There is a war coming. Avengers: Infinity War will arrive in 2018 after an 18-film setup. However, the most important character in this story has never had a film of her own. When Thanos gets his finger-bling together, only the Scarlet Witch can save the universe. Here’s why.
The Scarlet Witch Is Unaware That She has Unlimited Power
She and her late brother Pietro both derived their powers from Loki’s staff (a.k.a. the Mind Stone). However, Pietro’s power to quickly move through space comes from another Infinity Stone, the Tesseract (a.k.a. the Space Stone). His blue streaks are even the same color as the Tesseract.
Wanda displays powers of several stones. The floating red Kool-Aid she creates looks similar to the Aether (a.k.a. the Reality Stone). Like the Aether, these red streaks are incredibly powerful.
They can be used as energy bolts or to obliterate an advancing army of robots. She’s also telekinetic; in Civil War she flings cars at Iron Man like they’re Micro Machines after beating the Vision in single combat. This is important to note because the Vision should be more powerful than her. After all, he has an Infinity Stone on his head. Yet, Scarlet Witch took him to the woodshed — easily.
However, her strongest powers are derived from the Mind Stone. In Age of Ultron, she systematically dismantles the Avengers — including heavy hitters Thor and Hulk — by causing them to hallucinate. She also mind controls the population of Sokovia into abandoning their bland European dinners and abandoning their homes. She is even able to override the Mind Stone’s effects on Helen Cho with a wave of her finger.
However, she twice displays manipulation of the Time Stone. In Ultron’s opening sequence, she tricks Captain America, then rewinds herself into a doorway as if she was never there. In Dr. Strange, the time stone also rewinds events. The visions she shows Thor and Tony are of apocalyptic futures. She could be using the Time Stone is revealing the future.
My conclusion is that Wanda doesn’t just derive her powers from the Reality Stone, but that she is somehow tapped into all the stones. This is why, when the time comes, she will be the only Avenger who can stop Thanos. Before she can do this, she’ll have to overcome her own emotional problems.
Her Character Arc
Wanda has had a dynamic character arc, though it’s mostly been played out in the background of two #MCU films. After early childhood trauma, she and her brother held the dogmatic belief that everything Tony Stark touched was evil. That led them to HYDRA and into a life of believing everything they were told. She and Pietro were still young and naive.
She discovers Ultron’s plan and does what was once unthinkable: joins the Avengers. This reflects her path to maturity. As a child, she saw the world in absolutes, but becoming an adult means recognizing that the world is more complicated.
She has a great character moment in the final battle. When she is hiding from battle and blaming herself, Hawkeye tells her:
"It's your fault, it's everyone's fault, who cares? Doesn't matter what you did, or what you were. If you go out there, you fight, and you fights to kill. Stay in here, you're good. I'll send your brother to come find you...But if you step out that door, you are an Avenger."
In other words, “You can stay here and be a child, or you can walk out that door and be a woman.” She embraces her powers, conquers her fear and suffers the loss of her only family, Pietro. Wanda is being forced to grow up in a hurry. Pietro’s death pushes her closer to the Avengers, and especially toward Vision.
After gaining emotional stability, she is mastering her physical abilities. The Wanda fighting in Civil War is much more focused than the neophyte in Ultron. She channels a column of poison gas into the air, and contains a powerful explosion (before screwing up and killing a bunch of people). After the mission in Lagos goes wrong, she once again blames herself for causing a disaster. She has seen what happens when individuals gain too much power, and fears the monster she could become. Things will only get worse for her in Infinity War.
What This Means For Infinity War
In the comics, Wanda is immensely powerful. She manipulates reality, creates babies out of pieces of the devil, and deleted the powers of 90 percent of all mutants. Imagine what she could do when she’s able to manipulate all six Infinity Stones without even being near them?
Thanos will gather the gems and will put them into the infinity gauntlet. (If this doesn’t happen, Marvel has spent a lot of time setting up a bait and switch.) He will kill the Vision (or at least erase his brain), which will be a further blow to Wanda’s emotional health. When she is the most broken, she will be the only Avenger who has a chance to defeat Thanos.
Why? Because Thanos will be able to wield the Infinity Stones, but Wanda is actually connected to them. She has only used this ability subconsciously, but with the right guidance (via Doctor Strange?) she could manipulate the gauntlet whether Thanos is wearing it or not.
There will be a moment when Wanda has to put aside her fears and embrace her full potential. She will have lost her parents, brother, lover and who knows how many friends, and there won’t be anyone around to give her a pep talk. She will have to stand up, walk out the door, and be an Avenger.
What role do you think Scarlet Witch will play in the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War?