WandaVision: So Who Is Kathryn Hahn Actually Playing?
In WandaVision Episode 7, we learned a shocking (or not-so-shocking, depending on how deeply embroiled in fan theories you’ve been since the show’s premiere) truth about Kathryn Hahn’s Agnes. Surprise! She’s actually been Agatha Harkness all along, and she even gets her very own theme song to prove it.
But, like many things in WandaVision, this reveal only served to raise more questions than it answered–namely: Who the hell is Agatha Harkness and why does she matter in Wanda’s story? And naturally, while this is still very much a mystery for the MCU, we can look to Agatha’s bizarre comic book history for clues.
Agatha Harkness was first introduced in Fantastic Four #94 back in 1970, but before you break out the red string and start connecting dots on your MCU F4 conspiracy walls just yet, know that her role with the first family of Marvel was a little odd. Rather than existing as a villain for anyone in the Richards family, Agatha was a governess–a fancy nanny–to Reed and Sue’s son, Franklin. Franklin is his own extremely bizarre can of worms, so don’t worry too much about him just yet. The long and the short of those early stories was that Agatha was basically a witchy, more dour version of Mary Poppins. She saved the Fantastic Four a handful of times, and always seemed able to out-smart or out-maneuver their superpowers, despite being a frail looking old lady.
It was revealed that, of course, she was anything but a normal old lady–she was actually an immortal witch with roots going back to ancient times. She was even among the witches who settled in Salem, Massachusetts back in the 17th century, where she survived the witch trials.
Agatha spent a substantial amount of the ’70s jumping around different Marvel titles, assisting in the background with her powerful magic until she eventually came in contact with Wanda Maximoff, who at the time had magic-based powers rather than a mutation. Agatha began tutoring Wanda in witchcraft to help better hone her abilities and eventually even “helped” Wanda and Vision get pregnant with Billy and Tommy 1.0 (for more on that, ).
Unfortunately, the magic she worked to allow a human and a synthezoid to conceive had a bit of a price and it was revealed that the babies were actually “soul fragments” of a demon that Agatha had repurposed. The end result was, uh, baby arms, a lot of angst, and a Marvel universe without a Billy or Tommy for a while (they were eventually reborn demon-free, though, so don’t worry.)
This is where things start to get a little more bizarre. Rather than ever coming clean about her soul fragment mess, Agatha opted to simply wipe Wanda’s memory of her children and continue on her merry way. This worked for a given amount of time–memory wipes were, and in many cases still are, a very common part of most superhero stories, especially after writers have painted themselves into a bit of a corner–but years later, the bill had to be paid. This came through one of Wanda’s more catastrophic breakdowns (no, not House of M), in the Chaos arc of Avengers: Disassembled, a crossover story that ran in the early ’00s.
During Disassembled, Wanda inadvertently had her memory of her children jogged which set of a series of deeply unfortunate events, resulting in the temporary deaths of several Avengers and the eventual confrontation between Agatha and a troubled Wanda. Apparently–though it never actually happens on the page–Wanda murdered Agatha in cold blood when she learned the truth of Agatha’s schemes, such as they were.
The reality of the situation is that Agatha’s motives were never explicitly laid out. She was eventually resurrected, but dropped further into the background, escaping to a life on Wundagore Mountain mostly away from the hustle and bustle of the superheroic world.
Following her debut on WandaVision, Agatha’s place in the live-action MCU is even more puzzling. Though she has never been the warmest or the most overtly loving character in Marvel history, she’s never been a flat out villain, which is what the WandaVision “Agatha All Along” theme song seems to suggest of her live-action counterpart. This could just be a simple case of the MCU making changes and updates to characters to better fit the story in a new medium–it definitely wouldn’t be the first time something like that has happened and it most definitely won’t be the last. MCU Agatha might just be an evil person, full stop.
Or, there could be something else at play here. Even though Episode 7 laid out many of Agatha’s manipulations over the season, it only answered the “how,” rather than the “why.” We still have no idea why Agatha seems to be puppeteering Westview, what she hopes to gain, or why she’s targeting Wanda in the way she seems to be. If it’s a simple game of two witches trying to one-up one another, like some sort of superheroic spin on The Craft, wouldn’t it have been much easier to leave Vision out of it? And if Agatha really is powerful enough to out-magic Wanda, why all the Westview pageantry?
Of course, we also don’t know what’s going on with the twins now, either, which seems significant. Though Agatha’s drive behind allowing Wanda to conceive in the comics was misguided but ultimately altruistic, in the MCU it could be entirely villainous. Agatha could be working toward–or working for–someone who needs that sort of “soul fragment” style manifestation or power to enter the MCU’s main reality–someone like Mephisto, perhaps, or any number of the multiversal “demonic” entities the Marvel universe has to offer. After all, Doctor Strange villain Dormammu is still out there, in theory, and who knows what sort of issues Endgame’s “time heist” causes on his Infinity Stone-constructed prison.
Alternatively, MCU Agatha really could just be an evil person who is strictly in it for herself. Sometimes comic book villains don’t have complicated schemes for world domination; sometimes they just want to prove that they’re the best at what they do–and if you’re a witch, that could very easily mean making a public show of throwing down with someone like Wanda Maximoff.
With only two episodes of WandaVision remaining, definitive answers are hopefully coming soon.
Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email [email protected]