Hello BC readers, it's been a while. I've been off working on comics (The Freeze Vol 1 trade from Image Comics/Top Cow is in stores now…) but after watching Avengers: Endgame, I had a theory that I couldn't pass up talking about and Rich has been kind enough to let me pop back in here to share it.
Keep in mind, this will contain minor spoilers for Avengers: Endgame… if you haven't seen it then you might want to come back to this later.
Okay, the bottom line here has to do with the announced WandaVision series for Disney+. If you've seen Endgame then you know that when Professor Hulk snaps his fingers, everyone killed off by Thanos' snap is returned. The Vision though was not killed by the snap, he was killed by Thanos ripping the Mind Stone out of his forehead. Needless to say, the character does not return. Which makes the idea of their being a new series featuring Wanda and Vision difficult unless it focuses on the trip they took between Civil War and Infinity War. But I don't think that's the case, and here's why.
Elizabeth Olsen said that she and co-star Paul Bettany were excited for the series, that it had some great writers, and it was going to be about six-hours long. She also said that a scene in the series will be set in the 1950s. When I saw that, it clicked something in my brain.
[Editor's note: This time travel aspect allowing the Disney+ Marvel Studios television series to happen is something we previously covered, which you can read here.]
If you think back to Captain America: The First Avenger, there is the seen where we go to the World's Fair and meet Howard Stark and his flying car. As we are panning into the scene, we get to see Dr. Phineas Horton's Synthetic Man. This was an Easter Egg for one of the first Marvel Comics superheroes, the Human Torch.
Where it just seemed like a nice nod to the Captain America comic stories when he was with the Invaders, it now might be the key to the new television series. The first Human Torch was created for Timely Comics in 1939 by Carl Burgos. He was an android created by Phineas T. Horton who burst into flames the first time he came into contact with oxygen. The android would take on the name Jim Hammond, become a police officer and fight crime. He would come into contact with Namor the Submariner who debuted in the same issue of Marvel Comics #1 and they would be the first two heroes that built the company that would become Marvel Comics.
Later, in the pages of Avengers #57, Roy Thomas, Stan Lee and John Buscema would tell how Ultron would use the body of the android along with the mind patterns of Simon Williams aka Wonder Man to create the Vision. Later comics would tweak this origin tale to involve the character of Immortus and him using the Forever Crystal to split the android body into two, leaving one behind incase someone wanted to resurrect the original Human Torch again. But the important thing to take away here is that the two characters are tied together in the comics.
Put all of this together along with the fact we now have established time travel in the MCU thanks to Endgame and it becomes somewhat easy to see a picture being painted before our eyes. Wanda, still grieving the loss of her love, learns of the existence of an android body that might be capable of containing the programming from the destroyed body in 2023. She uses the Pym Particles to head back to the last known location of Horton's Synthetic Man (circa 1950s), uploads the programming then uses her powers to bring him back to life. He's not quite the same Vision as he was, so we get to spend a few episodes of them working together on some threat while rebuilding their connection… hence a six-hour television series.
While I don't know if the Fox deal for the Fantastic Four precluded Marvel from using the name Human Torch in the MCU even though it was a different character, now having all those properties back definitely makes it easier for them to do it. And while this is just speculation, I'd be interested in hearing other ideas of why part of this series would have Wanda and the Vision in the 1950s. This seems like just the kind of fan-service / deep-dive plotting that Kevin Feige and the rest of Marvel Studios is known for doing.