- Who Is Marvel’s Agatha Harkness?
- Agatha’s Origin
- Agatha’s Powers and Abilities
- Agatha Harkness and Wanda Maximoff
- Is Agatha Harkness Behind it All in WandaVision?
- Agatha Harkness on TV
Agatha Harkness: WandaVision’s Other Marvel Witch Explained
Who Is Marvel’s Agatha Harkness?
When Franklin Richards was born, his parents Reed and Sue Richards (a.k.a. Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Woman) sought to keep him safely tucked away from all manner of prying eyes. The Fantastic Four took the baby to the serene, secluded town of Whisper Hill, the home of their new governess–Agatha Harkness.
Although they didn’t know it at the time, Agatha was a witch of incredible power. She used her abilities to not only keep Franklin safe, but to keep his burgeoning powers in check. She finally revealed her magic to save Reed Richards from being trapped in the Negative Zone. The Fantastic Four came to count on her as both an ally and friend. When her own life was in danger, the four heroes did everything they could to save her.
Agatha later became close to another magic-user of the Marvel universe, the Scarlet Witch, when Wanda and Vision became unlikely parents to a set of twins. She sought to help Wanda learn to control her reality-warping magic. Although she would eventually meet her doom at Wanda’s hands, the bond between them was strong even after death.
The sorceress’s age is just one of the many mysteries surrounding Agatha Harkness. Agatha lived in Salem, Massachusetts, until she moved to the town of New Salem, Colorado, in an unknown year. New Salem was a hidden community of spellcasters who had left the persecution of Salem behind them. The residents swore to never interact with non-magic mortals again. Agatha was their leader until she decided to leave for reasons never really explained.
Only a few other bits and pieces of her long past have been revealed since. She spent time as a member of the Daughters of Liberty in the late 1700s; she also fought against a dark magic wielder shortly after World War II.
By the end of the 20th century, Agatha and her faithful cat companion, Ebony, lived in a foreboding mansion in Whisper Hill, New York. The house, like Agatha, was old and enigmatic, but provided a safe haven for baby Franklin. “Although I lived in retirement for years,” Agatha said in her first appearance in the pages of Fantastic Four, “I could not say no to my newest charge when I learned the identity of his parents!”
Reed and Sue couldn’t have picked a better governess. The first night she watched the baby, the Frightful Four entered the house, intent on getting revenge on the superhero team. Agatha dispatched them easily with her magic.
In time, Agatha became the nanny for another set of unusual children, the twins of Wanda Maximoff and The Vision.
Agatha’s Powers and Abilities
Agatha Harkness casts spells that manipulate mystical forces. She uses magic to extend her life for centuries, travel through space and time, send mental messages to warn of incoming danger, erase Wanda Maximoff’s grief-filled memories, and much more.
Her former black cat, Ebony, was no ordinary cat. Ebony transformed into a large, snarling panther when faced with a threat. Agatha counted on him as both companion and protector.
She was also a patient teacher and mentor as Wanda explored her magic “hex” powers.
Agatha Harkness and Wanda Maximoff
Shortly after Wanda and Vision became parents, Agatha appeared on their doorstep. Her visit was quite unexpected, especially as she had been presumed dead. She was there to talk about the children, she told the surprised couple. It seems the babies were disappearing when Wanda wasn’t thinking of them. But Wanda refused to hear the truth… Billy and Tommy weren’t real.
When the demon Mephisto revealed their true nature as pieces of his soul and reabsorbed them, Agatha removed their memory from the distraught Scarlet Witch. “To spare her that pain, I have closed that corner of her mind for all time,” she said. “For Wanda, it will be as if they never were.”
In time, however, Wanda did remember her children, and Agatha paid the price for her interference. This led to the famed House of M storyline that WandaVision is partially based on.
Is Agatha Harkness Behind it All in WandaVision?
Now we know Agatha Harkness’s place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Or do we? It definitely seems like Kathryn Hahn’s Agatha has been the one pulling the strings in Westview.
The clues started with Agnes and Agatha having similar-sounding names. Agnes also has a pet, Senor Scratches, who she holds dear (though Scratches is a rabbit rather than a cat). That name is also a reference to Agatha’s son in the comics, Nicholas Scratch. Putting Agnes in a blue-haired witch costume in the same episode that Vision and Wanda are wearing their comics-inspired outfits was a deliberate wink, as was her Wicked Witch-like cackling laugh. And, most mysterious of all, unlike most of the other residents of Westview, Agnes didn’t have a matching driver’s license to reveal her real-life identity.
With Agatha Harkness’s big reveal in her dark and spooky house, it seems like the MCU is introducing the witch as a purple-magic wielding villain. But can we believe anything we see in Westview? Here’s hoping it’s another ruse, and Agatha might still be able to be the friend and mentor Wanda Maximoff needs to move on from her grief. Perhaps she’s the unwitting servant of some other villain who is the true Big Bad of the show.
Perhaps even her true appearance has yet to be shown. “There is one character that has not been revealed and it is very exciting, it’s an actor I’ve longed to work with all of my life,” Paul Bettany said in an interview recently. Could the real Agatha Harkness appear as a venerable older actress making an MCU debut?
Agatha Harkness on TV
Agatha Harkness has not appeared in any games, and has only made brief appearances in some X-Men and Avengers animated series as a teacher for Wanda Maximoff. WandaVision is obviously her biggest TV role yet… though it must be noted that Captain Jack Harkness of Doctor Who and Torchwood is named after the venerable sorceress, as actor John Barrowman revealed in a 2006 interview.
Kelly Knox is a freelance entertainment writer who also contributes to StarWars.com, DCComics.com, Nerdist, and more. Follow her on Twitter at @kelly_knox to talk Star Wars, Dungeons & Dragons, and comics.