Avengers: Age of Ultron and WandaVision both demonstrate that Wanda has a connection to the Mind Stone. So why is she susceptible to the zombie virus?
Warning: Contains spoilers for Marvel’s What If…? episode 5.
In What If…? episode 5, “What If…Zombies!?,” it isn’t immediately clear how Scarlet Witch has been infected by the zombie virus given her connection to the Mind Stone. Despite Thanos destroying the Mind Stone in Avengers: Endgame, the Infinity Stone has remained important to several plotlines in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. This was particularly helped by the connection to it that was demonstrated to still exist for both Wanda and Vision in WandaVision.
In What If…?, after a zombie virus is brought back from the Quantum Realm by Hank Pym, only a small band of survivors are shown with even many of the MCU’s heroes having succumbed to the plague. When the survivors find Vision (Paul Bettany), he’s shown to be immune to the virus due to his android body. Moreover, because the virus works by overloading the brain’s limbic system, the zombies are kept at bay by the frequency emitted by the Mind Stones that is a part of Vision’s forehead. Vision explains that by using the Mind Stone he is able to cure people of the infection, demonstrating his ability to do so through the presence of Scott Lang’s (Paul Rudd) head.
The origin of Wanda Maximoff’s powers has been somewhat obfuscated by the MCU. In Avengers: Age of Ultron claimed that she received her powers from experiments based on Loki’s scepter, which contained the Mind Stone. However, WandaVision suggests that, as the Scarlet Witch, Wanda always had powers and they were merely dormant until they were awakened by the Mind Stone. Either way, it’s been established that she’s entangled with the Mind Stone, with her ability to create a replica of the original Vision in WandaVision by drawing on part of the Mind Stone that still remains within her. This would mean that the part of the Mind Stone in her should render her immune to the zombie virus in What If…?, or at least grant her a superior resistance to it.
The fact that Scarlet Witch is susceptible to the zombie virus in What If…? suggests that Vision’s explanation of how the Mind Stone keeps the zombies away is overly simplified. Vision’s own immunity must be entirely based on the fact that he is an android who cannot be bitten. While he implies that the Mind Stone naturally emits its frequency, Vision must have to make a conscious effort to set up a perimeter. This would explain why Wanda’s passive connection to the Mind Stone would not naturally make her immune to What If…?’s zombie virus.
This is supported by the fact that when, confronted by the horrors of his own actions, Vision destroys himself by removing the Mind Stone from his head, the zombies immediately are able to cross the barrier that had existed before. While the Mind Stone is still present, it no longer protects the survivors from the zombies, leaving them to have to flee. More clarification on how the Mind Stone functions against the zombies might be given later in the series as this is another episode of What If…? that seems to self-consciously set up a sequel in the same timeline.
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Marvel’s What If…? releases new episodes every Wednesday on Disney+.
- Eternals (2021)Release date: Nov 05, 2021
- Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021)Release date: Dec 17, 2021
- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)Release date: Mar 25, 2022
- Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)Release date: May 06, 2022
- Black Panther: Wakanda Forever/Black Panther 2 (2022)Release date: Jul 08, 2022
- The Marvels/Captain Marvel 2 (2022)Release date: Nov 11, 2022
- Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania (2023)Release date: Feb 17, 2023
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 (2023)Release date: May 05, 2023
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Why Scarlet Witch Still Became A Marvel Zombie (Despite Mind Stone Powers)