WandaVision released its second-last episode and it only tells us that the climax will be nothing like anything we’ve ever seen before. WandaVision episode 8 introduces S.W.O.R.D.’s true sentient weapon, the White Vision who is clearly set up for an intriguing, no doubt devastating showdown with the “real” Vision (Wanda’s version) and Scarlet Witch in the finale. The character’s shocking introduction was the clever pay-off to Acting Director Hayward’s almost buried tease in episode 7 of Project Cataract being ready as Monica Rambeau prepared her own attempt to infiltrate Wanda’s Hex. The White Vision is the latest in a long line of superheroes being forced to fight versions of themselves: even beyond the limits of the MCU, Wolverine, Superman and The Arrowverse’s Flash have all battled dark inversions of themselves.
We first saw Vision in Avengers: Age of Ultron. At that time, Vision helped the Avengers defeat Ultron and successfully become one of the most precious Avengers. Later on, in Infinity War, we had to sadly see Vision depart us as Thanos managed to rip out the Mind Stone from Vision’s head, basically putting him to rest. Vision is often referred to as The Vision, as of now, particularly by Hayward, was ostensibly in Age of Ultron by the titular antagonist, who was attempting to create a new synthetic body for himself made of the rare metal vibranium (with the help of Helen Cho).
However, Vision is actually a construct created by various parties, as Ultron himself was created by Tony Stark and Bruce Banner, who were trying to use data from the Mind Stone to create an Artificial Intelligence Peacekeeping Program. The Avengers retrieved the partially complete synthezoid from Ultron, uploaded the remains of the J.A.R.V.I.S. program to it, and then Thor used Mjolnir’s lightning to provide the power needed to give Vision life.
Avengers: Age of Ultron proved that Vision can survive without the Mind Stone. This was established by none other than the Hulk. As Bruce states in Infinity War, “Your mind is made of a complex construct of overlays. Jarvis, Ultron, Tony, me, the stone. All of them mixed together.”
Shuri tried to reprogram Vision’s synapses so that the Infinity Stone could be removed, but was interrupted by Thanos and his army before she could complete her work. Some point after the events of Infinity War, S.W.O.R.D. retained Vision’s remains with the intent of reviving him as a sentient weapon, but were unsuccessful without the Mind Stone. WandaVision reveals that Shuri’s basic theory was right, but the SWORD scientists were missing one crucial ingredient to get Vision back online: a power source. The surprise White Vision reveals in Previously On: was brief. It definitely has led the finale of WandaVision open to a plethora of questions.
The mid-credits scene showed Hayward and his team using the chaos magic from Wanda’s hex — which was still radiating throughout the drone they sent into Westview, giving the device a distinct red shimmer — to activate Vision, with Hayward commenting that it was “energy directly from the source.” Presumably, by “source” he was referring to the cosmic microwave background radiation (CMBR) that Darcy previously detected in Westview, but it could also be a reference to the power of the Mind Stone itself — which was shown to have unlocked Wanda’s powers before the events of Age of Ultron. In other words, the scene suggests that Wanda’s chaos magic could have the same properties as the Mind Stone, or that she’s able to channel residual elements of the Mind Stone despite it having been destroyed.
The version of Vision created by Project Cataract is an imperfect one, at least in the eyes of Wanda (and MCU fans of the character). It is, effectively, a blank slate, tied inherently to the Vision Quest comics are created by John Byrne in the late ‘80s. Just as Vision was reborn without emotion and any sense of his “soul”, S.W.O.R.D.’s version is clearly rebuilt without any of the inconvenient quirks of the real Vision like morality, humanity, and a will for self-discovery. He is a mere machine, programmed by his masters to enact missions without anything that made Vision more human than robot. As his death proves in Infinity War, Vision’s color is linked directly to his vitality: when he dies, he loses his pigment, almost as if he’s drained of his blood. The chilling implication there is that the new S.W.O.R.D. Vision is a lifeless abomination.
The episode indicated through a flashback that Wanda was no longer able to sense Vision from his disassembled body, hinting that if he had been reactivated, it wouldn’t be the man she fell in love with. This new color scheme is likely a reference to the character lacking his personality and memories — either because the Mind Stone is absent, or simply as a side effect of S.W.O.R.D. reprogramming him. Whether White Vision will be an autonomous being or some sort of sentient weapon remains to be seen, but one thing is certain: the event sets up an exciting WandaVision finale.
WandaVision is yet to release the finale of their first season, which will premiere this Friday on Disney+.