Warning: Contains spoilers for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
The final moments of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness appear to kill off Scarlet Witch, but is Wanda Maximoff really dead, or is this a fakeout before Wanda’s MCU future continues? The ending of Doctor Strange 2 is far from conclusive on several accounts as it works to set up the future of Doctor Strange, the multiverse, and the wider MCU. However, the fate of Wanda is particularly intriguing based on the story that was told around the character in the first Marvel Disney+ TV show, WandaVision.
Wanda Maximoff’s Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) is set up as the main antagonist in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness despite multiple trailers suggesting that she might be an anti-hero if not a full hero for the story. Compelled to seek out a reality in the multiverse where her children, Billy (Julian Hilliard) and Tommy (Jett Klyne), exist so that she can be a mother to them. When she realizes what she has become when faced with the reality of her actions and the way that she is hurting both an alternate reality version of herself and her children, Scarlet Witch moves to ensure that no one can do such a thing again. Repulsed by her actions, Scarlet Witch collapses the top of Mount Wundagore on top of herself, destroying the Darkhold and its power in every iteration of the multiverse.
The destruction of Mount Wundagore, the location where Chthon first wrote the Darkhold, clearly rekills the Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) body that is present. However, Scarlet Witch has survived a huge amount, even before coming into the title. In What If…? even as a zombie, Wanda seemed undefeatable and persistent to continue some form of existence. In Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, there are some small clues that reveal Wanda Maximoff’s true fate. Here are all the clues as to whether or not Scarlet Witch’s death is real at the end of Doctor Strange 2 and what that could mean for the MCU.
Is Scarlet Witch Dead At The End Of Doctor Strange 2?
In plenty of movies, having half a mountain dropped on a character would leave little question as to whether or not that character was still alive. However, with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, the question is based on the logic of the MCU. In Avengers: Endgame, Scott Lang (Ant-Man, Paul Rudd) almost takes a direct hit from a rocket fired from a space ship and the Avengers are inside the Avengers Compound when it is leveled and the result is that they have to crawl out from underneath the rubble so they can immediately fight a full-scale war. Under the physics of the MCU and allowing for superpowers, it is entirely possible that the Scarlet Witch of Earth-616 is still alive and that Wanda’s death is just a fakeout.
However, several elements of the movie suggest that despite her superpowers and the history of the MCU, Wanda Maximoff’s death in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness could be real. Narratively, it would be unjust for to the audience for the movie for Scarlet Witch to be casually revealed to have survived: the movie led up to her death in a logical fashion and her death was self-inflicted as both a self-sacrifice to remove the Darkhold from all timelines and as a penance for the pain she had wrought across the multiverse.
Also in favor of the Doctor Strange 2 Scarlet Witch death being real is a small visual choice. When Scarlet Witch kills Black Bolt (Anson Mount) and Reed Richards (John Krasinski), their moments of death are depicted with a small puff of red, representative of Scarlet Witch’s powers. When Mount Wundagore is collapsing a similar eruption of red comes from the mountain, suggesting that Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is depicting the moment of Wanda Maximoff’s death. There are still questions related to whether Wanda’s death will be permanent and whether the entity of the Scarlet Witch can truly die, but that is a separate question.
Does Scarlet Witch Die In The Comics?
Like many other comic characters, Scarlet Witch’s death has been portrayed multiple times in the Marvel comics. In the 2021 storyline Hellfire Gala, Scarlet Witch was murdered and the investigation lead to the follow-on story X-Men: The Trial of Magneto. In the Age of Apocalypse timeline, Wanda died while in combat with Nemesis, Apocalypses’ son. In Uncanny Avengers, Scarlet Witch also dies as part of a plot built of misunderstandings. There is certainly precedent for Scarlet Witch dying in the comics, but as with so many characters, that doesn’t mean that she will stay dead.
How Scarlet Witch Can Return In The MCU’s Future
In the MCU there are very few hero deaths that are shown to be real and permanent. These include Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson), as well as arguably Chris Evans’ Steve Rogers. Other characters, such as Loki (Tom Hiddleston), Gamora (Zoe Saldana), and Bucky Barnes (Sebastian Stan), have all been brought back through time-travel trickery, alternate realities, or simply misconstrued stories that overstated their demise. As a narrative engine, the MCU is absolutely set up for Scarlet Witch to return in the future.
One of the most obvious ways that Wanda Maximoff could return would be by being ported over from an alternate universe. This same trick could be used to reinstate the Illuminati that so quickly met their demise in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. America Chavez (Xochitl Gomez) and Clea (Charlize Theron) both have the ability to open portals to enable this to happen, but the version of Wanda that would return to Earth-616 would not have had the same experiences as the original and characterization around Vision would be lost.
It is also possible that the Scarlet Witch that dies in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness could be resurrected. In the comics, Scarlet Witch absorbs the power of the Darkhold and in the process sealed Chthon. It is possible that this is more accurately what happened when it appeared that Wanda was destroying the Darkholds, and she might have used the power to survive or could use it to resurrect herself in the future.
One other alternative way for Wanda Maximoff to return after Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness would be tied to the strange status that the Scarlet Witch title has in the MCU. Rather than a title, the Scarlet Witch is a specific entity that has powers beyond the rules of traditional magic. Having appeared in the Mind Stone and been truly feared by Agatha Harkness (Kathryn Hahn), it is unclear what Scarlet Witch truly is, and it is possible that it is not truly possible for her to die in a way that others might.
Killing Scarlet Witch Would Make Marvel’s Betrayal Worse
Ultimately, the MCU needs to bring Scarlet Witch back as the original Earth-616 character at some point in the future to avoid their storytelling truly betraying the audience. WandaVision sets up a story for Wanda that sees her deal with her trauma and grief and come to a place of peace. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness seems to cast this idea aside (despite Elizabeth Olsen working with Sam Raimi to consider the implications of WandaVision) and to not explore what Scarlet Witch was like on the other side of the pain that she has gone through would be a disservice to both the character and the viewers.
To make matters worse, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness’ Scarlet Witch death appears to severely damage two major plots that have already been put into motion. While Agatha: House of Harkness might be able to explore Agatha Harkness’ story outside of Scarlet Witch, the two characters are tightly interwoven so far. A larger problem rests in the love story between Scarlet Witch and Vision. While Vision has died, he lives on both in Wanda Maximoff and the White Vision body that is created in WandaVision and left open-ended at the conclusion of the series. If Scarlet Witch has died in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and does not return in her current form then it will irrevocably damage the potential that Vision and Agatha Harkness’ stories had going forward and represents a betrayal from Marvel against viewers who became truly invested in those tales.