Right around this time last year, audiences across the world were being introduced to Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch when she made her debut in Avengers: Age of Ultron. We have not seen anything from her since then, but she is returning to the big screen this weekend as she is just one of the many cast members involved with Captain America: Civil War. She has a big role to play in this film, and with her already confirmed for Avengers: Infinity War, she will continue to have a big role moving forward.
In the lead up to the movie’s release, Birth.Movies.Death. was able to talk to Olsen about what it is like to play one of the most powerful characters Marvel has. The power within her gives her quite the inner struggle and is one of the many reasons that Civil War holds the best version of her yet. When she was asked how she could connect so deeply with a character that is so hard to write and play, Olsen had the following to say:
I’ve talked about this – Joss really loved her a lot. So he really had a huge say in how she talked, how she looked, how she moved, what drove her. It was very tangible in Ultron, but now it’s become about her stepping into her role and her powers. Her position in the Marvel Universe is limitless – the only thing that limits her is her own mind, and the possibility of being caught up in how she manipulates reality or the trajectory of her maybe going a little insane. The things that have to be written always have to be some sort of inner struggle, and you want that to be as specific as possible. You can’t always have the same story every time, and I don’t think we’ve done that. Each time it’s different, and what happens at the beginning of Civil War would screw up anyone. She was saving someone that was very important, but wasn’t strong enough to be able to hold on a little more. She has to deal with the repercussions in her mind of killing people. That’s a different kind of conflict than, ‘Oh, how should I use my powers?’ She’s totally unsure if this is even a good idea anymore.
I think for me… I don’t know what the in is. If I could articulate it I wouldn’t anyway. But there is something I discovered from House of M, just from reading the comics, that made me enjoy how her mind functions.
We will likely never get a chance to see Olsen live out her dream of exploring the House of M story from the comics, but that does not mean she cannot use it as inspiration. Since Scarlet Witch is a preexisting character, there is plenty of history for Olsen to learn about. Not every story is necessary for her to learn, or will connect with her in the same way, which means she has to pick and choose what to use.
With source material you pick and choose what hooks you in. It will come through, if only because this is the way you understand something and it’s what gave you an idea. I feel like that’s what reading the comics did, whether or not they go there. I think they could have so much fun with her, though, and I think it’s definitely going to expand a lot, how she’s used. I’m not sure because they don’t tell me, but you hope so, because she’s someone who can link so many things together.
We didn’t want to do a lot of mind control stuff because we did so much of that in Ultron, so we focused on the inner struggle. And also on the idea that her powers aren’t just for destroying – she was able to help Cap out and use them in more clever ways.
Since they did not do mind control, Scarlet Witch’s powers can be tough to use. She could end any battle within a second should she choose to do, so it can be mighty difficult to figure out just how to use her. This is something she says the Russos at first struggled with how to use her, but ultimately they found the right use for her and let Olsen figure out what it should look like.
Yeah. The specific thing – because I think the Russos have a really cool idea of how to use her – but I think at first they were overwhelmed by her. They were like, ‘She can do anything. If someone is fighting she can end it quickly. I don’t know what to do!’ Now they, I think, are a little more comfortable in how to write her. It’s like they figured her out during filming.
But the thing they don’t care about – not that they don’t care about, but that they don’t have specific impact on – is the way I move. Joss had actual movements in his brain, and that’s how the movements started. We would try and hit these marks that Joss, literally in front of us did. He also has these funny knees and wrists and hands, and my choreographer Jenny and I were like, ‘Man, he really worked hard on this.’ But we’ve taken full control of that, and even if the Russos just say ‘She needs to launch Cap,’ we think ‘That’s not fun to look at, is it?’ So we figure out what’s more interesting. That’s ownership I love. Some people might think it’s random, but it’s not – it’s very intentional. After seeing pre-viz, where I can see why I’m doing what I’m doing, or what I’m picking up or what I’m throwing, in my head I’m doing all of that.
One of the quickest moments in Age of Ultron was Vision sweeping in and saving Scarlet Witch from the explosion that destroyed Sokovia. This was a nice nod to the comics and hopefully their future love for each other. However, with Vision being an Android and her being a human, they are not that similar. But just as the old saying goes, opposites attract, and they bond due to their common outcast feelings.
Because what they’re talking about is something that makes them feel like an outcast or an outsider, and what connects them as two people is something they have in common where they feel like outcasts. Everybody has that in life… we just happen to be talking about the Mind Stone.
You can see Scarlet Witch in action with Captain America: Civil War hitting theaters this weekend.