I want to talk about Wanda Maximoff in the MCU and specifically in Civil War today. I know nobody is going to read this, but I want to talk about it. I’ve seen a lot of different reactions to what happened to her, most contained in a sentence or two, and I admit I haven’t done the best job myself dealing with it, in meta or in fic. But I thought about it a lot last night and want to try to work it out.
I don’t even want to deal with “I cannot control their fear, I can only control my own.” I just want to deal with “you locked me in my room.”
It’s such a childish line, but Wanda Maximoff is not a child. The narrative of Civil War goes out of its way to say she is, but it’s a back and fourth. One minute she’s locked in her room, one minute Steve sees her as a child in need of protection, the next her temper tantrums graduate to actually pushing a loved one through half a dozen floors, or throwing cars.
Let’s review who Wanda Maximoff is. She’s an adult. She’s not a US citizen and, judging by how much respect for authority and law Steve has, something tells me she doesn’t have a Visa or a green card and no one wanted to say anything…while the Avengers were still a popular institution. Plus, it does take a while to get that type of documentation, especially if it’s for a permanent stay. So she’s an undocumented, super powered, adult on US soil continuously drawing attention to herself with her powers.
She’s also a former Nazi. We don’t talk about this much because it’s gross and it never should have happened, but it did and that means we need to deal with it. Wanda and Pietro volunteered to be experimented on by HYDRA so they could get revenge on the man and the world they hated. They literally volunteered to work for the Nazis.
She enabled Ultron with far more intent than Tony or Bruce ever did, she turned the Hulk deliberately on a crowded area on Johannesburg.
Wanda Maximoff, at this point, is an adult foreign national living on US soil (likely without documentation and therefore much legal recourse), a former Nazi, and someone with immense powers.
She’s also, by and large, untrained. Look at Lagos–it’s a training mission. Steve and Natasha are training her. They’re talking her through a recon and showing her the ropes. It’s all kinds of gross that they bring her into the field and decide to train her using the citizens of Lagos as essentially props.
(Don’t think I don’t notice that Wanda’s two biggest fuck-ups happen in African nations. I think largely this can be attributed to a studio choice, and knowing that, grossly, a large segment of their audience would forgive her far quicker for being complicit–purposefully or through a general team negligence–in the deaths of Black people than they would be White people. That’s the gross reality of the world. I do think there’s an interesting characterization argument here too, but that would be a massive digression).
Steve and Natasha are training Wanda on essentially running recon in Nigeria. Wanda says “You guys know I can move things with my mind, right?” This makes me think she feels this portion of herself is being overlooked. Essentially, Steve and Natasha feel she’s “got that,” work with her on other aspects of running a mission, and assume the mind stuff is handled. But she’s undisciplined, and her powers seem by and large triggered by instinct and emotion. And look, I’m not trying to sound like “she should have done better”, but yes, I am. If you’re using your powers in the field, you should have finer control.
Unless, of course, it’s a training mission. With real, live people involved.
So let’s review. Wanda Maximoff is an adult foreign national, likely undocumented with little legal recourse. She’s a former Nazi and has wreaked her fair amount of havoc on the world. Now, as an Avenger, she has little training and has superiors who honestly think training her on active missions is a great idea.
We’re all caught up.
In Civil War, Wanda is locked in the compound. It’s rather like administrative leave pending investigation, with the added caveat that a.) she’s not technically legally in the country and b.) she’s a danger to others. If others push her–and we see on the news that they’re calling for her head–she’ll lash out. How do we know? Well, she’s lashed out at the Avengers before (the visions), and soon enough, she’ll do it to Vision, doing something that would literally kill a normal human.
If the world was clear and good, and Civil War didn’t happen, I would hope this “administrative leave” would conclude that a.) Wanda did have the best intentions, b.) if she didn’t act worse would have happened, c.) Steve and Natasha deserve just as much if not more censor for literally having a training exercise with people’s lives on the line and d.) more training–structured and controlled–is required. Except, of course, it would have been half-assed, because who would have been concluding this? Who would have enforced it?
Tony made this choice to place her in the Compound. Should he have told her? Should the man Wanda has spent her life hating, the man Wanda pushed to feel the necessity of Ultron, the man Wanda literally joined a Nazi organization for so she could get back at him, be in any position to communicate with her?
Tony had Vision stay with her and ultimately tell her. Should Wanda’s friend, closest friend, be in that position? Who else?
This is what I’ve been driving at. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was, I don’t know, some sort of council or something that jointly made discipline decisions, amongst other things, so the decision could be official, technically impartial, and followed through? Wouldn’t it be nice if the Avengers kept one hand on the wheel so they could work out a discipline system they trust and believe in with a council they have a mutual trust or at least respect with?
Wouldn’t it be nice if a board reviewed what happened while Wanda was in the compound, concluded what I said above in my points, and meanwhile the Avengers PR works on the press perception of her so she’s safe? Wouldn’t it be nice if it wasn’t Tony trying to protect her and everyone else and not having the means or resources, but rather a system in place?
Wanda Maximoff and what happened to her isn’t an argument against the Accords. She is literally one of the biggest arguments as to why the Accords and some sort of official body to govern the Avengers are necessary. This is what discipline, order, and limitations means, and to me, it looks a whole hell of a lot better than anything else.