I Appreciate This Abandoned Scarlet Witch Character Idea, but in a Different Film

Elizabeth Olsen as the Scarlet Witch, raising her hands while her eyes glow red. The window of Doctor Strange's Sanctum Sanctorum glows yellow behind her.

“Newly Released Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness Art Book Reveals Unused Scarlet Witch Design”

Marvel has recently unveiled “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness: The Art of the Movie,” a book filled with concept art from the 2022 film featuring Doctor Strange’s adventures across a chaotic and perilous multiverse. Among the various concept art pieces, one design idea for the character Wanda Maximoff, which went unused, is gaining attention on the internet.

In “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” Wanda takes on the role of a cold and ruthless antagonist. However, her journey to this dark path is a complex one. In the Disney+ series “WandaVision,” she starts as a well-meaning yet emotionally unstable character, inadvertently ensnaring the residents of an entire New Jersey town in an alternate reality influenced by classic sitcoms. This alternate reality even sees her and Vision living a suburban life and becoming parents to twin boys.

Fast forward to “Multiverse of Madness,” and Wanda has been corrupted by the Darkhold, an artifact she uses in an attempt to capture America Chavez, a multiverse-traveling character, and steal her powers. Wanda’s ultimate goal is to find a reality where she can be reunited with her children, and she’s willing to eliminate anyone who stands in her way, including alternate versions of herself in other realities.

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The unused character design featured in the film’s art book, created by concept artist Ian Joyner, portrays the extent of Wanda’s corruption. It incorporates the iconic Scarlet Witch crown she manifested in the “WandaVision” finale and melds it with her head. Joyner explains his concept, stating, “My idea was that her crown wasn’t just an adornment, but was actually infused with her flesh. She’s becoming the Scarlet Witch in this horrific way.”

While this concept art is undeniably captivating, it raises questions about the direction of “Multiverse of Madness.” Some fans might wish that the film had taken an entirely different approach, given the intriguing possibilities presented by this unused design.

Critiques of Wanda’s Character Development Wanda Maximoff’s character development between “WandaVision” and “Multiverse of Madness” has garnered criticism for feeling rushed and disjointed. At the conclusion of “WandaVision,” she grappled with remorse over her actions, contending with even more grief and attempting to make amends. However, by the time “Multiverse of Madness” rolls around, her transformation into a monstrous antagonist is swift, with her redemption seemingly only attainable through self-sacrifice at the film’s end. This abrupt shift left some fans dissatisfied, and even actress Elizabeth Olsen expressed her concerns about how Marvel handled her character.

What If? What if “Multiverse of Madness” had taken a more gradual and nuanced approach to Wanda’s character? What if the Darkhold’s corruption unfolded over time, creating a more satisfying and emotionally resonant story arc? Moreover, what if Wanda didn’t fully become a villain until a later phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU)? Such choices could have led to a more gratifying narrative and, if the unused concept art had been integrated, a visually stunning moment in her transformation.

Perhaps in an alternate reality within the vast multiverse, Scarlet Witch fans got the movie they wished for. In the meantime, fans can only hope that Wanda’s journey will continue in a way that does justice to her complex character.

(Note: This article was written during the 2023 WGA and SAG-AFTRA strikes, acknowledging the contributions of writers and actors.)

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