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What is the Nexus in Marvel comic books? The WandaVision reference explained

Page from Man-Thing #22
(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

Episode 7 of WandaVision finally revealed something we kind of knew all along, but it also kicked down doors that might lead to a slew of new possibilities for the MCU. 

And though the new episode may have been mostly transitional, we're about to pierce the surface and break things down - because what seems to have been revealed in WandaVision episode 7 is about to get quite bizarre. 

In Marvel comic books, Wanda's powers started as sort of nebulous 'Hex Powers,' which caused misfortune to befall those she afflicted with her 'Hex' (Dr. Darcy Lewis coins the term in the MCU in episode 5 of WandaVision). As time went on, Wanda's numerous magical encounters led to revelations about her connection to Marvel's magical, arcane forces, beyond her mutant abilities. 

WandaVision has already shown how powerful Wanda's innate reality-altering powers are, and now it looks like the show is about to head into explaining Wanda's potential in the MCU beyond being "weird," as her powers were originally described by Maria Hill in Avengers: Age of Ultron. 

Spoilers for WandaVision below

At the end of WandaVision episode 7, Wanda finds herself in the basement of her neighbor Agnes, who finally reveals herself to be the dark witch Agatha Harkness. Agnes secretly being Agatha has been telegraphed almost from the start with the first trailer's glimpse of her Halloween witch costume hinting at her true nature right from the beginning.

Still from WandaVision

is this what realtors mean by "finished basement" (Image credit: Marvel Studios)

Agatha's basement was lined with eerie columns and seemingly endless corridors marked with arcane symbols, all overgrown with dark purple vines, looking more like a stereotypical fantasy witch's lair than something you find in a home built in the 20th century. 

We even got a small look at what appears to be a version of the Darkhold, a tome of evil magical knowledge with ties to Doctor Strange that was previously adapted in different forms in Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Hulu's Runaways.

But before we get to ancient tomes, let's talk about something much, much, older – at least in Marvel Universe terms. 

Let's talk about Nexus Beings

Along with past episodes, WandaVision episode seven featured a commercial for an antidepressant called "Nexus," similar to pharmaceutical commercials which have become ubiquitous on modern American television.

According to the ad's dialogue, Nexus can "anchor you back to reality - or the reality of your choice." The commercial's slogan implies even more about Wanda, considering her reality-warping powers and the nature of Westview – "Because reality doesn’t revolve around you."

Nexus in WandaVision

ask for doctor if you're healthy enough to watch WandaVision (Image credit: Disney/Marvel)

That hints that Wanda's current situation may indeed tie into the multiverse, and the Nexus of All Realities from Marvel Comics may be the key to the whole mystery.

In comic books, Wanda isn't just a mutant (or maybe a mutant at all, her origins have had some retcons over the years). She's something more powerful, more cosmic. As sensed by the Marvel Comics chaos deity Chthon when she was born, Wanda's mutant powers give her a connection to the mystical forces of the Marvel Universe.

In comic book terms, she's what's called a 'Nexus Being,' or 'Nexi.' 

Much like her husband Vision, the great wizard Merlin, and even Kang the Conqueror, each Nexus Being has a power unique just to them, but each is extremely powerful.

Nexi have displayed abilities ranging anywhere from the deadly art of necromancy to Wanda's reality-altering Hex abilities, and far beyond.

In Marvel Comics, the Nexi of each respective reality in Marvel's Multiverse personifies the essence of their realm and serves as the mystical anchor of that world. 

Immortus

Immortus in Avengers Forever #8 (Image credit: Marvel Comics)

First appearing in Avengers West Coast Vol 2 #61, the concept of Nexus Beings came into play when Immortus, one of the time-traveling Kang's many alter egos, brings forth enemies of the future which included the much-forgotten Oort the Living Comet (hey, Quicksilver needs bad guys too, right?).

However, in the great words of Benedict from Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing, "there's a double meaning to that."

In MCU terms, 'Nexus' could also refer to the information hub Tony Stark uses in Avengers: Age of Ultron to track down his menacing creation. And given Wanda's direct connections to Ultron, there's no ruling out that the terminology could refer back to that film.

That said, WandaVision is clearly building to something grander and more mystical in its final episodes, leading toward some of its plot threads apparently picking back up in the upcoming sequel Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. So the 'Nexus' recurrence from Age of Ultron could be a coincidence – or it could mean that there was even something Multiversal in play way back then.

When it comes to Marvel Studios, you can't rule it out.

What's the Nexus of All Realities and how does it work? 

First appearing in Marvel's Fear #11 back in 1972, the so-called Nexus of All Realities acts as a cross-dimensional gateway that provides access to all possible worlds of the Multiverse (apt name, right?).

1972's Fear #11

1972's Fear #11 (Image credit: Marvel Comics)

This is the place where all the realities of the Multiverse intersect…and even interact.

As such, the Nexus (we're gonna shorten it down) has been kind of an ultimate MacGuffin for many Marvel stories and has been used as shorthand in many cases when characters need to move between realities.

In WandaVision episode seven, we saw Wanda apparently losing her grip on Westview, with things glitching and reverting back to the previous decades the town has embodied, from the twins' game console controllers eventually becoming Uno cards, to her fireplace being transforming into a potbelly stove.

If Westview is connected to the MCU's Nexus, and MCU Wanda is also some version of a Nexus Being, the glitches may hint that a house call from Doctor Strange may be in order – perhaps leading directly to Wanda's confirmed appearances in Multiverse of Madness.

Though Marvel Comics lore has not confirmed whether the Nexus was somehow created or if it's a natural feature, it has one other key feature that could play a role in WandaVision – a guardian.

There's Something About Man-Thing

Debuting in 1971's Savage Tales #1, Marvel's Man-Thing (the jokes do and have written themselves) is one of the publisher's weirdest but most enduring cult-favorite characters - and major player where the Nexus of All Realities is concerned. 

Often portrayed as the so-called 'guardian' of the Nexus, Man-Thing is the twisted identity of Dr. Ted Sallis, a once human scientist who was transformed into a creature of hulking plant matter when his experiments mixed with the mystical waters in the swamp where he makes his home – later identified as an aspect of the Nexus itself.

(Man-Thing, created by Stan Lee, Roy Thomas, Gerry Conway, and Grey Morrow, sure sounds a lot like DC's more famous Swamp Thing. But Man-Thing predates Swamp Thing by three years.)

Man-Thing has been a part of numerous comic book stories, including his early horror-fueled Man-Thing ongoing title from Steve Gerber which established much of the creature's place in the Marvel Universe.

Man-Thing's swamp, later identified as an aspect of the Nexus, started out as 'ground zero' for horrific and magical occurrences, which evolved into the thinning of the veil between realities. Given how swampy Agnes's lair is, could there be a physical connection between her basement and the MCU version of the Nexus? And if so, could Man-Thing himself appear?

Weirdly (and what isn't weird when Man-Thing is involved?), Man-Thing was already adapted into an eponymous horror movie in 2005, which was one of the first movies ever produced by Marvel Entertainment, leading to the creation of Marvel Studios.

One more interesting tidbit - 2021 is the 50th anniversary of Man-Thing’s creation, with Marvel Comics planning a mini-event titled Curse of the Man-Thing to crossover with the Avengers, Spider-Man, and X-Men this summer.

What does this mean for the twins or "Pietro"?

In comic books, Wanda and Vision's twins Billy and Tommy are revealed to have been created by Wanda's reality-shifting abilities and Mephisto's dark magic, which was inadvertently channeled into Wanda herself through Agatha Harkness empowering Wanda. 

In WandaVision episode 7, Billy complains about how there's a buzzing in his head and it's so loud and getting louder - until he goes over to Agnes/Agatha's house next door and it's quiet. There's not even noise in the background in that scene. 

Wanda and Agatha Harkness

Look familiar?  (Image credit: Marvel Comics)

Later, when Wanda investigates and Agatha has revealed herself, both actors Olsen and Hahn mirror the scene where Wanda learns the truth about her world as well as her children – that Agatha has been manipulating everything in Westview behind the scenes since the start of the show.

Wanda doesn't take the news well – and trauma about the true nature of her sons is what led directly to the mega-event House of M, which destroyed the Avengers in its lead-up, and decimated Marvel's mutantkind in its aftermath.

As for WandaVision's 'Pietro,' it seems likely at this point that he's not supposed to be a "recast" version of Aaron Taylor-Johnson's character from Avengers: Age of Ultron. Could this instead be Pietro from another universe, crossing over to the MCU through the Nexus? Or in an even weirder twist, could he be a version of the villainous alt-reality speedster Whizzer/Speed Demon/Blur of the Squadron Supreme, who are at the center of this summer's Heroes Reborn comic book event?

With only two episodes left, there are far more questions than answers about Wanda's powers and what they mean for not only the show. Can she utilize her Nexus abilities to set things right? Can she transfer people from other realities into the MCU?

Wanda may have been manipulated by Agatha, but her true power over reality seems to be the real driving factor behind WandaVision and Westview. The strongest character in the MCU has been there in front of us all along and we're about to see where this power takes her.