WandaVision revealed that Agnes is really Agatha Harkness, a powerful witch, but her origin in the Marvel show and the comics is very different.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for WandaVision Episode 8, “Previously Activated,” which is now airing on Disney +.
The eighth episode of WandaVision took viewers back in time, forcing Wanda Maximoff to face her most traumatic moments while also explaining how she had the power to create the reality of Westview’s comedy. However, it also showed the story of another character: Agatha Harkness.
Like in the comics, Agatha Harkness is a witch who has been around for a long time and was once part of a community in Salem, Massachusetts, the site of the infamous Salem witch trials. However, Agatha Harkness in the comics looks little like Agatha from WandaVision.
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In WandaVision, Agatha was the daughter of a powerful Salem witch. However, her coven, led by her mother, dragged her into a clearing and put her on trial for dark witchcraft. Agatha was accused of practicing magic “outside her age” and of dabbling in the dark arts. She begged the other witches to help her, saying that she couldn’t fully control him, but they found her guilty of betraying the coven. As punishment, the witches appeared to magically sap her power, a process that seemed destined to lead to her death.
However, Agatha was too strong for her elders, and she knocked them all down, leaving the old witches withered and dead. The only witch left alive was her mother. Agatha asked her for help, but her mother said she was too dangerous to live and launched her own attack. Agatha defended herself and, proving that she was even more powerful than her mother, took her own life in the same way that she did with the other witches. Throughout this episode of WandaVision, Agatha also proves that she is a witch superior to Wanda in every way except general power. And at the end of the installment, Agatha tells Wanda what her elders once told her: Wanda is too powerful and labels her as the mythical Scarlet Witch.
This is very different from the comics. Agatha Harkness made her debut in Fantastic four # 94 by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Joe Sinnott, and Sam Rosen. Reed Richards and Susan Storm hired her to be their son Franklin Richards’ nanny, and over time Agatha proved to be a powerful ally, a witch who helped them more than once. Like in WandaVision, Agatha has been alive for centuries, however in the comics her life is even longer, dating back to at least 10,500 BC. Before Atlantis sank under the ocean.
She eventually went to Salem, but once she was in the Massachusetts colony, she was neither banished nor exiled. In New star Vol. 2 # 7 by Fabian Nicieza, Chris Marrinan, David Boller, Robert Walker, Mark Stegbauer, Starkings / Comicraft and Tom Smith, Agatha revealed that she worked on both sides of the fence, delivering weaker witches to the Salem Witch Trials but saving powerful witches to strengthen their coven. Finally, Agatha led the other witches to New Salem in Colorado to escape persecution. This was a place that only those who wielded magical powers could enter.
It was here that the witches tried Agatha Harkness for betraying the coven. However, the reason for his trial was very different from that of WandaVision and it had a different result. After Agatha left New Salem to become a governess for children in need, her son Nicholas Scratch took over as New Salem’s leader. Like the witches in WandaVision, the witches in the comics tried Agatha, accusing her of betraying the coven, in this case because she worked with the Fantastic Four. In Fantastic four # 185-186, Scratch kidnapped Franklin Richards and Agatha, seeking to end their mother’s life for her betrayal. However, the Fantastic Four appeared and saved her. The New Salem witches realized that Scratch was evil, so Agatha received her freedom and left the community in peace. So even though Agatha was tried for treason in both the TV show and the comics, the cause and results were different, and in the comics, the character never took the dark turn that she has on. WandaVision.
Written by Jac Schaeffer and directed by Matt Shakman, WandaVision stars Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff / Scarlet Witch, Paul Bettany as Vision, Randall Park as Agent Jimmy Woo, Kat Dennings as Darcy Lewis, Teyonah Parris as Monica Rambeau and Kathryn Hahn like Agnes. New episodes air Fridays on Disney +.
KEEP READING: A WandaVision Guide: News, Easter Eggs, Reviews, Summaries, Theories, and Rumors
WandaVision Episode 8, “Previously In”, recap and spoilers
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