Marvel Studios' upcoming Disney Plus streaming series WandaVision seems to be placing a focus on adapting the torrid comic book romance of Wanda Maximoff/the Scarlet Witch and Vision.
Some of what that entails has already been seen previously in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, through their star-crossed affair as an Infinity Stone-enhanced human and a synthezoid who must overcome his own destruction – but one of the more off-kilter aspects of their comic book history may also take center stage in the series: their twin sons William and Thomas.
If you're wondering how an artificial man without human biology can father children, the answer to that and the implications of that answer may be at the heart of the conflict in WandaVision, as it was in the show's comic book source material.
Who are William and Thomas?
As in the movies, Vision and Scarlet Witch developed a complicated romance in the comic books culminating in their wedding, which led, naturally, to Wanda's desire to build a family and have children – a prospect stymied by Vision's lack of human reproductive material (it's been implied he has human-like reproductive physiognomy, so sex is possible but reproduction isn't).
Enter Agatha Harkness, a powerful witch who has served as Wanda Maximoff's mentor over the years (though she was first introduced as a nanny for Franklin Richards in Fantastic Four). Though she'd later take Wanda under her wing, the pair first met in a noted haven for witches, New Salem, Colorado, facing down a coven of magical villains named Salem's Seven; a group comprised of Harkness's grandchildren, fathered by her son Nicholas Scratch.
When Salem's Seven are defeated after burning Agatha Harkness at the stake, she enters an astral form and imbues Wanda with massive amounts of magical energy from the Seven – magical power Wanda uses to form her twin sons William and Thomas, who become the consummation (of sorts) of her marriage to Vision.
Though William and Thomas are infants and appear as human children, seen swaddled in blankets in the WandaVision trailer, they are not actually flesh-and-blood in comic books. Instead, they're magical manifestations of part of the soul essence of the demonic Master Pandemonium, one of the many guises of the devilish Marvel Comics villain Mephisto, working through a human agent.
Unfortunately, the timing of this revelation couldn't have been worse for Wanda, who was still reeling from the corruption and destruction of her husband the Vision, who had turned evil, tried to conquer the world, and rebuilt as an emotionless husk. All of this is too much for Wanda, whose sanity is threatened by the series of events.
To end the madness, Agatha Harkness reabsorbs the twins back into Master Pandemonium's soul, and erases their memory from Scarlet Witch's mind. But the memory of her children returns when Wanda is rescued from the real culprit behind the entire thing – Immortus, one of the many guises of the time-traveling Kang, the villain of Ant-Man 3 to reportedly be played by Jonathan Majors.
Years later, Wanda finally loses her grip on reality and attacks her own teammates, the Avengers - leading to the (temporary) deaths of Hawkeye, Vision, Ant-Man, and more in a story-arc titled 'Avengers: Disassembled.' And of course, that story led to House of M – an even more complex reality-bending story that had its own easter egg in the WandaVision trailer.
Who are Wiccan and Speed?
The defeat of Mephisto and Immortus and the disappearance of the magically created William and Thomas wasn't the end of the twins' story. The human portion of their souls, created from Scarlet Witch's power and Mephisto's dark magic, were reincarnated as the human children Billy Kaplan and Tommy Shepherd who, despite being born and raised separately, each developed mutant powers; with Billy able to alter reality through spellcasting like his mother Scarlet Witch, and Tommy able to run at super-speed like his uncle Quicksilver, Wanda's brother from comic books who perished in the MCU in Avengers: Age of Ultron and who had a more central role in Fox's later X-Men films.
Taking the codenames Wiccan and Speed, Billy and Tommy reunited as Young Avengers - teen heroes who stepped in following the dissolution of the original Avengers in the aforementioned 'Avengers: Dissassembled' and who have connections to the classic team.
As part of the Young Avengers, Billy and Tommy discover their true heritage as the reincarnated children of Vision and Scarlet Witch, and embark on a quest to find her, encountering Quicksilver and Magneto – who was then believed to be Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver's father (it's still kinda up in the air).
They all discover Wanda is hidden in Latveria with Doctor Doom, who plans to marry the now amnesiac Scarlet Witch as part of the culmination of a longterm plan to manipulate her and harness her reality-altering power – a scheme that goes all the way back to 'Avengers: Disassembled,' which is revealed to have all been influenced by Doctor Doom's dark magic as part of his plan to control Wanda.
Wanda and Wiccan are reunited, with Wiccan using magic to restore Wanda's memories, and confirm that he is truly her reincarnated son. The two reluctantly agree to help Doctor Doom cast a spell that Wanda intends to restore the powers of the mutants she depowered on M-Day, in the wake of 'Avengers: Disassembled' and House of M.
But Doom seizes her reality powers instead, forcing Patriot of the Young Avengers to interrupt the ritual, leading to the death of his teammate Stature (as in Cassie Lang, Ant-Man's daughter who has appeared in the MCU alongside her dad), but not before she's able to use Iron Lad's time-travel technology and Wanda's powers to rescue her father, Scott Lang, from his death in the past.
With Cassie dead (she too, got better) – and the Vision destroyed in the final battle of the Avengers against Doctor Doom – the Young Avengers resolve to move forward.
Notably, since then, Wiccan (Billy) has gone on to marry his longtime love interest and Young Avengers teammate Hulkling, and become the official consort of Hulkling's combined Kree/Skrull empire – as seen in this summer's cosmic comic book crossover Empyre.
How does this fit into the Marvel Universe?
With ties to Doctor Doom and Kang, the story of William and Thomas (and their parents Scarlet Witch and Vision) seems to be a possible bridge to the next era of the MCU. Considering both are canonically mutants in comic books, and the WandaVision trailer has a House of M Easter egg that may tie into mutants' introduction into the MCU, it's a potential eventuality that Wiccan and Speed, their young adult alter egos, could factor into the emergence of mutants on film.
And then there's Agatha Harkness – who may actually appear in WandaVision. Though she hasn't been named, it's been hinted at that Kathryn Hahn's mysterious character may in fact be Agatha Harkness herself, perhaps one of the villains of the show. She was previously described as 'Nosey Neighbor' (seemingly an homage to the nosy neighbor Gladys from Bewitched) and subtitles for the first trailer identify her as 'Agnes' - not so different from Agatha, and perhaps a misdirection - after all, it's not like folks don't use fake names in the MCU all the time.
Remember it was Agatha Harkness who originally imbued Wanda with the dark magic that let her conjure her children, and who altered her memories of it – something for which she later paid the price, dying at Wanda's hand (she came back to life, something she's been capable of doing multiple times).
Considering the roles Doctor Doom and Mephisto played in the original story of Scarlet Witch's children and their mother's downfall, could Harkness be an agent of either of these two notable villains?
And of course, that original story also included some involvement from Immortus, who wanted access to Wanda's ability to alter time through her reality-warping powers. Immortus is an older version of Kang, again reportedly the villain of Ant-Man 3.
Remember, Ant-Man died in the original 'Avengers: Disassembled' and was resurrected thanks to the time-travel technology of Iron Lad – another of Kang's identities. Could that storyline be adapted into Ant-Man 3 – and if so, what could it mean for the fate of Cassie Lang, who was aged to teen years in the five-year gap of Avengers: Endgame?
And since Cassie, Billy, and Tommy are all big parts of the Young Avengers - themselves likely candidates for an MCU film down the road - this could all be building to the assembly of that team as well, perhaps spread over several films in the tradition of their adult predecessors.
All of these connections through William and Thomas, along with that House of M Easter egg and Wanda's role in Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness seem to add up to WandaVision being a crucial chapter in setting up the next epoch of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
WandaVision will debut on DisneyPlus later this year, following some updates to the streaming service's MCU schedule.