April 21, 2021

DCTRS

Damascus Center for Theoretical and Civil Rights Studies

‘WandaVision’: Billy and Tommy Maximoff may be Marvel heroes

This story contains spoilers for the third episode of “WandaVision.”

First came love, then came marriage, then came babies in a (double-wide) baby carriage.

In the third episode of “WandaVision,” Wanda experiences a mysterious magical pregnancy that, within the span of a day, leads to the birth of her and Vision’s twin boys, Tommy and Billy. And this introduction of their children could mean the eventual appearance of the superheroes Wiccan and Speed in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

In the comics, Wiccan, a.k.a. Billy Kaplan, and Speed, a.k.a. Tommy Shepherd, are members of the Young Avengers. It’s a next-gen superhero team whose lineup has included Kate Bishop (who will be introduced in the Disney+ series “Hawkeye”), Cassie Lang (who has already been seen in the MCU and will be back in the upcoming “Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania”) and America Chavez (who will appear in “Doctor Strange in the Multitude of Madness”).

So far, “WandaVision” has barely hinted at what is actually happening around Wanda and Vision. But the birth of their children — particularly in a place that seems to be affected by Wanda’s reality-altering powers — has broader implications when you consider the (complicated) comic-book storylines around Billy, Tommy and Wanda’s grief.

Wanda’s pregnancy

In the 12-issue series “The Vision and the Scarlet Witch” (1985-1986), Wanda and Vision basically quit the Avengers and move to a New Jersey suburb. But quitting doesn’t mean they aren’t routinely pulled back in to fight various villains.

Early in the series, Wanda and Vision encounter a group of witches led by the descendants of Wanda’s mentor. The skirmish between them concludes with Wanda channeling outside magical powers in order to avoid catastrophe — which leads to her becoming pregnant, as the couple had already been discussing.

Wanda’s comic-book pregnancy lasts much longer than the one in “WandaVision,” so it’s not until “The Vision and the Scarlet Witch” No. 12, by Steve Englehart and Richard Howell, that Wanda gives birth to Thomas and William. The babies, delivered by Doctor Strange, are actually named after people who in the comics helped make Vision the synthezoid man that he is.

The truth about the babies

Neither pregnancy nor being a mother kept Scarlet Witch from the field, so she and Vision eventually became part of another branch of the Avengers. And a lot of things go terribly for the couple in the “Vision Quest” arc of “The West Coast Avengers.”

John Byrne’s 1989 storyline sees Vision kidnapped and disassembled, only to be put back together without his memories or the brain patterns that give him his personality and emotions. Then Wanda herself is kidnapped and brainwashed. The plot culminates with the revelation that Wanda and Vision’s toddlers, Thomas and William, aren’t quite real.

It turns out Thomas and William were magically created from lost pieces of the villain Mephisto’s soul. They were kidnapped and reclaimed by Mephisto’s proxy, Master Pandemonium (who absorbed them into his arms, which looks as horrifying as it sounds).

Wanda is understandably devastated, but her memory is temporarily altered so she forgets about the kids’ existence. Things turn tragic yet again after Wanda remembers and wants them back so badly that her reality-warping powers spin out of control (see Brian Michael Bendis and Olivier Coipel’s 2005 limited series “House of M”).

Wiccan and Speed

Billy Kaplan and Tommy Shepherd are introduced in Allen Heinberg and Jim Cheung’s 2005-06 “Young Avengers” series. Billy, who like Wanda has magical powers, is part of the team from the start. Tommy, who like Wanda’s twin brother Pietro is a speedster, is introduced a little later in the run.

Their uncanny resemblance is noted immediately, and it’s eventually confirmed that the two are essentially reincarnations of Wanda and Vision’s children. Beyond their impressive pedigree, Billy and Tommy are notably both LGBTQ characters. Billy has been in a relationship with fellow Young Avenger Teddy Altman (a.k.a. Hulkling, an alien royal) since their debut. Tommy has been romantically linked to characters such as Kate Bishop (a.k.a. Hawkeye) and David Alleyne (a.k.a. Prodigy) over the years.

The Tommy and Billy in “WandaVision” are still newborns for now, but their birth opens up a swath of possible (and more inclusive) storylines for the MCU to explore in the future.