In the opinion of Marvel star Elizabeth Olsen, the full heel turn of Wanda Maximoff from former Avenger to the murderous Scarlet Witch in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness was both “really empowering” and “very admirable.”
Olsen offered her thoughts on her character’s story arc during a recent interview with entertainment news outlet HollywoodLife.
Asked by the outlet’s Entertainment Director Avery Thompson if she was ‘satisfied’ with Wanda’s emotional and mental states at the end of the Marvel sequel, the actress confidently asserted, “I am.”
“I think somehow it needed to end where it ends at some point, and I’m curious about where we go from there,” she added.
Turning to the topic of the Illuminati-shredding, Kamar-Taj-inhabitant-torturing Wanda herself, Olsen explained to Thompson, “My goal is to always have her have some sort of evolution, and the evolution in this for me was really empowering.”
“She has a new kind of confidence that we haven’t seen in 8 years, and she’s really not apologizing for anything,” said the actress of the fallen hero, who spends a majority of her appearance on screen either threatening to or actually killing the various heroes who stand against her.
Olsen continued, “She feels very clear in her beliefs. I find it very admirable, and I enjoyed throwing her into this journey of madness.”
“I think it’s okay to play characters that people get frustrated with sometimes,” she concluded. “I enjoy that as an actor.”
Interestingly, these positive comments from Olsen regarding Wanda’s fall stand in contrast to those given by the actress in a separate interview given to Variety during the same press cycle for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
Reflecting on how it felt to brutally rip the membership of the Illuminati apart – snapping Professor X’s neck, blowing Black Bolt’s brain out, unraveling Reed Richards, bisecting Captain Carter, and crushing Captain Marvel – Olsen told senior entertainment writer Adam B. Vary, “I — I was — I was also supposed to kill more. I had a hard time with it.”
“I was like, these are human beings and Wanda is okay with ending their lives?” the actress recalled. “But I just had to buckle down and think all these people are in her way and she’s warned Doctor Strange not to get in her way. And he did. He didn’t listen. And so I just had to go from that point of view.”
“There’s a moment where I have to snap at people I love, and that was a difficult scene,” she elaborated on her heavy-hearted feelings towards the character’s villainous journey.
“I felt so bad that I used it as the actor and let it inform how I responded to these people that I love. Because they were terrified after. It really was something I did not enjoy at all, but I knew it’d be good for the scene,” Olsen explained.
Further, it should be noted that despite Olsen and the legions of Marvel Cinematic Universe stans’ apparent insistence that, in the end, Wanda’s actions were justified and possibly even admirable, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness writer Michael Waldron has outright stated that Wanda’s role in the film was always intended as that of a villain.
In his own separate interview with Variety, Waldron explained to Vary that when he and director Sam Raimi joined the project – replacing original Doctor Strange writers C. Robert Cargill and Scott Derrickson, the latter of whom also served as its director – the pair had quickly decided that “the foundational building block of starting over was Wanda should be the villain the whole way through.”
“This should be a story of Doctor Strange protecting America Chavez from Wanda,” said Waldron. “So it was there from the very beginning, really, in what is the ultimate version.”
“Truth be told, having watched and experienced and studied ‘WandaVision,’ I felt like she was at the point, in possession of the Darkhold, where she was ready to break bad,” the writer detailed. “She had reached that point that she reaches in comics, and that we could believably pull it off.”
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