The following story contains spoilers for WandaVision through episode 8.
At the end of WandaVision Episode 8, "Previously On," Agatha Harkness says that Wanda is using chaos magic, making her the Scarlet Witch.
Wanda Maximoff has never been called by her superhero name before, and we've also never heard the term "Chaos Magic," used before.
Chaos magic has deep roots in the Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch origin, and the greater Marvel lore.
Ever since her first starring appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (in 2015's Avengers: Age of Ultron) Elizabeth Olsen has been credited as Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch. But it wasn't until Episode 8 of WandaVision, titled "Previously On," that she was ever referred to by that superhero moniker. (Remember Jimmy Woo's memorable "not a one," exchange with SWORD Director Tyler Hayward earlier in the season when referring to Wanda's catchy nicknames). As it turns out, it took a now-revealed villain in Agatha Harkness familiar with the dark arts to recognize Wanda's actions as coming from something called Chaos Magic. And as a result, she says, this makes Wanda the Scarlet Witch.
But what the hell is Chaos Magic, anyway? It hasn't been explicitly spelled out yet in the MCU or in WandaVision, but given that the episode shows that Agatha has at least been around dealing with Witchy stuff since the Salem Witch era of 1695, it feels like she's a pretty decent source for that kind of thing.
"You have no idea how dangerous you are. You're supposed to be a myth, a being capable of spontaneous creation. Here you are, using it to make breakfast for dinner," Agatha tells Wanda as she holds her twin sons, Billy and Tommy, hostage with a lasso of her purple magic. "Your children. Vision. This whole little life you've made. This is Chaos Magic, Wanda. And that makes you the Scarlet Witch."
We should also note that while the original Scarlet Witch costume from the Marvel Comics—her red outfit complete with horned headdress—was teased in Episode 6, Wanda has never worn the outfit properly in the history of the MCU. In looking into the mind stone, however, she certainly saw images of her future self.
Clearly this will be explored more in the WandaVision finale. But for now, we have a decent idea: the magic that Wanda has tapped into comes from a place of the unknown. Something that feels risque, even for a hundreds-year-old villain like Agatha.
So, what exactly is Chaos Magic?
Before we get too deep into the Marvel Comics explanation of Chaos Magic, let's look a bit deeper into what we've already seen within the MCU. Because there has been a good bit of magic already shown in the 23 films and now 1 Disney+ series of the universe so far.
Let's first consider the different colors. Agatha's magic, as we've seen in Episodes 7 and 8, is purple. We can consider that dark magic. Magic from the other witches—the Salem witches who attempted to hold Agatha accountable in 1695—was blue. The magic we've seen Doctor Strange use (in Doctor Strange, Thor: Ragnarok, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame) has always been orange. We can think of this as sorcerer magic, as it matched the magic used by his companions such as Wong and The Ancient One. The magic Wanda uses, in turn, has always been red. Has she always used Chaos Magic? Sure seems that way.
Chaos Magic is actually not something exclusive to the Marvel world. As the Fandom page states, it generally allows those who use it to claim "mastery of spells capable of warping, manipulating and/or reconstructing reality and the very fabric of existence, and can cause total chaos and destruction to the cosmos." In addition to the Marvel Comics version of Wanda/Scarlet Witch using it, characters such as Ethan Rayne on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Bill Cipher on Gravity Falls are known to use it.
As the Marvel-specific Fandom page for Chaos Magic explains, it's a magic so powerful that even Doctor Strange didn't believe it existed (in Avengers #502 and #503). It's magic that can "manipulate, warp and reconstruct the very fabric of existence and reality to the user's very whims and bring about total destruction to the cosmos." The limits of Wanda's great strength when yielding this kind of power and magic would later be explored in the beloved House of M and Avengers: Disassembled storylines.
Wanda was first able to control Chaos Magic in the comics because her birthplace, Mount Wundagore, was where the God of Chaos and controller of Chaos Magic, an entity called Chthon, was sealed. Chthon was at one point one of the most powerful beings in the world, but was defeated and sealed in this spot by earth mages. However, Chthon touched a newborn Wanda, giving her a fraction of his powers and allowing her to control Chaos Magic and shape reality to her choosing as a result.
The MCU doesn't always follow Marvel Comic arcs to a T, but this would track with what was shown in Episode 8; remember, when Wanda was a child, she seemingly used a "probability hex," as Agatha speculated, to stop the Stark Industries bomb from going off. This proved that she had her powers before even coming into contact with the Mind Stone, as the Chthon contact storyline would indicate.
And while Agatha certainly seems to have been set up as WandaVision's primary villain (you don't get to kill poor Sparky and just go on after that!), Agatha Harkness was the one who helped Wanda to understand Chaos Magic and control her use of it in the comics. Clearly, the MCU version of Agatha recognizes the chaos magic, but it sure doesn't seem like she's intent on teaching Wanda how to use it. Still, maybe we'll see Wanda figure that this is more power than she's ever had before, and continue to harness and understand her own abilities as the MCU continues its march toward the multiverse.
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