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Elizabeth Olsen stands by the Scarlet Witch’s MCU evolution

Wanda Maximoff’s come a long way from Sokovia

Elizabeth Olsen as the Scarlet Witch.
Image: Marvel

Though the would-be Sorcerer Supreme may have top billing in Marvel’s Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, it’s likely that a significant number of people will be showing up for Elizabeth Olsen’s Wanda Maximoff. It’s been years since Wanda was first introduced in Avengers: Age of Ultron, and her path from Sokovia to the multiverse has been long and winding. But in Olsen’s mind, her character’s journey has been a powerful one.

Before WandaVision, Wanda Maximoff was still a supporting character in the MCU and a far cry from her comic book counterpart: a powerful witch who first joined the Avengers just months after being introduced as an X-Men villain. Wanda’s sitcom revealed the magical origins of her chaotic powers with a story about how grief can warp a person’s relationship with reality, and, afterward, it was genuinely fascinating to wonder how the Scarlet Witch would factor in to Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.

During a recent Multiverse of Madness press event, Olsen opened up about the connective tissue between WandaVision and the Doctor Strange sequel — and how Wanda’s evolution from mere psychic to mythical witch began with her magically enslaving a town. Wanda’s actions as of late haven’t exactly been heroic, but Olsen stood by her and said that she thinks of the character’s arc as a consistent one.

“My biggest goal for everything is to play the lawyer to my character and to defend, defend, defend,” Olsen said. “Whether or not their greatest strength is their greatest weakness, wherever they’re coming from or whatever they’re processing, my goal is to just defend their perspective.”

Two variants of Wanda Maximoff.

Wanda’s perspective was one of the more questionable things left looming by WandaVision’s finale that saw her finally come to grips with the villainy of what she’d done to Westview, New Jersey. Setting Westview’s residents free meant undoing the hex that gave birth to Wanda’s twin sons and the facsimile of Vision she’d been living in domestic bliss with. Though WandaVision turned Wanda into the Scarlet Witch, it did so by putting her through the existential ringer not unlike the years-long editorial hell Wanda faced in the comics after depowering the world’s mutants.

Between the compounded traumas of losing her husband and sons and being tricked into believing that her dead brother had been resurrected, so much had happened to Wanda by WandaVision’s finale that her return in Multiverse of Madness might almost seem premature. But Olsen was quick to explain how, in her mind, Wanda’s been in a constant state of processing larger-than-life emotions basically from the moment she joined the MCU. It’s a key part of each of the Wandas, new and old, she portrays in the new movie.

“Even in WandaVision — really all of the films I’ve gotten to do — she’s constantly straddling this line and usually her biggest emotive losses or griefs are when something’s born,” Olsen said. “That’s kind of been the trend, and I do think we get to further that in this film, which is something that I’m happy about.”

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is in theaters now.