The announcement that Kathryn Hahn’s character, played by Kathryn Hahn, will have her own Disney+ spinoff series made Agatha Harkness the star of WANDAVISION.
Long-time Marvel fans were taken aback by the announcement. Agatha is a surprising pick for a leading lady from Marvel Comics’ vast back catalog of characters from the past eight decades. She’s been a member of the Fantastic Four and the Avengers for a long time, but she’s never been the star of her own comic book series. The good news is that she doesn’t lack for an arch-enemy of her own, nor does it preclude her from having a compelling plot ready for the MCU.
Fantastic Four #94 revealed Agatha to be a witch, primarily as a plot device to ensure the Fantastic Four (and readers) that Franklin Richards, the son of Mr. Fantastic and the Invisible Girl, was safe from the superhuman threat that was present when she was first introduced in the 1970s as Franklin’s nanny. Agatha’s backstory would take seven years to develop, but Fantastic Four issues #184 through #186 made the wait worthwhile.
The Fantastic Four are investigating the apparent kidnapping of Franklin and Agatha when they come across the town of New Salem and its mayor, Nicholas Scratch. However, they soon discover that New Salem is no ordinary city, but rather one loaded with gothic architecture, in which everyone appears to be wearing cloaks and follows Scratch and his so-called “Satan-Staff” because they’re all witches. Let’s be honest: “New Salem” should have been a good enough hint.
Nicholas Scratch turned out to be the one responsible for Agatha and Franklin’s disappearance, as fate and the plot conspired to make this happen. As a result, Scratch kidnapped Agatha to put her on trial for treason.
Scratch melodramatically states that New Salem was founded as a community made up completely of witches who had abandoned humanity in retaliation to the Salem Witch Trials. Leaving the city and re-joining human society wasn’t enough for Scratch; Agatha had done so after having served as its leader. It was the way she’d permitted humanity to learn of New Salem’s existence through the Fantastic Four’s search for her.
In a series titled Fantastic Four, nothing ever goes right for the titular heroes’ enemies, Nicholas Scratch. The New Salem witches expel Scratch after learning that he kidnapped Franklin Richards and Agatha in order to lure the Four to his doorstep. Scratch then vanishes into another dimension. Scratch is Agatha’s son, as she discloses at the story’s conclusion. It’s hard to imagine a better premise for a Disney+ show than an entire city full of witches out for vengeance on Agatha Harkness, lead by none other than her own son.
Scratch has a team of mutant supervillain witches named Salem’s Seven, all of whom are Nicholas Scratch’s children and, consequently, Agatha Harkness’ grandkids, as Fantastic Four #186 reveals. The best thing about Salem’s Seven is how generic they are. Brutacus resembles a lion, Reptilla looks like a snake woman, and so forth. They all got their powers from the natural world, which gave them their distinctive appearances. This makes them interchangeable and fun as a danger because they’re only ever seen as a bunch of seven villains with one common objective.
Having seven beast people who are also witches is great fun, but they can’t seem to avoid getting their behinds given to them. Whenever they make a joke, there never seems to be an end.
Setting aside the inherent hilarity of Salem’s Seven and the genius of “Nicholas Scratch” (which refers to the devil by two separate aliases!), adapting this particular comic book narrative to the MCU has considerable promise. It would only make sense to incorporate New Salem into the narrative to further unravel Agatha’s background, and introducing her son (and possibly grandchildren) as adversaries would immediately generate personal stakes for the character in the Agatha Harkness series.
To put it another way, the idea of Agatha being put on trial for treason against all witches merely because she desired to live among people has an impact. It helps the audience empathize with her since it gives them a bigger bad to root for without having to atone for Agatha’s WandaVision antics. A society of witches also gives Marvel the chance to establish the rules of magic before future productions starring Scarlet Witch or Doctor Strange are released.
If Marvel wants to go in a different path, they may produce a show that is more concerned with setting up upcoming movies or other Disney+ shows. Even yet, it’s not out of character for Agatha Harkness, who’s spent her whole comics career as a supporting player to more well-known creators. The question is, why not make use of this rare opportunity for Agatha to share the story that is most dear to her heart?
However, the MCU does not yet have a Fantastic Four, therefore a replacement actor or actress will be needed. Elizabeth Olsen repaying Kathryn Hahn for her guest spots in WandaVision with some cameos of her own to cause mischief in the next Agatha Harkness series seems like fun, doesn’t it?