Since its beginnings in Avengers: Age of Ultron, Vision offered many puzzling and strangely perfectly timed anecdotes. While Vision’s comments may be over the heads of most, there is still a clear level of precision and relevance to where things are right now. A theory from Reddit suggests that one of Vision’s final lessons in WandaVision hints at a crucial development in Phase Four of the MCU.
The Reddit theory proposed by user Thethat Vision’s comment in the WandaVision The finale regarding Theseus’ ship is a driving force for future Marvel projects. This theory (both the literal theory and Vision’s commentary) relies on identity (as explored in the other MCU series).
Theseus’ ship, as mentioned in WandaVision, calls into question the true nature of the ship. If Theseus ‘ship is stored in a museum and the rotten boards are replaced with new ones, is it still considered Theseus’ ship? If those rotten planks are restored rot-free, instead of being replaced entirely, is it still Theseus’ ship? In other words, by removing, replacing and restoring the parts of the original, can it still be considered the original?
These questions, as the Reddit theory points out, can be applied to the expanding MCU. WandaVision was the first MCU series to start streaming on Disney +, followed by The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and Loki respectfully. Each of these series explored the identity and path these Marvel characters took to get there. With the emotional end of End of GameExploring these once secondary characters is essential to the development of the MCU in the future.
In WandaVision, Wanda struggles with her identity without those she loves and trusts, as well as her new identity as a scarlet witch. Vision, unable to remember his previous life, also struggles with who he is. Another character who tries to come to terms with who they are is Monica Rambeau, who gains her own powers over the course of the series.
Both The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and Loki expand on that. Sam and Bucky grapple with their own identity as individuals (without Steve) and as a pair. Bucky tries to get rid of the Winter Soldier once and for all as Sam grows up in his role as Captain America. It takes a while for both of them, but by the end of the series, Sam and Bucky seem to have a better understanding of who they are and each other. A noteworthy addition here is Sharon Carter, who is also in the process of blossoming. Turning out as a Power Broker in the finale of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier means Sharon herself has found a new identity, even if it puts her outside the hero mold.
Like The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Strongly reminded to fans, the Blip has caused many people to re-evaluate their identities and how they are valued. It was essentially the entire Flag Smashers platform (before John Walker urged a change of plan). As Marvel’s heroes grapple with their own understanding of themselves, so do many others in the MCU now that their realities have been turned around more than once.
In Loki, the titular god of evil, discovering that he is a variant, grapples with the understanding that he is not the only Loki. He has to work with a variety of strangers (including oddly familiar variations of himself) in the unknown location of the TVA in order not only to understand himself, but also to understand the new reality around him. While the central version of Loki in the series looks and behaves like Loki from The Avengers, it’s important to remember that it’s not technically him. However, this Loki saw how this Loki died, which can come as a shock to anyone’s perspective on reality. Of course, TheMedicoreCritic proposes that these three series which question identity and by extension remind that the vessel of Theseus philosophy is not where this trend will end.
The Avengers have been the face of the MCU since 2012. Originally made up of its six founding members: Iron Man, Captain America, Hulk, Black Widow, Thor, and Hawkeye, the Avengers have grown considerably since then. Now that half of those founding members are gone, and at least two of the other three seem to be embarking on their own journey, what’s the defining factor of the Avengers now?
Sam Wilson has taken on the mantle of Captain America and is redefining what Captain America looks like. Spider-Man has been suggested as the next Iron Man and Jane Foster is expected to become Thor in Thor: Love and Thunder. As Theseus’ ship philosophy suggests, if the original components of the Avengers start to be replaced, can they still be considered (or at least consider themselves) the Avengers?
Interestingly, these identity crises among Marvel heroes began before Theseus’ proposal for Vision. In End of Game, Thor struggled a lot with his identity. Beaten by Thanos, Thor blamed himself and fell into a deep depression. With Jane’s upcoming involvement in Thor: Love and Thunder, it’s likely that Thor will continue his new identity that doesn’t revolve around being King of Asgard (or New Asgard). Likewise, Bruce Banner will have to assess who he is with Bruce and the Hulk both coexisting.
The next Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness as good as Spider-Man: No Path Home will further question the identity of newcomers to Avenger. If Spider-Man were to interact with other Spider-Man villains (and potentially other Spider-Mans) in the multiverse, what will happen to Peter’s own identity? As for Doctor Strange, how dangerous will he be in The multiverse of madness without her beloved time stone? Plus, what does Doctor Strange’s identity look like without being the Protector of the Time Stone?
Marvel is known for planting little Easter eggs in its returning projects in the future that only its most invested fans will notice. Theseus’ ship notes in WandaVision is just another example. While it’s unlikely anyone else will lecture on this philosophical concept in the MCU, that doesn’t mean the message is totally unworkable. As the calculated post-credit scenes have shown, nothing Marvel does is ever without a reason.
Stream all nine episodes of WandaVision on Disney +.
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