WandaVision: How Is Vision Alive After Infinity War?
WandaVision’s MCU phase 4 opener brings back Vision, despite the android’s death at the end of Infinity War, but how is his revival possible?
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Warning: Spoilers follow for WandaVision episodes 1 and 2.
WandaVision has arrived as the first release of the MCU’s Phase 4, bringing a strange energy, a huge sense of mystery and the confusing revelation that Vision seems to be alive. Given that the android was one of the biggest deaths of Infinity War prior to Thanos’ fateful snap, that may be particularly perplexing for fans, but it’s that mystery that is central to the first Disney+ MCU show. So how is it possible?
Scarlet Witch’s journey to the start of Phase 4 was one defined by extreme traumatic events. She was born into conflict, saw her parents killed (for which she blamed Tony Stark) and volunteered herself for experiments by HYDRA that killed most of her fellow test subjects. Then came the death of her twin, the accidental mass murder of innocent civilians in Africa and finally the death of Vision and her own temporary death. Add to that the fact that she was imprisoned as a threat by her own team-mates and it’s little wonder her mental state is volatile. WandaVision answers the question of what happens when Wanda finally lets her past really catch up with her, but not in the way fans may have expected. Instead of an outright catastrophe, WandaVision revives Vision. But that may not be a good thing.
While the first two episodes don’t outright answer the conundrum, there are major hints to what Wanda has done and how the android has shrugged off his Infinity War death. And more importantly, there’s also some indication of whether or not it will be permanent and if MCU fans can expect to see Paul Bettany’s character returning to Phase 4’s other projects in some way.
Proof Vision Is “Alive” In WandaVision
It is immediately obvious in the first episode that the audience is supposed to understand that Vision is indeed alive in this world. He has his own agency, even if Wanda is at the center of the narrative and he seems to be as confused about the memories he doesn’t have or the inconsistencies of Westview. It is, after all, him that Wanda is trying to keep from whatever truth the S.W.O.R.D. beekeeper at the end of WandaVision’s first episode is threatening to uncover. Wanda’s agenda throughout the two episodes seems to be upholding the status quo of her new reality, stopping the Westview residents from discovering who they are (and that they’re superpowered most importantly) and keeping Vision safe. His naivety is played off comically, but the implication is that it could be dangerous to their secret-keeping as Vision seems intent on reminding Wanda of reality – whether through showing off his powers or revealing she is from Sokovia. But the fact that he no more understands how he came to be there than Wanda sets him apart from the other Westview residents; he is not in with the Stepford Wives, as it were. That firmly suggests that he is reborn, at least to the limits of conventional thinking.
As in the comics, it seems that Scarlet Witch’s trauma has inspired a fight or flight response that chose neither and instead uses her powers to hide from that trauma. Faced with a life that had grown entirely unbearable, Wanda gave herself back what was taken, using her powers to create her own ideal world. And why sitcoms? Because they were a slice of idealized Americana that presented the idea of the perfect family life: a housewife, a working husband, 2.4 children. Unfortunately, it appears that WandaVision is a lie, perpetuated by Wanda (though not necessarily started by her – there may be another force in play seeking to manipulate her vulnerabilities) to save herself from her own distressing life.
Vision’s Death Is The Heart Of WandaVision
Obviously, the question of why WandaVision is alive is just as important to explore at this point, particularly as Quicksilver and Wanda’s parents have not been similarly revived. If this world is indeed a projection designed to hide Wanda from the reality of her life then this would suggest that of all of Wanda’s trauma, Vision’s death was the worst. That death, after all, was different: yes, she loved him and she saw in him something reflected of herself (they were both created, both powered by the Mind Stone, and both intended to be weapons), but there’s more to it. Wanda was forced to use the same thing that bonded her and Vision together to kill him and that would have an incredible, unthinkable impact on even the sturdiest of minds. Scarlet Witch had been labeled a threat to the Avengers already, both when she was aligned with Ultron and then when she lost control of her powers somewhat in Captain America: Civil War. Killing Vision confirmed to her that she was what they worried she could be, and she did it willingly. It would be no surprise if her very core was dedicated to trying to undo that any way she could.
Infinity War Proved Vision Could Live On Without The Mind Stone
There’s an added complexity here as well because technically, the MCU has already set a precedent suggesting that Vision could have survived Infinity War and indeed that Vision could live on without the Mind Stone if a way to genuinely revive him were found. Shuri’s efforts to “unpick” Vision from the Stone were complex, but given enough time they would have been fruitful and while Vizh may have lost some of his powers that didn’t matter as long as some element of his humanity remained. And it’s not like the MCU used his powers all that much anyway. The important thing here is that Vision had the means to live and the MCU had established that logic, meaning that if Wanda were able to recover his body and use her powers to return what was taken from him (replacing the Mind Stone), it would be theoretically possible. The problem, though, is that her apparent creation of an entire fantasy ecosystem (if not hers, someone else’s) seems to be focused on keeping Vision alive and unaware, which does not bode well for his future.
Is Vision A Projection? Or Can He Survive WandaVision?
Were Vision no more than another fake furnishing of a completely fake world, you could be forgiven for thinking that he wouldn’t be able to have scenes in WandaVision separate from his wife. In other words, if this was a Truman Show situation starring Wanda (even with herself as the director), Vision would simply cease to exist when he wasn’t in her sight. But Vision goes to work and interacts with the husband’s neighborhood watch, so it can’t be the case. There is, however, a hint in those scenes of him being Wanda’s creation, just as she built herself an idealized world in the House of M comics event. Vision’s look and behavior is very much modeled on what you’d expect someone to believe their husband should be doing if the only frame of reference were these sitcoms. He barely even seems to be in control of himself and when he is – during the talent show notably – Wanda has to work harder to cover the “magic trick”.
The hint here is that Wanda has created this entire world for the benefit of Vision. The Westview residents are pawns in the game – which is perhaps why the Harts suffer so much pain during the dinner party – and Wanda fears exposure so much she’s willing to change the whole framework of the universe to stop it falling apart. And crucially, to keep Vision alive with her. The fact that he fails to react to her becoming pregnant in anything like a normal way and seems unconcerned by the change to color at the end of episode 2 is both a testament to her success and a chilling warning. Because if Vision is an embedded, oblivious part of Wanda’s fake world in WandaVision, it’s unlikely he’s going to be able to escape it.