Welcome, X-Fans, to another uncanny edition of X-Men Monday at AIPT!
First appearing in 1964’s X-Men #4 as a member of Magneto’s Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, Wanda Maximoff’s story has taken many unexpected twists and turns — across media. But hey, that’s chaos magic for you! No matter what Wanda’s been through, she gets a fresh start this January in the new Scarlet Witch ongoing series.
Wanda has a lot of very passionate fans — and you better believe they had questions. Good thing for them, series writer Steve Orlando was willing to provide some answers.
AIPT: Welcome back to X-Men Monday, Steve! Our first X-Fan question comes from Damian, who was curious to learn what made you want to write a Scarlet Witch solo series?
Steve: For me, it’s about Wanda’s ability to overcome any set of odds stacked against her. For most of her life, she’s had to push back against the fears about who she is, how dangerous she must be, how unstable or fragile she’s assumed to be — when she’s anything but. True strength comes from being tempered by adversity, and Wanda has had plenty of tempering. But she’s here. She doesn’t allow herself to be defined by the fears and views of others. And she will no longer let herself be a tool for someone else’s ends, or trapped by the massive weight of her power. She’s fought out from underneath, she’s self-actualized, and she’s defined who she is on her own terms.
And for me, that’s always been her true strength, and what’s truly relatable about her. She hasn’t had the easiest road — but it’s because of that road she’s found her drive, her compassion, her unique point of view. She has defied the expectations of others at every turn, and often become a hero in spite of them.
AIPT: You just touched on this a bit, but X-Fan KingdomX wanted to know what excites you the most about writing Wanda as a hero with agency.
Steve: I think Wanda has always had agency, even if she drifted from it at times in the past, at her low points. But that’s also what makes her who she is. Wanda isn’t perfect, she hasn’t had a normative ascent to power with one step laid out after the other. She’s had a winding road, with victories and setbacks. And for a time, that did mean rock bottom for her. But even at that place, it was her choice to take back control of her life — both from Chthon, and from the specter of her devastating mistakes with respect to the mutant community. Certainly that was a low point, but she refused to allow that to be her final point. She started to climb back up — and now, to work with a Wanda confident in her abilities, confident in her power and her control, who allows herself joy as well as the fight for justice, is a gift. There’s nothing out there, no problem she won’t tackle — and in time, even if she’s got to fight like hell to do it, nothing she can’t overcome.
AIPT: Multiple X-Fans appear to have an interest in Wanda’s love life. X-Fans Cloud, Raphael, and Ryan Jackson asked if Jericho Drumm — Doctor Voodoo — will pop up in your series.
Steve: As with any ongoing series, the real question is just one of time! But given time, it would be wonderful to explore Wanda’s relationship with Doctor Voodoo. I think their relationship represents something unique, just like all of Wanda’s relationships, be them romantic or otherwise. And Jericho is a character I personally have loved since his appearance in Supernaturals, an alt-reality collab between Chaos Comics and Marvel from back in the day — track it down if you can! Jericho’s one of many people from Wanda’s life I would love to see come through her door at Emporium.
AIPT: X-Fan Ryan Jackson had another question. Ryan loves your work, especially Darkhold and Curse of the Man-Thing. Ryan also loves the idea of more interactions between Wanda and Marvel’s mystical characters — can Ryan expect anything of that nature in your series?
Steve: It’s fair to say you’ll see Wanda coming up against other magic users, both new and reintroduced. And hopefully all surprising! Wanda is an immensely powerful magical character, but also quite different from someone like Doctor Strange, Clea, or most of Marvel’s magic users. That makes mashing them up intriguing at every turn! As for how MANY of them, that all depends on how much time we get. But you’ll see Wanda coming up against magic and myth starting in issue 3, and blowing up big time from there.
AIPT: (More on Scarlet Witch #3 after the interview, X-Fans!) Now, X-Fan JMC was wondering, what do you see as the main differences between the Scarlet Witch and Polaris?
Steve: Wanda and Lorna have had a complicated relationship in the past, but now that they’re both rededicated to giving family a shot, I think they’ll potentially bond over things that have in the past brought tension. Now, the question of Polaris’s parentage is clear, and she’s secure in being Magneto’s biological daughter. From that security comes her desire to reconnect with her adopted sister (and brother, in time).
Both Wanda and Lorna have struggled with mental health in the past, and both overcome it. But that being said, Lorna remains a scientist. She sees the world through a scientific lens, one where logic and proven answers rule, and physics reigns — even if she’s a mutant who can manipulate magnetism. She still sees herself as manipulating the provable, natural world’s inner workings. And Wanda? She manipulates reality itself, she can make an untrue thing true, make the impossible possible. And so she is more worried about the endpoint, the goal, not the journey. Lorna is the opposite. But as we see when Polaris appears, often times it takes the meeting point of their two philosophies to get the job done.
AIPT: And while we’re talking family, X-Fans Ian, JMC, Kingdom X, and PolarIceHavok were all wondering if Wanda’s feelings about Magneto’s recent death might be explored.
Steve: They’ll absolutely be explored! You’ll be seeing that in issue 2, for which the solicit just came out, in a killer backup story by Stephanie Williams and Chris Allen that features Storm as well — I can’t wait!
AIPT: X-Fan MetalMagic said Wanda’s stories have always, for better or worse, been deeply influenced and enriched by her relationships with her family and loved ones. Recent events have granted Wanda the power to mend old wounds and the agency to forge a new path forward for herself. With this new perspective, MetalMagic is ecstatic to see Wanda interacting with her siblings, Pietro and Lorna, and exploring her connections with her “extended family” in Viv Vision. That being said, will the series aim to define or take a deeper look at Wanda’s complicated relationship with her “sons” Billy and Tommy?
Steve: The chief goal of Scarlet Witch is to explore Wanda’s character itself as deeply as possible. She’s the star. She’s the icon. But that being said — this is a book that celebrates chosen family, and it would be incredible for Wanda to quest her way into Billy and Tommy’s orbit, separate or together. It would be fascinating to explore Wanda’s dynamic with Billy and Tommy’s human parents, and contrast that with her role as the mother of the people Billy and Tommy reincarnated from. Yet another strange facet of Wanda’s life that she’s learning to lean into, to embrace and explore.
AIPT: So, you’ve got interiors by Sara Pichelli and Matt Wilson, and covers by Russell Dauterman. You’re a lucky writer — what’s it been like collaborating with this creative team?
Steve: It’s a dream — I treat books as a true collaboration, and when I send out a script I’m well aware that my collaborators will take things in their own unique stylistic direction, that they’ll surprise me. And that’s great! A writer is less “in charge” than the first holder of the baton in a creative relay. And Sara, Matt, and Russell are the best team I could imagine to run the race with me — not to mention Alanna Smith and Kaitlyn Lindtvedt on editorial! This book is a team effort, but for Scarlet Witch, Marvel’s lined up a murderer’s row. I’m beyond lucky — and can’t wait for everyone to see what we’ve been cooking!
AIPT: As we wrap up, do you have an all-time favorite Scarlet Witch story, and if so, what do you love about it?
Steve: It’s hard to choose! Being a bisexual man bucking tradition in spite of society, the son of a Catholic father and Jewish mother who bucked tradition in spite of society, and grandson of a Catholic grandfather and Orthodox grandmother who, you guessed it, bucked tradition in spite of society… it’s hard not to point out Giant-Size Avengers #4, the wedding of Vision and the Scarlet Witch, as a favorite. A human and a synthezoid wedded and in love — only in comics! But allegorically very relatable to me.
Vision and the Scarlet Witch stands out as well for the same reason, a nontraditional couple forging marriage, life, and happiness on their terms — and then creating a family on similarly unique, personal terms. I’d likely bookend that with The Children’s Crusade — not just for Wanda’s reuniting with her reincarnated children, but for what I see as one of her first major steps in the era we’re working in now, even if there might’ve been some backsliding. Here, Wanda asserted herself against Doom and proved to one of Marvel’s greatest villains that she is not to be tested — she began retaking her life on her terms, not those of others.
AIPT: Finally, X-Fan Duck with a hat wanted to know how connected the series will be to the X-Men line. Is there any potential for a crossover with Marauders?
Steve: Being in the X-Office as well with Marauder, X-Men Green, and some things that you’ll find out about soon, it’s easy enough to have mutants come through. And you’ll see it! We know Polaris is coming by in issue 3, and Wanda is now welcome on Krakoa as the redeemer, no longer the pretender. But that being said, Wanda’s engaged in helping people worldwide, or even universe wide. There’s no reason the Last Door only opens to Earth. So she’ll be quite busy as the series continues. When her friends can come through, she’ll certainly never blush at the help. But Scarlet Witch remains her show, her quest, and her heroic journey.
AIPT: Wouldn’t have it any other way. Steve, thanks for taking the time to swing by X-Men Monday and chat!
Now X-Fans, how about some eXclusive reveals?
First up, lettered preview pages from Scarlet Witch #1, on sale January 4, 2023.
Finally, the full cover reveal for the much-talked-about (in this interview) Scarlet Witch #3, along with the issue’s solicitation.
SCARLET WITCH #3
Written by STEVE ORLANDO
Art by SARA PICHELLI
Cover by RUSSELL DAUTERMAN
When Polaris’ visit to her sister’s new magic shop is interrupted by a microscopic warrior desperate for aid, Polaris and the Scarlet Witch put their own mystery on hold to help on a fantastic journey through Sub-Atomica! Meanwhile, the dark past of Wanda’s enigmatic shop clerk, Darcy Lewis, comes back…with a vengeance.
Be sure to return to AIPT Monday, December 5 for an all-new edition of X-Men Monday, featuring the legendary Chris Claremont answering questions about his return to X-Treme X-Men!
Until next time, X-Fans, stay exceptional!
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