Where Is the Vision in ‘Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness movie’?


On top of being Disney+’s first project, WandaVision was also the first story where we saw the MCU told specifically through the eyes of Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen). The war against Thanos took many things away from the Avengers, including the lives of Tony Stark and Natasha Romanoff, but one of the most painful deaths right before half the universe got blipped away was Vision’s (Paul Bettany) death in Avengers: Infinity War.

Not only was it devastating as it completed Thanos’ gauntlet and allowed him to complete his snap, but with all other options to save Vision gone, Wanda had to remove the Mind Stone from Vision’s head herself, effectively killing him, to destroy the stone. It’s made doubly tragic when Thanos arrives moments later and uses the Time Stone to reform the Mind Stone, making all of her trauma and sacrifice meaningless. By the time the war is over and funerals are had, it’s clear that Wanda is not done mourning the loss of Vision.

Overwhelmed by grief Vision, Wanda goes to the town of Westview, New Jersey, where Vision bought them a plot of land to build a house for the two of them, and she inadvertently creates the Hex that traps the town of Westview in television sitcom land. Along with changing the appearance of the town, she’s controlled the minds of its residents, and created a new copy of Vision as well as created two children, Billy (Julian Hilliard) and Tommy (Jett Klyne), from thin air. In the Hex, she and Vision get to live out the life that they initially planned, together in the suburbs, raising their kids.

When the Hex was destroyed, that version of Vision was also destroyed. But that isn’t the end of the character. Another android was created by SWORD, an organization meant to handle extraterrestrial affairs, to use Vision’s design as a weapon. This version, White Vision, had an encounter with Hex Vision where he was given all the memories of the original Vision. The two discuss the Ship of Theseus thought experiment which basically asks if a ship’s parts were all replaced with new parts, is it still the same ship? While there’s no solid answer for a philosophical question, White Vision left the Hex with the memories of Original Vision.

So… where the hell was White Vision in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness? The movie spends a very healthy amount of time hammering in the point that Wanda is a mother who is grieving the loss of her sons, but what was the point of WandaVision for Wanda if not to heal some of her extreme grief? We already know the pandemic did funny things to the pre-planned Phase 4, putting everything out of order, but WandaVision was always supposed to be a precursor to Multiverse of Madness. So why was White Vision excluded?

Vision played a pivotal role in Wanda’s character growth in WandaVision, a show where she was ostensibly one of the villains enslaving an entire town, albeit unknowingly. Multiverse of Madness erases the growth that she saw in that series, by throwing her back into the throes of grieving, this time for the death of Billy and Tommy. Multiverse of Madness revisits the same ideas of WandaVision with less nuance and more bluntness. Wanda, here, has a one-track mind. In an attempt to show her as one of the MCU’s most powerful beings, the movie sacrifices her humanity.

Why does she not seek out a universe where Vision is also alive? Surely in the vast multiverse, there’s a universe where Vision is raising his kids on his own after the tragic death of a Wanda variant? Where is the Vision of Earth-838? If Tony and Bruce weren’t around to create him, then did Wanda also create these kids from nothing? It feels incomplete to have a story about Wanda without at least mentioning the connection that she had with Vision. There’s hardly any mention of him, with one scene being a callous throwaway line about how Wanda doesn’t care about anything, including when she killed Vision, while fighting Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) at Kamar-Taj.

Elizabeth Olsen told Collider in an interview that Vision not being around was a mystery, but she came up with her own ideas for why he wasn’t around. “For some reason he’s not in her world. I always thought of her as more of a domestic Wanda. They got divorced. They’re separated. She’s not wearing a wedding band for a reason,” Olsen said. She continued on to add, “We liked the idea of her being on her own. The idea really is that the most important thing once you become a mother in the world are your children.”

Erasing Vision’s part in Wanda’s life turns her into a senseless killing machine in the name of motherhood and motherhood alone. The movie perverts Vision’s final words, “What is grief, but love persevering,” by once more engulfing Wanda in grief and erasing the work of the previous series. The decision to lean into Wanda’s pursuit of finding a universe where she could be with her kids is then made more obsessive. She is not interested in raising her kids and loving them, she is interested in possessing them.

It’s easy to hand wave all of this by saying that Wanda’s corruption from her time with the Darkhold made her focus on her boys. But from a storytelling point of view, the story is weaker for it. Wanda’s grief is not disjointed. Her grief over the loss of her sons is connected to Vision, and also connected to her loss of her family and her brother. Grief is not a switch that can be turned on and off, after WandaVision, the intention was that Wanda had healed from some of her grief making her able to move on.

Aside from taking a massive step back, removing Vision leaves a lot of questions from audiences who have committed to consuming the MCU in its entirety. It’s hard to justify Vision’s absence, especially since we know there’s a White Vision floating around out there with all the original and Hex Vision’s memories. Since Wanda is someone he shares a chief amount of his most significant experiences, why doesn’t he seek her out? As a character who saw an unconventional character evolution in WandaVision it’s a shame not to have him in a story that focuses, once again, on Wanda’s grief.

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is now streaming on Disney+.

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