It’s been a week since the finale of Wandavision, and if you’re anything like me, you’re still asking more questions than a pale synthezoid in a library. One of the biggest questions to come out of the series was, where did Agatha Harkness get her powers from? In this article, we are going to take a look at the evidence from both this show and the wider MCU, and make some speculations about where her witchy abilities might have come from and how it could affect the MCU moving forward. Let’s dive in…
To start, let’s look at a brief reminder of where magic comes from in the MCU. When Doctor Strange came out in 2016, it introduced us to the world of magic by way of the multiverse and other dimensions. To quote from the Ancient One: “We harness energy… drawn from other dimensions of the Multiverse… to cast spells… to conjure shields… and weapons… to make magic. Through the mystic arts, we harness energy and shape reality.”
Little did we know how important this line would be moving forward. Long before the time travel of Avengers: Endgame, and long before Mysterio’s fake multiverse stories in Spider-Man: Far From Home, the Ancient One introduced us to this somewhat science-based understanding of how magic works. Now, I like this concept, as I typically shy away from supernatural/horror-based stories (I know, I’m a baby like that), but I also think it makes sense in a world as broad and interconnected as the MCU. With this as our basis, we can assume that Agatha is either pulling her powers from another dimension, or from some sort of being who inhabits another dimension.
Let’s gather everything that we know about Agatha and her abilities. Firstly, we know that she was part of a coven of witches in Salem, Massachusetts in 1693. While we don’t know much about this group of witchy women, we are instantly shown that their magic works differently than what we’ve previously seen in the MCU. First off, the color of their powers is blue as opposed to the geometric orange color pallet of Doctor Strange. Secondly, Agatha has apparently tapped into something beyond what this coven was even capable of, with her powers coming across as a dark purple color. She is accused of practicing, “The darkest of magic” and “stealing knowledge above her age and station“. Based on context clues, I think it’s safe for us to assume that this stolen knowledge came from the Darkhold, an ancient and crumbly-looking book in desperate need of a reprint. From the Darkhold it seems she has learned the ability to harness this new form of magic, allowing her to strip the magic from the Shriveled Sisters of Salem and leave them as dehydrated leather corpses that are sure to give unaccompanied Disney+ kids nightmares for weeks.
From the Darkhold, Agatha also learned of the Scarlet Witch, and when she pops up again it’s 400 years later in modern-day, and she looks like she hasn’t aged at all. How is that possible? She then senses the chaos magic that Wanda used to create the Westview hex, and she decides that she wants that power for herself. While she didn’t create the hex, she does manipulate it from the inside, using her powers to control Ralph Bohner (eye roll) and creep closer and closer to Wanda and her world-ending abilities. She also has a bunny named Senor Scratchy, who was apparently going to be revealed as a demon-bunny in a deleted scene (Monty Python fans I’m sorry for your loss). Unfortunately, we aren’t given more details than that, leaving us to ponder on where exactly her powers came from, and why she hasn’t aged in all these years?
Suspect #1: The Darkhold
Now, this is somewhat of a given place for us to start. The context clues around her flashbacks seem to indicate that she stole the Darkhold from her coven, and used it to learn dark magic. As some have theorized, it’s possible that she even stole it from Kamar-Taj, as we do see a missing book on a shelf behind Doctor Strange in his movie, in a bookshelf made of hexagons no less. While it’s possible that these witchy women might have split off from the Kamar-Taj group, the difference in the appearance of their magic would seem to indicate that they are completely separate from the sorcerers of Doctor Strange, but a group who might have learned their abilities from ancient books nonetheless.
The problem with this theory is that I don’t think its enough on its own. When we see the Darkhold in Agatha’s basement, it has an orange glow, which makes it the 4th color of magic we see in the Wandavision show (red for Wanda, orange for the Darkhold, blue for both Billy and the Salem gals, and purple for Agatha). This orange glow does loosely support the theory that the book comes from the Kamar-Taj, and thus has the same color of orange magic as the sorcerers from there, but it also limits our theories that Agatha got her powers from its pages alone. After all, her magic is purple and her coven’s was blue. If the answer was supposed to be as simple as them getting safe cleaning products and their powers from the maids book, then I’d imagine that in Florida, they would have made it all the same color. Also, Agatha seems to describe the Darkhold as almost an ancient magical dictionary of sorts, which includes “A whole chapter on the Scarlet Witch.” Based off that reasoning, we can imagine that it has other chapters as well that may come into play during Doctor Strange 2, Blade, or any number of future spooky projects. So while the Darkhold might have shown Agatha and her twisted sisters how to learn their form of magic, it doesn’t necessarily explain where it all comes from. Remembering the words of the Ancient One, “We harness energy drawn from other dimensions of the Multiverse.” So what dimension might she have been pulling her powers from?
Suspect #2: The Dark Dimension/Dormammu
Now we arrive at our second candidate and one that has a surprising amount of evidence supporting it. Let’s look at what we know about Dormammu from the events of Doctor Strange:
- His magic has a dark purple color, which manifests itself as purple coloring around the eyes of those who use it, such as Kaecilius (And before you say that the eye-effect didn’t happen to Agatha, so it can’t be the same magic, remember that the Ancient One actually taped into it also, without the unintended smoky-eye makeup tutorial on her face…more on that below).
- His dimension is known as the Dark Dimension, and the use of its magic is highly frowned upon (recall that Agatha was accused of using the “darkest of magic”)
- It has the ability to grant its users a long lifespan. Recall that the Ancient One used it to stop her aging, similar to how Agatha hasn’t aged since her murderous quinceanera in 1693.
- Story-wise, we’ve heard many times that Wandavision is supposed to set up Doctor Strange: In the Multiverse of Madness. We also know that COVID and schedule changes shifted around the release dates, which would have originally had that film coming out directly after Wandavision. We further know that this shift affected the final few episodes of the show, leaving some scenes on the cutting room floor. Was one of these scenes a connection/tease to Dormammu? While we haven’t heard anything about Dormammu appearing in the upcoming film, if we are ever going to see that character in the MCU again, the only real place that it would make sense is in Doctor Strange 2, a film about protecting reality from other dimensions (And as you recall, Dormammu’s goal was to invade our dimension during the events of the original film).
Suspect #3: Mephisto
Yeah, I know, not everything is Mephisto but I at least had to put his name here. His seemingly-confirmed appearance in the stained glass window of the Loki trailer indicates that he is coming to the MCU. Then there is of course all those references that Agatha makes to “the devil” throughout the Wandavision show. Mix that with the fact that Wanda is currently in a remote eastern European Airbnb trying to bring her children back to life, and you’ve got the ingredients for a Mephisto appearance in the very near future…
Suspect #4: A Mephisto/Dormammu Hybrid
Now let’s get super weird. We know that Marvel sometimes likes to combine multiple characters (or aspects of different characters) into one person. Could it be that Dormammu and Mephisto are going to be the same character in the MCU? While this would be a massive surprise and a huge deviation from the comics, it would sort of make sense based on what we’ve already seen. Dormammu has been depicted as a figure willing to make bargains with humans, and if Wanda’s children end up being brought back to life via some magic or another, it makes sense that it could be via a similar bargain. In the comics, Billy and Tommy are, of course, revealed to be pieces of Mephisto’s soul, but this could be a difficult concept to convey if Mephisto is going to be a simple flesh-and-blood figure in the MCU. But what if he were a formless purple mass? One who inhabits his entire dimension and desires to break into others? Then perhaps the idea of two purple wisps breaking off of him and forming two children in our reality becomes an easier concept to convey on-screen, and one that matches what has already been set up in a previous film. I know, I know, it’s just a theory, don’t burn me at the stake. I just wanted to make sure we covered all of our bases here…
Suspect #5: The Same New Form of Magic Used by Baron Mordo
One really good thing to point out is that Agatha’s powers seem to be mostly parasitic in nature. She gets her powers by stealing them from others. Interestingly enough, this is also something we saw in Doctor Strange. In the post-credits scene of the 2016 film, we see Baron Mordo meet up with Jonathan Pangborn, the man who was paralyzed but then regained the use of his legs after studying the mystic arts in Kammar-Taj. Mordo appears in the man’s workshop and somehow takes his magic from him, a power that we saw nowhere else in the film, and proclaims that the world has, “Too many sorcerers.” Could this be connected to Agatha’s ability to steal the magic of others, as she did with the gals from the Cauldron Convention or Wanda herself? If so, perhaps we will see in the next film…
Suspect #6: Chthon
In the comics, the Darkhold was written by a multiversal being named Chthon, who resided near Wundagore Mountain and gave Wanda her powers when she was a little girl. If Marvel decides to go this route for the MCU, then that may be the mountain we’re seeing in the Wandavision post credits scene. Could this mountain cabin, presumably in Sokivia, be a tease that Chthon is coming? Will he be the big bad of Doctor Strange: in the Multiverse of Magic? Or, similar to the previous theory, could this aspect of his story be combined with characters like Dormammu, Mephisto, or Nightmare?