Though she certainly has her fair share of fans, for people who don’t really follow comic books, Scarlet Witch wasn’t really a well known figure for a long time. Even if you have never read a single comic book in your life, chances are you know about the huge superheroes like Superman and Batman and even Captain America, but Scarlet Witch is a bit more obscure. However, thanks to her role in The Avengers franchise, where she is played by the gorgeous Elizabeth Olsen, the Scarlet Witch – or Wanda Maximoff, whatever you prefer – is becoming a much more recognizable figure in the comic book universe.
And, frankly, it’s about time. While there are a few great female superheroes and supervillains, in general, the comic book universe is dominated by men, so it’s nice to see a powerhouse woman stepping into a bigger role. Additionally, Scarlet Witch is just a really cool character in general – she has a fascinating backstory, and has powers that are very different from other superheroes. The more you learn about her, the more you’ll want to learn about her, and we wouldn’t be surprised if her rising popularity eventually leads Marvel studios to give her a few flicks to lead based on some of Scarlet Witch’s old comic book plotlines.
It would take a fair bit of adaptation for the screen, though, because she’s definitely had some… interesting adventures over the years. Here are 15 things you may not have known about Scarlet Witch.
15. She Had An Incestuous Relationship With Her Brother
Okay, this just goes to prove that comic books aren’t just all battle scenes and insane origin stories – they have a fair bit of drama, and sometimes, a fair bit of controversy. The Scarlet Witch/Quicksilver pairing definitely exemplifies that. Now, everyone knows that twins have a kind of connection that many other siblings don’t have – after all, they shared a womb for nine months! However, the relationship between the Maximoff twins is, well, a little bit closer than most people would be comfortable with. They’ve both had romantic storylines with other characters in the comic book universe, but there’s also a few mentions of their relationship in which it takes a step further than the typical sibling bond. The writers likely created the controversy to showcase just how strange their upbringing was, and the affect it had on the two of them, but nonetheless – this definitely wasn’t a storyline that many fans found easy to stomach.
14. She’s Been On Several Teams Over The Years
For the most part, many heroes and villains tend to work alone – they have unique skills and unique motivations, so bringing another person into the mix doesn’t always make sense. However, every now and then, superheroes or supervillains will join forces in an attempt to accomplish a common goal – or defeat a common foe. No one knows this better than Scarlet Witch, who has surprisingly been a part of many teams. The most well known, obviously, is her participation in the Avengers, which most people who saw the blockbuster hits will be familiar with. She was also a member of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants for awhile, the Lady Liberators, the West Coast Avengers, the Defenders, and Force Works. It seems that, while she has a unique set of powers, she doesn’t mind working with a team – at least that’s what her track record proves. Of course, she also has no issues tearing a team apart if need be, but that’s another story.
13. She’s Been Both A Hero And A Villain
Most comic book characters fall into one of two camps – they’re either a hero working for good, or a villain working for evil. Sure, some heroes can have negative qualities, and some villains can be charming and even likeable, but for the most part, they remain on one side of the fence. Scarlet Witch is a little bit different. She made her premiere in 1964, in an X-Men comic, as a member of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Scarlet Witch wasn’t a happy member of the group, but since Magneto helped her out at one point in her life, she felt obligated to be a part of his evil squad. One of Scarlet Witch’s biggest personal struggles is her emotional instability and the fact that her powers are quite volatile, so as a result, she’s moved between the heroes and villains over the years – which, frankly, just makes her even more interesting!
12. Her Powers Were Primarily Taught, Not Natural
When it comes to superpowers, many characters are different. Some were born mutants with certain powers, some gained their powers through an incident or event, but generally, they’re something that the character has and needs to learn how to deal with. Scarlet Witch’s powers work a little bit differently. While many assume that she was born with her powers, she actually learned witchcraft by a sorceress. She has a natural ability to create hex spheres, but without knowing witchcraft, she wouldn’t have been able to do much with her power because, well, she wouldn’t be able to channel it to create or destroy anything. With her knowledge of witchcraft, however, she can do everything from cause objects to explode to telekinetically moving things to shooting straight up energy blasts from her hands. Even with her training, though, she sometimes struggles to control her strange power, which sets her apart from many other heroes who have no trouble adjusting and really don’t have to learn anything about their powers when they get them.
11. She Once Wiped Out All Mutants With Three Simple Words
Scarlet Witch has been involved in her fair share of insane storylines, but this is one of the most interesting of them all. In an event called “House of M,” she decides to re-shape the world with her powers in order to make mutants the dominant race, rather than having to hide their powers from regular humans. Several groups including the X-Men and the Avengers debate whether she needs to be exterminated in order to prevent more damage, and after a crazy battle, Scarlet Witch utters three little words – “no more mutants.” As a result, everything is restored to where it was before, and approximately 90% of the mutants on earth lose their abilities. It’s a spell that was insanely complex, one that not many heroes or villains would be able to do – but she did it effortlessly. It was a fascinating storyline, but it also just proves how incredible her powers truly are.
10. In Some Versions, Magneto Is Her Father
Like many other heroes and villains, Scarlet Witch’s parentage is a little bit complicated, to say the least. When she was a child, she was adopted by the Maximoff family, from who she gets her last name. However, they aren’t her biological parents – she was actually the product of the union between a woman named Magda and Magneto. Magda is terrified that Magneto will harm her children in some way, so she escapes and heads to a remote location to give birth. Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver are raised by, well, a pretty interesting nanny (we’ll get to that later), and eventually adopted by the Maximoff family. There have been interesting storylines that add a bit of complexity to the situation and question whether Magneto is truly her father, but there’s no denying that many fans believe he is – and that’s quite the backstory! It also adds complexity to the plot line where Magneto rescues her when she’s almost killed for being a witch.
9. In The Comics, She Wears A Wimple
In the film universe, Scarlet Witch has a pretty fantastic costume – she rocks fairly regular clothes, kind of a witchy, punk look. However, in the comic book world, she has a definite costume – a striking red, figure-hugging bodysuit with a wimple. What, exactly, is a wimple? It’s the particular headdress that nuns wear. Yep – that thing she rocks on her head isn’t a headband or a helmet or a partial mask, it’s the same garment that nuns wear in white under their habit. We don’t ever really learn about the significance of the wimple and why Scarlet Witch’s crime fighting outfit includes one, but we can see why they might hesitate to bring that to the screen when the movie version of Scarlet Witch came to life – it may be a bit of a tough sell for religious fans, given its link to nuns’ habits. Even in her costume choices, Scarlet Witch is just a bit different from the others.
8. She Had (And Lost) Twins
Most people have heard the saying that having twins is something that runs in the family, and that was certainly true with the Maximoff family. Wanda Maximoff obviously has a twin brother, the superhero Quicksilver, but Scarlet Witch carried on the twin gene by having two boys of her own with then partner the Vision. The plotline surrounding her children is complicated, to say the least, but we’ll try to sum it up – basically, her twin boys have small bits of the demon Mephisto’s essence in them, and when he decides to take back that essence, it instantly kills the children. The storyline was obviously a traumatic part of Scarlet Witch’s development, and was one of the big tragedies in her character’s life. It just goes to prove how the Marvel world is a dangerous place for children – it seems something terrifying is always happening to them, whether it’s a genetic mutation forced upon them or just someone trying to straight up kidnap or harm them.
7. She Was Raised By A Cow Until The Maximoff Family Adopted Her
Okay, remember how we said that Scarlet Witch had a very interesting nanny growing up? Well, we don’t just mean someone whose child-rearing strategy was a bit unorthodox – she was straight up raised by a cow. Kind of, at least. You see, a figure called the High Evolutionary was experimenting with crafting a new species of animal-human hybrids. He created Bova, an evolved form of cow who was supposed to nurture and care for his other hybrid creations. The nurturing figure proved her strengths by caring for two twins that were abandoned in the Wundagore Mountains. Eventually, the Maximoff family adopts the twins and a new chapter in their life begins, but still – the mere thought of being raised by a strange cow-human hybrid merits mentioning, because that’s a pretty unique way to start life off. We wonder if the Maximoff twins ended up becoming vegetarians after having a cow as a maternal figure – it would certainly make it tough to chow down on a steak!
6. Elizabeth Olsen Helped Choreograph Her Finger Movements In The Movies
Everyone who has seen any of the recent films featuring Scarlet Witch knows that Elizabeth Olsen has done a fantastic job with the character. It’s a complex role to play, and she pulls it off with finesse, bringing Wanda Maximoff to life on the big screen. One of her most distinctive features is her incredible finger movements – Olsen showcases Scarlet Witch’s powers with graceful, deft finger movements that definitely seem enchanting and like they would have some magic to them. Since it’s such an important part of the Scarlet Witch’s character, Olsen had some help crafting those movements – she worked with Jenny White, a British dancer, who helped Olsen learn how to isolate her fingers and create magical movements that the special effects team could use as a base for Scarlet Witch’s powers. You would never have thought of a dancer teaching finger movements, but they’re experts at all types of movement, so it kind of makes sense to call upon their skill.
5. She Was Strong Enough To Entirely Disassemble The Avengers
Scarlet Witch is often overlooked, but the woman has some seriously insane powers, as a writer wanted to showcase. Marvel writer Brian Michael Bendis was granted the lead role on the Avengers comics, and he decided that he wanted a storyline that destroyed the team before building it back up again – and he did just that. However, it was later revealed that all those crazy events that led to the destruction of the Avengers were orchestrated by the Scarlet Witch herself. Readers eventually learn that all her actions were because she was being influenced by other supervillains, but nonetheless, when you consider how strong and powerful each member of the Avengers is separately, it’s absolutely incredible that she was able to tear them apart single-handedly. Seriously – people don’t always give Scarlet Witch the credit that she’s due. She’s an absolute badass!
4. Stan Lee And Jack Kirby Created Her Character
There are (and have been) a ton of writers working in the Marvel universe. I mean, the comics have been going on for decades, with tons of different characters and storylines and series. It’s one of the reasons that there’s essentially an endless supply of material for potential Marvel movies – there are just so many rich storylines and fascinating characters in the comics themselves to work with. While some of the most memorable characters were crafted by random writers, there’s one writer/artist team in particular that is the stuff of legends – we’re talking about Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. Everyone who knows even the slightest bit about comics knows who the legendary Stan Lee is. That particular team crafted characters like Thor, Iron Man, and the Hulk, so it’s safe to say that they know what they’re doing. The fact that Scarlet Witch is their creation just proves she’s a character to be reckoned with.
3. She Was Once Married To The Vision
The comic book world has its fair share of strange, baffling, and downright unbelievable romances, so it almost makes sense that Scarlet Witch had her own relationship drama. At one point she was romantically linked to her twin brother Quicksilver, as we previously discussed, but she was also paired up with the Vision for a while. The two even get married and have twin sons! However, there’s the storyline that ends up with her children dead, which is traumatic for her. And then, of course, there’s the fact that the Vision gets tangled up in a storyline where his emotional patterns are removed, which means he isn’t able to return Scarlet Witch’s love. There’s nothing quite as miserable as one-sided love, so things eventually unravel between the two of them. However, it’s rare that couples in the comic book universe get their own solo title together at any point, so even though it may seem like a minor pairing, it’s actually quite significant.
2. She Had A Dark Lord’s Essence Insider Her For Decades
The more you find out about Scarlet Witch, the more you realize what a crazy, twisted life she’s led throughout the years – and this fact is no different. You see, when Wanda was born, an ancient demonic sorcerer placed some of his essence within her – that’s where she gets her ability to manipulate reality. She had to train herself, but it’s a result of that evil essence. Eventually, the Avengers, Quicksilver, and their adoptive father join forces to defeat the evil being that infused Scarlet Witch with his essence at her birth, and they free her from his influence. Since those ties were severed later in her life, she already had enough magic stored up within her, so eliminating the sorcerer didn’t mean that she lost all her powers. It just goes to prove how complex her powers are – while other heroes are just given some type of ability thanks to laboratory experimentations or genetic powers, Scarlet Witch’s powers are a bit different in origin.
1. She’s Not Actually A Mutant
It just gets more and more complicated! The problem in the comic book world is that some characters live on for a long time and appear in a variety of different comics, so at certain points their storyline ends up contradicting things that happened to them in the past – and this is one of those cases. In a Marvel crossover event, Axis, the Maximoff twins make the discovery that they are really just regular humans who were kidnapped by the High Evolutionary when they were young. The High Evolutionary then did some genetic experimentation on them and manipulated their genes, but eventually returned them to the Maximoff family when he wasn’t able to achieve what he had set out to do. As they grew up, their powers began to emerge, and people in the town they were living in just made the assumption that their powers meant they were mutants – when in actuality, their powers are a bit more complicated and not necessarily mutations.