August 2, 2021

DCTRS

Damascus Center for Theoretical and Civil Rights Studies

‘WandaVision’ episode 4: Monica Rambeau backstory to know

This story contains spoilers from the first four episodes of “WandaVision.”

One thing has been clear about “WandaVision” from the very beginning: Things are not as they seem.

The fourth episode of Marvel Studios’ Disney+ series reveals that, as suspected, Wanda’s powers are responsible for the alternate sitcom reality that she is inhabiting with Vision. It also confirms that Wanda’s neighbor Geraldine, played by Teyonah Parris, is actually Captain Monica Rambeau of S.W.O.R.D. Being pulled into the mysterious sitcom reality in Westview had caused her to forget her true identity and the existence of the outside world.

It was never a secret that there was more to Geraldine than just being Wanda’s new neighbor — Parris’ casting announcement and the show’s press materials all said she was playing Monica Rambeau. And even within the events of the story, there were plenty of hints that she is different from the other residents of Westview.

The Marvel Cinematic Universe’s version of Monica was first introduced in the 1990s-set film “Captain Marvel” (2019) as the young daughter of Carol Danvers’ best friend, Maria Rambeau. Carol, who was considered family by the Rambeaus, even called young Monica “Lieutenant Trouble.”

Teyonah Parris as Geraldine, left, and Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff in “WandaVision.”

(Suzanne Tenner / Marvel Studios)

At a press event prior to “WandaVision’s” premiere, Parris explained that “through the course of the show, we find out what [Monica’s] been up to [since ‘Captain Marvel’], what’s happened for her between that gap in the years and how she’s grown and evolved.”

The opening moments of the fourth episode reveal that Monica was among the population who disappeared with Thanos’ “snap” in “Avengers: Infinity War” (2018). The episode picks up moments after the “blip” — when everyone gone was brought back into existence in “Avengers: Endgame“(2019) thanks to some time travel.

After the dust settles, we learn that Monica has followed her mother and aunt Carol into a career protecting Earth. It turns out Maria, who like Carol was a trained pilot, built S.W.O.R.D., or the “Sentient Weapon Observation Response Division,” sometime after the events of “Captain Marvel.” In the comics, S.W.O.R.D. is a space-based organization that keeps an eye out for threats from outside of Earth and it appears the MCU’s version has a similar mission.

Monica Rambeau has a pretty extensive comic book history. Her first appearance was in Roger Stern and John Romita Jr.’s “The Amazing Spider-Man Annual” No. 16 in 1982 as a lieutenant in the New Orleans Harbor Patrol who gained superpowers after being struck with a blast of extradimensional energy.

The media called her Captain Marvel, which made her the first female superhero to use that name, and she even went on to join the Avengers. She has gone by multiple superhero aliases over the years — including Photon, Pulsar and most recently, Spectrum — because people kept adopting the name she was already using.

In addition to leading the Avengers, she has been affiliated with other superhero teams such as Nextwave and the Ultimates. She’s battled plenty of foes, including alien forces, and she has also been sent on missions in outer space.

For now, it appears the MCU’s incarnation of Monica does not possess any superhuman powers. But maybe events in “WandaVision” will change that.