And wouldn’t you know it, the character’s new white look has its roots in a Marvel Comics arc with some strong parallels to the events of WandaVision. Let’s take a look at the Avengers comics that inspired what’s almost certainly going to be the big superhero showdown in the WandaVision finale.
[Ed. Note: This piece contains spoilers for WandaVision episode 8.]
In a post-credit scene during WandaVision’s eighth episode, “Previously On,” SWORD director Hayward revealed that Wanda had unwittingly provided the key to his project, codenamed Cataract. Using some of her magical energy — enhanced with the force of the Mind Stone, the object that brought the Vision to life in the first place — he managed to bring the Vision’s body back online.
But the process of taking the Vision apart to see what made him tick had an immediately tobvious side effect.
White Vision has a history in Marvel Comics, and it’s extremely similar to WandaVision.
When White Vision showed up in the West Coast Avengers
Almost every monumentally powerful superhero has a moment when they decided that asserting their will on other people was worth a try, and the Vision is no different. In the 1990s, when comics writers were just starting to get used to the ideas of “networked computers,” the time was ripe.
In a 1985 issue of The Avengers, the Vision tapped into every computer system on earth — including all computerized weapon systems — in an attempt to take control of the planet and bend it towards a happier future. The Avengers managed to convince him this was a bad idea, but not before, like, every government in the world had noticed and gotten very alarmed.
A few years later, writer-artist John Byrne decided call back to the Vision’s aborted takeover in West Coast Avengers, by having an international coalition of government agents (later revealed to have been manipulated by a supervillain, of course) abduct him, dismantle him, and erase his software. This achieved the goal of safeguarding all the sensitive information he’d accessed while tapped into government systems around the world, but destroyed his personality and memories in the process. For various complicated reasons, there were no backups.
The Vision’s body could be rebuilt, but his consciousness had effectively died.
While dismantling him, the agents damaged his skin in such a way that it could no longer keep his usual color scheme, and turned stark white. It was a big design change for the character, but it was also something of a callback. Writer Roy Thomas and artist John Buscema had tried making the Vision white to begin with, to go along with the spectral, ghostly tone of his name. But the process of printing comics at the time meant that a pure white character would have just been the color of the paper they were printed on. It didn’t look good, and Thomas and Buscema settled on the red, green, and yellow we’re familiar with today.
The Avengers managed to get the Vision’s pieces back, reassembled them and uploaded him with all the information they had about his life and the world around him. But he came back with the emotionless psyche he’d had after first being built, and of course he felt no particular tie to his wife, the Scarlet Witch, or their children.
Between that, and losing her children shortly thereafter, White Vision marked the beginning of the end for Wanda and the Vision’s marriage, and they not only separated but joined different Avengers teams.
Vision didn’t stay white forever, of course — this is comics that we’re talking about. But the story of how also has some interesting implications for WandaVision. Vision got his colors back by swapping bodies with a second Vision from a parallel Earth.
And with WandaVision setting up a Vision on Vision showdown for its final episode, and Wanda’s powers expanding rapidly, body swapping and parallel Earths seem entirely plausible. Marvel Studios has already made it clear that WandaVision will connect to the upcoming Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness, and with Wanda’s magic, maybe the Vision can come along for the ride.