Scarlet Witch, aka Wanda Maximoff, is one of the most powerful characters in all of the Marvel Comics Universe. She has telekinetic powers, which allows her to mentally move, levitate and manipulate objects. She also has telepathy which allows her to read minds, among other things. That's just the tip of the iceberg.
In the movies, she's trying to learn how to use her powers because no one else in the MCU has them. She's also searching for how to identify with humanity with so much raw power coursing through her body. In addition, she's on a personal journey where she needs to become less human in order to become a very powerful being.
But what about Thor? He's also considered the strongest Avenger. If it was Wanda vs. Thor, who would win the battle? We've done our MCU binge-watching, and it looks like Wanda is the stronger of the two. But then Thor comes around with his mighty hammer to fight off Thanos, for example, and it's he who comes off as the strongest.
But the truth is that the debate of Wanda vs. Thor has no real answer. You can make a strong point in deference to Wanda, and while we believe deep down that she is stronger, there are plenty of arguments in the other direction as well. And besides, measuring power is, of course, totally subjective. It's not just “who would win in a fight” or “who is physically stronger,” but who has more power to change the world around them. Does Wanda fit that role?
So whether you're Team Wanda or Team Thor, read on to see why she's the strongest Avenger who has the power to outshine Thor.
20 The Origin Story of Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch/Wanda Maximoff is played by Elizabeth Olsen. She has a brother named Pietro Maximoff, aka Quicksilver, who is played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson. Their story is a little bit different in Avengers. For starters, in X-Men: Days of Future Past, Quicksilver is played by a different actor, Evan Peters. Quicksilver's role in X-Men was brief but scene-stealing. In the X-Men franchise, the twins are fathered by Magneto. Because brother and sister are considered mutants in the X-Men series, Marvel and its parent company Disney had to revise their origin story to explain their powers because X-Men is the property of Fox (this was before the merger of Disney/MCU and Fox.) The characters also needed to be mortals, as is the case in the MC universe where humans got their powers by some kind of freak accident, like Spider-Man.
The two fit in the X-Men universe because they were other-worldly, but after the Marvel and Fox merger, Fox's X-Men became part of the Marvel universe and, as a result, their Avenger series movies turned Wanda and her brother into some kind of mortals. They are not Inhumans--the race of superhumans that populate the MCU. Instead, they are referred to as 'enhanced.'
The Age of Ultron changed the origin story, with Wanda and her brother hailing from Eastern Europe. They were orphaned when they were 10 because a bomb explosion killed their parents. As a result of this ghastly event, they were only loyal to each other, grew up very close and, as a result of what was taken away from them, rebellious.
19 How Scarlet Witch Got Her Powers
As brother and sister Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver grew older, the duo volunteered to become part of H.Y.D.R.A., a terrorist organization that promised they would receive superpowers. They desired such powers in order to protect their homeland from what they perceived as the Avengers' threat. We see in Age of Ultron that the experiment failed, which left participants dead. Wanda and Pietro, however, survived and her abilities were a side effect because she was exposed to an Infinity Stone.
While Quicksilver was given lightning speed, Wanda received telekinetic and telepathic powers. She is often called "weird," especially in the comic books, and that refers to her form of telekinesis/energy projection and her capability to manipulate the bioelectrical signals in sentient beings.
She is unlike her comic book character, as she does not possess magic and is not a sorcerer. Still, the powers she received make her the strongest character in the Avengers series. Wanda then began working with Ultron, but after she turns against him and takes Ultron down (while losing her brother) with the help of the Avengers, she becomes one of their most powerful allies.
18 Explanation Of Scarlet Witch's Powers From The Source Herself
Confused over what powers Elizabeth Olsen's character have? Want a less complex answer? Well, Olsen herself explained them best. In an interview with CinemaBlend, Olsen explained that her character, Scarlet Witch, has two abilities. The first is that she can "manipulate energy" and fire it from her hands, which we saw when she was taking down the Ultron robots in Avengers: Age of Ultron. Her second ability is the fact that she can literally get into the minds of others. As she explained,
"I am able to go into someone's head, and they'd never see. They're almost like I can feel and see what they feel and see - so it's not just me manipulating them. But what I love about her is that in so many superhero films, emotions are kind of negated a bit, but for her everything that someone else could feel like their weakest moments, she physically goes through that same experience with them, which is pretty cool. So she can, if they have the biggest, darkest fear, I get to see that."
Elizabeth Olsen agrees with the entire world that her character Scarlet Witch is the most powerful superhero in the Marvel universe. But she doesn't think her character is mentally insane or troubled, or needs to be locked in a straitjacket. Instead, Olsen likened Scarlet Witch as being "overly stimulated," as she knows so much. The tragedy is she's unable to learn how to control what she knows because she has never had an authority figure or a mentor who could teach her how to use her superpowers. Her parents died when she was 10, and she only had her brother.
17 Her Telekinetic and Telepathy Powers In Detail
Wanda is endowed with telekinesis and telepathy. Telekinesis allows her to mentally move, levitate and manipulate objects. Her telekinesis is so powerful that she can break through vibranium (the same rare metal in Captain America's shield), which is how she was able to rip Ultron's primary body apart to shortcircuit Ultron's central processor.
Her psionic energy manipulation, coupled with her telekinetics, allows her to destroy or blow away the enemy. So when a foe of hers is hit with her energy, she can use her telekinesis to inflict further damage.
Wanda also has telepathy which allows her to read minds or to mentally communicate and experience memories and thoughts of others. Even more powerful, she can project her own thoughts onto others so she knows what they are thinking in advance of what they are planning to do. In this way, she was able to temporarily merge her consciousness with Ultron's. Her powers were in full force when she got into Ultron's head, which is how she was able to discover his plan to eviscerate the world. In addition, she can get into someone's mind and feel their emotions if they are near her. This was how she was able to sense her brother's death, knowing exactly how he died as if she had experienced it in the real world and in real-time.
16 Her Mental Manipulations In Detail
Wanda also has mental manipulation, which she used to combat the Avengers before she became their most powerful ally. She was able to make them recall in their minds the darkest scenarios in their past, which allowed her to subdue them. In a bigger and vast way, the ability to control other's actions allowed her to get in the heads of innumerable citizens of Sokovia to help make them evacuate the city under siege by having them "sleep walk" -- she has the power to induce sleep (as well as pain). As such, all the civilians got up and left the city. Her mental manipulation alone allowed her to reverse the effects of the Mind Stone, one of the most powerful objects in existence.
But that's not all the manipulation she can do. She can also impose fear by way of manipulating someone's mind. She puts her enemies in line by allowing them to see pure fear or emotional pain in the form of nightmarish hallucinations that end up weakening them or stunning them. She can depict in someone's mind his or her fears and other things that bring them down to their knees. She can also see what her enemy sees, and be inside the vision with them without them even knowing it. Fear manipulation is so evasive that she can weaken even someone as powerful as Thor. In this way, she is the strongest Avenger.
15 Scarlet Witch vs. Thor
Let's face it. If Thor didn't have his trusty hammer, Scarlet Witch/Wanda would have defeated him using one of her many powers, such as making Thor temporarily unworthy of Mjolnir by manipulating his memories or history. Without Mjolnir's power, the god wouldn't have enough strength to battle anyone and he would lose his invulnerability. So if it was Thor v. Scarlet Witch, Scarlet Witch would be able to fight off Thor, but only if Thor had his source of power, the Mjolnir. And since we're talking about who is actually stronger, it would be Thor, not Scarlet Witch, because she is still trying to figure out how to use her powers to maximum effect. Sorry, Wanda, but this time Thor is the stronger of the two.
Thor also has an advantage over Scarlet Witch. Thor is a Norse god while Wanda is an 'enhanced' mortal. This makes Wanda vulnerable to Thor, but only because her powers are within herself and thus are "safe."
Meanwhile, as we suggested above, without the hammer, Thor would be considerably weakened and Wanda would be able to overpower him with little effort. So say "Yeah!" to Elizabeth Olsen's character. But the truth is that the debate of Thor vs. Wanda has no real answer. You can make a strong point in deference to Wanda, and while we believe deep down that she is stronger, there are plenty of arguments in the other direction as well.
14 Infinity War A Confusing Mess Except for Scarlet Witch
Infinity War marked the 10-year anniversary of Marvel Studios. Infinity War lived up to its rumors that over 60 characters in the MCU appeared in the film. All these characters, when banded together, became an unstoppable force, but that changed when Thanos arrived, who was on the lookout to capture six Infinity Stones. With all these superheroes on board, it's hard to lose sight of them. But the one character you perk up when she appears is Scarlet Witch, and that's because she's mesmerizing. While we have outlined Scarlet Witch's powers before, here's a compendium of what she has done so far using them, according to Screen Rant.
"[W]e have seen her use her telekinesis to rip Ultron's robots apart, pull Ultron's heart out of his chest, throw Captain America through a second story window, pull poisonous gas out of the CDC building and dispose of it in the air, and throw Black Widow and Black Panther at two separate points during the airport battle."
She can also fly, stop bullets from her force fields, and can move an explosion to a less-populated area. What else can she do? Who will she eviscerate next? Will she ever get over Vision and her brother?
13 She Is The Only One Who Can Take Down Ultron
Ultron is pure evil and is impenetrable. He's a robot in nature, and due to his vibranium body, his armor of indestructible metal, makes him powerful. In The Age of Ultron, Ultron was in Sokovia where he has used whatever was left of vibranium to build a machine to lift a large part of the capital city skyward, intending to crash it into the ground to cause global extinction. So that's what the Avengers are up against, and they are having a hard time to defeat him. Even Captain America, with his vibranium shield, can't subdue him. But the one mortal Ultron fears is Scarlet Witch because his vibranium armor is helpless against her powers. She then is the most powerful Marvel character at this juncture. Hurray!
Since her introduction, Wanda has displayed abilities including telekinesis, telepathy, and energy manipulation, like the creation of force fields and bolts of energy. These are strong elements that no one in the MCU can come close to. In the comic books, she possesses witchcraft and magic. But in the movies, her powers are definitely different. She has mental powers, not mystical ones. In this way, she's the one who ends up fighting off Ultron. She eviscerates Ultron sentries and she short-circuits the core processor that controls him, destroying the indestructible vibranium. She is so powerful because she's able to destroy an Infinity Stone, due to her connection to the Mind Stone, which first had given Wanda her powers.
12 Scarlet Witch May Be Most Complex Character In Avengers Series
Scarlet Witch was created by comic book legends Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. They are the force behind some of the best superhero franchises in comic book history, and created the characters Thor, X-Men, Hulk, Iron Man, and Fantastic Four. Here's Lee on his take of Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver.
“I remember that I liked (Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch) very much and I thought it would be fun to have villains who aren’t really bad deep down. We already had a reluctant hero with Spider-Man so I thought it would be fun to create a pair of reluctant villains. . . I had big plans for Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch. I wanted them to eventually give up being villains and become heroes."
That's actually what happens in the Age of Ultron. And besides, we're done with the one-note knight in shining armor. Wanda and her brother start off as evil, but eventually, they become heroes that serve the greater good. This makes them more interesting, more complex, characters.
As director Joss Whedon said: “With the [first] Avengers, everybody pretty much had the power of being able to punch somebody. And now we have a woman who can get inside your head and move objects, and a boy that can move faster than anything, and a robot [Ultron] who can self-replicate and is out of his mind. So all of sudden, it’s a darker, weirder, tougher world that they’re living in.”
But we all know that Scarlet Witch can save the day at the end of the day.
11 Strength Is Actually Her Most Powerful Asset
When we talk about Wanda being the strongest Avenger, we're referring to her awesome telekinetic and telepathic powers. But for those powers to work, Wanda has to find the strength within. It's an emotional process that has nothing to do with technological assistance or wizardry. The strength within, for example, taps into Wanda's loss of her brother and her mourning process. As a result, her powers are the strongest they have ever been. Like Bruce Banner, he can only find within himself his powers; when he's angry, he turns into the Hulk.
Wanda is the only Avenger in Infinity War who could hold back and resist Thanos. No one else came close. Hulk got tossed around by Thanos --the Mad Titan is that powerful--when it's usually the opposite. But Wanda stayed firm and succeeded in neutering Thanos by destroying the stone.
Wanda's powers are not only indefatigable but also indescribable due to the fact that there's no limit on what she can do. She may just be finding the strength within her to harness her powers in the best way, but she will become the most powerful superhero ever if she can get her hands on one of the Infinity Stones, which would make her literally invincible.
10 It's Sister and Brother Against The World
Light and dark, evil and good: these traits together make for great superheroes. As we've said, in the MCU, Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch were cast-offs from Eastern Europe, where they grew up, and were scared and alone. According to an interview in E!, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, who played Quicksilver said,
“They’re gypsies in a way. . . They’re sort of like travelers." Taylor-Johnson went on to say, "His power---he’s physical and she’s psychological. My character is very much on the frontline, but he can be quite emotional. You see this beautiful tenderness between them.”
The twins harbor a secret grudge against the Avengers. They are filled with rage because they lost their family, and that rage makes them more powerful, as Wanda can harness the rage within her and warp reality. Their lack of family and any other connection to the world fuels their rage.
As Whedon puts it, “I’m interested because there’s familial issues with that kind of resentment. You can sort of go deeper and I can play with their relationships and I can play with attitudes. Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver hate them with a fiery hate…”
But they love each other. As Taylor-Johnson said, “He’s like the father figure and she’s like the mother figure. Emotionally, she can stabilize him, and he protects her physically, vice-versa. So they have this beautiful connection and it’s kind of them against the world.”
Or, since Scarlet Witch is so powerful, it's she against the world.
9 Thor's Hammer Allows Him To Do The Impossible
Every time Thor fights in MCU films, notably The Avengers, Thor: The Dark World, and Avengers: Age of Ultron, he does so almost exclusively while wielding Mjolnir.
In the first Thor movie, Thor attacked the Frost Giants without orders from his father, Odin. Odin then banished Thor to earth. As for the hammer, Odin also casts a powerful enchantment on it, which reads,
“Whosoever holds this hammer, if he be worthy, shall possess the power of Thor.”
Thor then spends most of the movie as a mortal. Because he's still deemed unworthy, he fights like a human and is vulnerable to attacks. But of course, Thor becomes worthy again, as the movie would've been a bore without showcasing Thor wielding his trusty hammer. With Mjolnir, his natural strength and agility are enhanced to the extent that he’s basically invulnerable. He becomes what he used to be, a Norse god. We watch him fling Mjolnir as a projectile weapon, and using it to battle those who are against him. We also see him flying as fast as Superman when using the hammer.
In this sense, then, Wanda outshines Thor because Thor became human. Sure, it was only for a little time, but Wanda's powers cannot be taken away from her. As for Thor, once he loses the hammer, he's a goner.
8 worthy of a king
You can see how powerful Mjolnir is, and how much Thor needs it, because that's what he uses to defend himself or fight someone, which is why the hammer is on full display in MCU's The Avengers, Thor: The Dark World, and Avengers: Age of Ultron. The hammer makes him superhuman, as he uses it to crush his enemies. With the hammer, his natural strength, his agility, his ability to control the weather and channel electric energy and his capability of flying at extreme speeds make him invulnerable.
Thor lost Mjolnir in Thor: Ragnarok, but at the end of the film, it seems he doesn't need it because he has remained powerful without any sort of aids. But when he appears in Infinity War, Thor's plotline involves getting his hands on Stormbreaker, a new hammer, which he says he needs in order to destroy Thanos, and which he also locates. We see Thor's new weapon in action in Infinity War, and in the words of Eitri the Dwarf King, Stormbreaker the battle-ax is “a weapon worthy of a king.” Or a god, as the weapon is more powerful than Mjolnir because it can channel lightning even greater than the Mjolnir. The Stormbreaker, made of indestructible metal, was strong enough to pierce Thanos' armor and remain invincible from a blast from the Infinity Gauntlet.
7 Does Scarlet Witch Outshine Thor?
In Infinity War, the Guardians and the Avengers only came close to defeating Thanos twice. The Avengers tried to remove the Infinity Gauntlet from Thanos' hand. But Thanos managed to free himself before the Avengers could remove the Gauntlet.
Of course, the movie had a dazzling list of superheroes such as Black Panther and Scarlet Witch, but neither was successful in attacking Thanos. He was so powerful that he cast them aside and then took the final Infinity Stone from Vision, thereby making him have unlimited power. Thor even helped out, but Thanos blasted him with his now-complete Infinity Gauntlet. Then Thor fought him, but his attack nearly killed him.
Thanos was able to restore his powers with the Infinity Gauntlet. But Thor was the most powerful of the Avengers because, in the past, the only other time one of our heroes came close to stopping Thanos was when Thor attacked him in Wakanda.
About Wakanda. It is the name of a fictional African nation in the Marvel universe, and is home to the world's only natural source of the super powerful metal vibranium, which is used in Captain America's shield and in Vision's body. (Wakanda would later appear in MCU's The Black Panther movie).
Wakanda was invaded by the Black Order and the army of Outriders. But the Outriders were far more superior when the Avengers tried to stop the fight. But then Thor arrived with his Stormbreaker just at the right moment to fight, yelling "Bring Me Thanos!"
So, in this scene, Thor outshines Scarlet Witch because he almost reduced Thanos to smithereens. Scarlet Witch had no chance. Sorry, Wanda, but this war's star was Thor.
6 Vision vs. Hawkeye: Who Will Wanda Save?
Brock Rumlow, seeking revenge against Steve Rogers and Sam Wilson, revealed the way he would eviscerate Captain America by detonating a bomb to take out him and anyone else in his proximity. Wanda Maximoff saved Captain America’s life from the bomb by using her powers to move the bomb into the sky. But, as we know, Wanda finds it hard to control her powers in the way she wants because she has not undergone training of any sort and has to figure out what they can do. So, unfortunately, it explodes near the top story of an apartment building, taking out several innocent people. This is a tragedy, for sure, but at least the bomb didn't land in a crowd-filled space, which would've been worse as the bomb would've taken down hundreds of civilians.
Vision and Hawkeye battle it out until Wanda arrives; she knows she needs to help Hawkeye, but she remains conflicted. But she does end up helping Hawkeye by opening a ball of energy, thus saving Hawkeye. Vision finds himself unable to move because his powers aren't as strong as Wanda's, and Wanda uses that energy ball to consign Vision to the center of the earth. In the end, Wanda proves she's the strongest Avenger because she's able to defeat Vision.
5 We Know She Has Outshined Everyone Because She Got Her Own Superhero Get-Up
Having initially been introduced in the mid-credits scene of 2014's Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Scarlet Witch's walk-on turned her into a major character in 2015's Avengers: Age of Ultron. In Captain America: Civil War, we see her just beginning to understand her powers and get used to her abilities. We learn how she can control inanimate objects, how to control and contain battles, as well as how to use her mind control and her power of suggestion.
As we said above, what makes Scarlet Witch so dangerous is that she's the only superhero with the ability to destroy an Infinity Stone. This makes her the strongest Avenger, and leaves Thor in the dust.
In The Winter Soldier, Scarlet Witch lacks a proper costume and looks like any other human with her red street clothes that she uses for most of the film. But she's still a superhero, especially when she realizes that Ultron's goal is to decimate the entire world. Then she and her brother become allies to the Avengers, and here's why she's so cool. During the battle with Ultron, Wanda plays a major role because she's able to destroy Ultron's "prime body" after he kills her brother, Pietro. At the end of the movie, she stands alone and becomes one of the newest Avengers, which we know because she is wearing a brand new superhero costume. That's all she gets for defeating Ultron? What, is the costume from H&M?
4 Her Mental Tools Can Fail Her
In Captain America: Civil War, Scarlet Witch's powers have clearly grown, and it seems she has overcome her inability to control them. But keep in mind that her powers are mental, not mystical.
Avengers: Age of Ultron showcased Wanda's telepathy while Civil War revealed her use of telekinesis. That's why she uses hand-gestures all the time, as telekinetics use them to focus their concentration.
But has she really mastered her skill set? In the movie, Wanda uses her telekinesis to restrain an explosion from Crossbones, and casts him into the air. In a different movie--maybe one from DC Comics!-- that would be it, but Marvel movies are more complex, and we learn that her attempts can backfire, as the explosion exerts too much force. As a result, her telekinetic field breaks and she looks powerless. She is clearly not some mutant or god, as Wanda blames herself for what happened. In this scene, Wanda showcases her human side and even becomes relatable to the audience when Captain America comforts her. She's at her most vulnerable at this point.
Of course, Scarlet Witch recovers, but it's a nice touch in the film that gives us a pause from all those action and fight scenes.
3 Olsen's Background Made It Easy For Her To Play Scarlet Witch
The reason the talented Elizabeth Olsen can play Scarlet Witch to a fault is because, like her comic counterpart, she's fiercely independent. She is the younger sister of Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, perhaps the most influential designers in the fashion role. While the twins had straight-to-video films, Olsen also wanted to be an actress. At 7, the precocious star gave up acting so as not to resemble her sisters' path. But acting was in her blood. At the same time, she felt she needed to do something on her own, to differentiate herself from her sisters. So she took ballet lessons and her teachers considered her extremely talented. She wasn't ashamed of her famous last name, but she did try to hide it by dropping it in high school. She did not want anything handed to her.
She also studied acting at the best places. She attended New York University's prestigious Tisch School of the Arts. In 2009, Olsen spent a semester studying in Moscow at the Moscow Art Theatre School through the MATS program at the Eugene O'Neill Theater Center. After that, she earned two understudy Broadway roles after studying in the Atlantic Theater Company conservatory program. That classical training would prove well when it was time for her to act.
2 She Received Numerous Accolades For Her First Starring Role
It was not until she was 22, in 2011, that Elizabeth Olsen finally landed her first role. She played the titular character in the critically-acclaimed movie Martha Marcy May Marlene.
Martha Marcy May Marlene was such a critical success that the movie received several accolades. It won the U.S. Directing Award for Best Drama at the Sundance Film Festival. Olsen also won Best Breakthrough Performance at the Alliance of Women Film Journalists, as well as several more!
It was the success of Marcy that led her to be cast in more movies, and which ultimately paved her way later in life in 2014 to land in a Marvel Cinematic Universe movie. She had an uncredited cameo in Captain America: Winter Soldier, but she followed that with a starring role in Avengers: Age of Ultron, which she played Scarlet Witch/Wanda Maximoff. Her character became more essential in Avengers: Age of Ultron, and now the whole world knows who she is. She was perfect for the MCU because of her knowledge of ballet and dance; in the Marvel films, she has to do a lot of acrobatic stunts and fights, and she did so naturally. In the end, she took her character to another level and is now the iconic Scarlet Witch.
1 Wanda And Vision Have A Doomed Relationship
Back in Captain America: Civil War, there's a hint of fondness between Wanda and Vision. This seems natural because they are both tethered together by the Mind Stone. Having to destroy the Mind Stone so that Thanos wouldn't go after it, in the process she has to kill Vision, thereby making her alone and vulnerable like the time when her brother died. There is such tragedy in this scene and makes these superhero characters more like us, those who can emote. But Vision doesn't stay dead for long.
Thanos uses the Time Stone--which can manipulate time in every possible way--to reverse Vision's death so he could collect the Mind Stone himself.
When Wanda unleashes her power on Vision, the effect is mesmerizing and is not only imbued with emotion but also pure power. It's character conflict at its best. All in all, Scarlet Witch comes out of Captain America: Civil War as one of the most powerful of the Avengers, and easily one of the most fascinating.
Now that we're at the end of our list, it's clear that Scarlet Witch is strong, but pitting her against Thor causes a lot of controversies. There's no one answer, and it'll be hard to try, but remember that all of this is subjective, as well as something that should not be taken seriously. We're just having fun!
Sources: Wiki, ScreenRant, EW