WandaVision episode 8, “Previously On,” delves into all the backstory that fans of the series have been waiting for. Not only do viewers learn how Wanda wound up in Westview and brought Vision back into the picture after the events of Endgame, we also get a glimpse of her childhood in Sokovia and further back to a time when Agatha Harkness first harnessed her true powers.
No spoilers (we’ll get to that), but the one thing anyone should know before watching “Previously On” is that the eighth episode drops a crucial post-credits scene after the first round of credits. If you haven’t seen the episode yet, that’s all you need to know for now.
The moment has big implications for next week’s finale — and, in a sneaky way, makes good on a tease that Vision actor Paul Bettany’s been dangling in front of viewers for weeks.
[Ed. note: This piece contains spoilers for WandaVision episode 8.]
“Previously On” is a true info-dump / tee-up to what should be a classic Marvel finale action setpiece. First, we see Agatha back in colonial days in what looks like a stake burning during the Salem witch trials, but is actually just a bunch of witches zapping her to death for dabbling in dark magic! The plan backfires, and Agatha becomes the power-hungry Agatha we know from Westview.
With Wanda captured in her dungeon basement, Agatha spends most of the episode whisking the superhuman through her own memories to understand how she was able to conjure such a magnificent combination of mind control and transmutation. Her assertion: Wanda isn’t just a gifted telekinetic experimented on by HYDRA back during the events of Age of Ultron — her belief is that she’s an actual witch. In a sequence set during her childhood, which depicts the incident that set her on a course of anti-American terrorism, Wanda evidently uses real magic to stave off a Stark Industries missile that lands in her home in Sokovia. As Agatha puts it at the end of the episode, “You’re the Scarlet Witch.”
Though known by the moniker in the comics, no one in the MCU has actually referred to Wanda by that hero name. Now it’s the crux of the plot. But before Wanda can deal with that, we get a post-credit scene that brings Vision back into the picture.
As we learn in “Previously On,” the Vision we see in Westview is not “Real Vision” — he’s a completely new being conjured by Wanda’s unfathomable power. Real Vision is dead, and broken into bits in a SWORD lab. Wanda doesn’t steal his body as some assumed, meaning at some point there were two Visions in reality (despite one being made possible by the Mind Stone, a peak of known power in the universe).
In the last few episodes, Monica, Jimmy, and Darcy discovered a secret SWORD project, Cataract, overseen by director Tyler Hayward. The plan was to not actually track and decommission Vision, but in theory, revive the old version they had. Now it seems, by using remnants of Wanda’s own powers lifted from the spy drone, Hayward has done it.
In the post-credit moment, we see an all-white version of Vision come to life. Now there really are two Visions: One trapped in Westview (as seen talking to camera in episode 7) and one working for the people who want to eliminate Wanda.
“There is one character that has not been revealed,” Bettany told Esquire back in February. “And it is very exciting. It is an actor I’ve longed to work with all of my life. We have some amazing scenes together and I think the chemistry between us is extraordinary and fireworks on set.”
Many speculated on who that cameo might be — Benedict Cumberbatch stepping in as Doctor Strange? John Krasinski as a new Reed Richard from Fantastic Four? But now the answer seems clearer: the character might be … Paul Bettany himself, playing White Vision. In a world with two Visions, one can only assume that the two will have a chance to meet in a most spectacular fashion. This is called “cheeky British humor.”