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In the months leading up to the Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness premiere, fans passed around numerous fan theories regarding the movie’s villain. Marvel kept quiet on the film’s Big Bad, so they were of no help. And it wasn’t until fans traveled to theaters to see Doctor Strange 2 that they found out the Scarlet Witch was the villain.

Elizabeth Olsen, who plays Scarlet Witch in 'Doctor Strange 2,' wears a red and white hoodie as red magic swirls around her and chokes her.
Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch | Marvel Studios

Scarlet Witch was the main antagonist of ‘Doctor Strange 2’

The Doctor Strange sequel began with America Chavez on the run from someone who wanted to steal her power. America had the ability to travel between universes. Her journey quickly led her to the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Doctor Strange. Stephen then went to Wanda Maximoff for help, but he quickly realized something was wrong with the Avenger. The Darkhold had manipulated her mind, and the Scarlet Witch was the one who wanted America’s power.

Doctor Strange refused to hand America over to Wanda just so that she could kill her, take her abilities, and then reunite with her children, Billy and Tommy, in another universe. So a fight and a chase throughout the multiverse ensued. And the Scarlet Witch killed anyone who got in her way in Doctor Strange 2.

Wanda realized the Darkhold’s influence over her at the end of the MCU movie, so she destroyed every copy of the book in the multiverse. She also seemingly sacrificed her life when she went down with Mount Wundagore. After fans saw how the Scarlet Witch’s story played out in Doctor Strange 2, many were unhappy with Marvel’s direction for the character. Some fans believed that her dark turn was rushed and didn’t make sense.

Michael Waldron defended the choice to make Wanda the villain in the MCU movie

While speaking with The Wrap, Doctor Strange 2 writer Michael Waldron explained Marvel’s decision to turn the Scarlet Witch over to the dark side.

“We were excited about the idea of making her the primary antagonist in the film because it felt like there was no stronger antagonist,” he said. “And it felt like to have her as just a member of an ensemble only to turn bad at the end would actually be shortchanging both versions of that journey. You’d get maybe a lousy version of her fall from grace. And also maybe a lousy version of her being a villain, as opposed to the really fun version of her being the villain.”

Waldron added, “There’s the feeling that the door had been open for us. She opened the Darkhold at the end of WandaVision, and that’s the Book of the Damned. So it was there for the taking.”

“My feeling was that WandaVision pushed her to the place where she reckoned with this grief, but maybe what she hadn’t reckoned with was her anger over all of it, and that was something that I discussed with [Elizabeth Olsen],” the writer concluded. “And I think that that’s what the Darkhold seized on, was that anger, and that really clouds Wanda’s decision-making.”


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The ‘Doctor Strange 2’ writer’s comments don’t inspire hope for the Scarlet Witch’s future

Part of fans’ problem with the Scarlet Witch’s story in Doctor Strange 2 is the ending. At the end of the film, Wanda seemingly dies, which doesn’t sit right with many people. And while some are hopeful that she survived, Michael Waldron’s interview with The Wrap points to a more tragic ending for the character.

“There isn’t always a fully satisfying ending to the entire audience, especially when you have a villain that everybody loves and cares about,” the writer said. “The ending, in a lot of ways, is probably going to be sad, and it’s a tragedy. But I hope what was satisfying is the feeling that that at the end of this thing, you do see Wanda break free of the Scarlet Witch’s hold on her, of the Darkhold.”

Waldron continued, “But I also am grateful that she admits — and this is important to all of us, especially Lizzie — that she opened the Darkhold. She takes responsibility for what she did. And then she makes a sacrifice to hopefully make sure it doesn’t happen to another Wanda elsewhere in the multiverse.”

Anything is possible in the MCU, so it’s plausible that Elizabeth Olsen will play the Scarlet Witch in the future once again.

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