently, right? I had to attack the same themes in order for it to be interesting for me, I think, and potentially for the audience. I just had to come at it from a different point of view so that it wasn’t repetitive.”
This reveal is in line with what some Multiverse of Madness detractors have speculated since the release of Sam Raimi’s MCU directorial debut.
Some of Doctor Strange 2’s biggest criticisms come from this villainous turn for Wanda, who just had a redemptive arc across the nine-episode run of WandaVision before the film’s release.
This left many to believe her descent back into villainy was too quick for their tastes and was not justified after what had just happened in her Disney+ debut.
Multiverse of Madness writer Michael Waldron previously addressed this “accelerated descent into madness,” lamenting that it was “earned” because “she walked away from WandaVision with the Darkhold:”
“Yeah. I mean, it’s an accelerated descent into madness for her, but one that felt earned by the fact that she walked away from WandaVision with the Darkhold and the knowledge that she was the Scarlet Witch. The last scene of that show, their tag, is her reading the Darkhold and hearing the voices of her children.”
Waldron blamed this book of dark magic for “[getting] its hooks into [Wanda]” and “push[ing] her to her breaking point:”
“I think [in] this movie the Darkhold has got its hooks into her and really what it’s preying on and is maybe even less than her grief but her anger. Residual anger from all the trauma that she’s faced in her life. And I also think Wanda makes good points in this movie. That all these heroes are hypocrites. Stephen and these guys break the rules and they’re their heroes. She does it and she’s a villain. That doesn’t seem fair. And they push her to her breaking point and you see what happens.”
Was Wanda’s Villainous Turn Justified?
Hearing Elizabeth Olsen finally reveal what many had suspected does not justify the issues present in Multiverse of Madness, but it at least makes it all make a little more sense.
If WandaVision had never happened, then the villainous turn seen in Doctor Strange 2 might not leave quite the same feeling of whiplash that it does.
But the fact is, WandaVision did happen, and much of the tonal and emotional territory tread in the Doctor Strange sequel had already been done in a more nuanced manner in Olsen’s Disney+ series.
Despite Waldron saying this move was “true to who the comics’ version of the character is” and “where Wanda was headed in the MCU” all along, it still made the evil twist jarring.
But this is what happens with the need “to pass the baton” within the MCU. When communication is clear and everyone is up to date this kind of storytelling works because stepping on narrative toes is reduced to a minimum.