'WandaVision' Might Be Remixing a Huge Marvel Comics Arc

There is a major clue in this week's episode of the Disney+ series.

Marvel Studios
Marvel Studios

If you've been keeping track of what fans of Disney+'s new Marvel show WandaVision have been talking about, you've probably heard mention of something called "House of M." But if you're not an avid reader of Marvel comics or don't keep up with the wikis of various characters or comic arcs whenever there's a new movie or show on the horizon, you probably have no idea what these people are talking about. If that's you, and you're wondering exactly what is going on in WandaVision and if there are clues you might be missing, we've got you covered. 

What is House of M

House of M is a Marvel Comics arc that was published over the course of summer and fall 2005, from the first issue in June to the conclusion in November. The whole arc consists of a main series that was eight issues long, written by Brian Michael Bendis (of New Avengers and arcs "Secret War" and "Age of Ultron") and illustrated by Olivier Coipel, and concurrent tie-ins to other ongoing series, including Uncanny X Men, Academy X, The Incredible Hulk, and Wolverine. It began with one story in an issue of the ongoing Excalibur series, and there were also a number of House of M miniseries that took over the Fantastic Four, Iron Man, and Spider-Man

The actual story of House of M begins with the aftereffects of two previous storylines, "Planet X" and "Avengers Disassembled." In "Planet X," Magneto becomes obsessed with mutants running the world, doing away with all the normies and creating a planet of only mutants. Obviously, this does not work out for him. "Avengers Disassembled," meanwhile, lays the groundwork for an increasingly unstable Wanda Maximoff, whose mind and magical powers are taken over by Doctor Doom shortly after she loses both of the children she had with Vision. Doom is defeated and Wanda is released, but she's moved to the small island of Genosha where her powers, unstable due to her grief, are kept in check by Professor X and Magneto (who, in the comics, is Wanda and Quicksilver's father). 

This is where "House of M" begins. Concerned about Wanda's deteriorating mental state and reality-warping powers, the Avengers, X-Men, and other heroes convene to decide whether or not she should be killed. Quicksilver rushes to Magneto and tells him of the plan to kill Wanda, but before any of the other Avengers or mutants arrive, everything is engulfed in a blinding white light, and the world is suddenly different. Some of the former heroes lead idyllic, normal lives, while others rankle at the new world order: Homo superior—mutants—are the ruling class, presiding over the rest of humanity, and Magneto and his House of Magnus (Magneto, his children Wanda, Quicksilver, and the mutant Polaris, and Wanda's resurrected sons) rule over all the mutants. 

At first, Wolverine is the only one who remembers the real world, but others are soon awakened, including Luke Cage, who is leading a human resistance movement against the mutants, and Hawkeye, who is actually supposed to be dead. Soon, a large enough force is gathered to face off with Magneto on Genosha, and during the ensuing battle, Doctor Strange learns that it was Quicksilver, not Magneto, who inspired Scarlet Witch to use her powers to create an alternate reality where everyone gets exactly what they always wanted and everyone's happy. Except… if Magneto gets what he wants, nobody's happy. 

With this revelation, Magneto flips out, beating Quicksilver to a bloody pulp before Wanda shows up and screams at him for being a terrible father (true) and then utters "No more mutants." The world returns to "normal," except for the fact that the number of mutants in the world has gone from millions to a couple hundred, and a few of the known ones lose their powers altogether. 

What does this have to do with WandaVision

WandaVision will likely reference this arc only tangentially, for a few major reasons we'll get to later. The main similarities between the Disney+ show and this comic arc are the fact that Wanda and Vision are trapped in some sort of pocket universe that's either controlled by an outside force or a product of Wanda's reality-bending powers, and the appearance of Wanda and Vision's sons, Billy and Tommy, in Episode 3. Wanda's surprise pregnancy in Episode 2 was a telltale sign that we were going to get these two, as were Wanda and Vision's magician alter egos, "Glamor" and "Illusion," the names of two characters in the "Vision and the Scarlet Witch" storyline from 1986 in which Wanda's sons first appeared. 

It's also obvious that the purpose of this sitcom universe is Wanda's sons, as the constant refrain whenever the neighbors get together to do something is the exceptionally creepy chant, "For the children." We just don't know yet who is controlling this place—though it's clear Wanda does have some power over this world, as we saw when she banished Geraldine at the end of Episode 3, and during that tense moment with the beekeeper in the street at the end of Episode 2. So, the question is: Are these children—and, for that matter, Vision—actually real? Or just constructs, like they were in House of M

How would this fit into the MCU timeline?

Well, it doesn't. Because Marvel Studios introduced Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver into the MCU with Avengers: Age of Ultron before they had the rights to the X-Men or even the word "mutant," they had to retcon their origins a little, calling them "enhanced" and indicating that they received their superpowers due to Baron von Strücker's experiments with the Scepter (which was later revealed to contain the Mind Stone, which Ultron used to create Vision). It's unlikely that Ian McKellen is going to make an appearance in WandaVision as Wanda's long-lost dad Magneto, even if Disney finally has the rights to his character. It's also a little early in the game for an arc this big: House of M is really more of an X-Men-heavy storyline, and the MCU's Wanda Maximoff is an Avengers-exclusive character (for now). 

The appearance of Billy and Tommy, however, is a big sign of things to come. One last interesting tidbit worth mentioning here is that, in the trailer for Disney+'s next Marvel show Loki, fans have spotted, rendered onto a stained-glass window somewhere in the TVA facility, an image of Marvel villain Mephisto, an extra-dimensional demon who is basically (but not really, but kinda) the Devil. Billy and Tommy, who both possess superpowers of their own, were revealed later to have been created using pieces of Mephisto's life force, not real people but magical constructs given the illusion of life by Wanda's powers. If Mephisto is the main villain of Marvel's next Phase, Wanda and Vision's suburban idyll is about to turn into one Hell of a place. 

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Emma Stefansky is a staff entertainment writer at Thrillist. Follow her on Twitter @stefabsky.