Warning! This article contains spoilers for X-Men ’97 episode 3.



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Summary

  • Scarlet Witch’s MCU fate took a darker turn in Doctor Strange 2 with the influence of the Darkhold.
  • X-Men ’97 introduced Madelyne Pryor as a Scarlet Witch replacement with similar powers and dark descent.
  • Madelyne’s redemption in X-Men contrasts with Scarlet Witch’s tragic villainous ending in the MCU, sparking speculation.


Marvel’s Scarlet Witch has found a replacement in X-Men ’97 that has made her MCU ending worse after 2 years. Scarlet Witch’s last MCU appearance saw her embody the role of the villain in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness as she scoured the multiverse for her children. This was made possible by the influence of the Darkhold, which tainted her mind and set her on a path to villainy. It also bestowed Scarlet Witch with incredible powers that manipulated reality and allowed her to make short work of the Illuminati – a team that comprises some of the universe’s most powerful superheroes.

This culminated in what looked like the death of Wanda Maximoff, as she destroyed the Darkhold Castle atop Wundergore with herself still inside. The red flash that emanated from the destruction in this scene has led to speculation that Scarlet Witch is not dead – a notion spurred by the fact that it would be an incredibly tragic and somewhat unjust end for the hero with one of the most tragic arcs in the MCU. X-Men ’97 has now compounded this sentiment with the fate of its own Scarlet Witch replacement.


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X-Men ’97’s Madelyne Pryor Mirrors The MCU’s Scarlet Witch

X-Men ’97

Cast
Jennifer Hale , Chris Potter , Alison Sealy-Smith , Lenore Zann , Cal Dodd , Catherine Disher , Adrian Hough , Ray Chase , Chris Britton , George Buza

Release Date
March 20, 2024

Seasons
1

Streaming Service(s)
Disney+

X-Men ’97 episode 3 delved into the story of Madelyne Pryor, a clone of Jean Grey created by Mr. Sinister. The plot unfurled as the “real” Jean Grey found her way to the X-Mansion, revealing the true nature of the person the X-Men had assumed to be her, and with whom Cyclops conceived Nathan Summers. This culminated in Madelyn Pryor’s descent into becoming the episode’s primary villain while under the influence of her creator, Mr. Sinister.


Her assault on the X-Men drew a few notable parallels to Scarlet Witch. There are physical similarities, such as red hair and comparable outfits, similar powers, and the fact that they are both under the influence of malevolent forces. Pryor’s ability to manipulate reality itself, subjecting the X-Men to a stint in what Morph described as “hell,” is similar to Scarlet Witch’s ability to bend reality to her will, as seen most prominently in WandaVision‘s town of Westview. The similarities don’t end there, though, with the two sharing all of the following abilities.

Power

Madelyne Pryor Example

Scarlet Witch Example

Telekinesis

Firing shards of glass at Magneto

Lifting a moving train from its tracks

Forcefield Generation

Protecting her family from Mr. Sinister’s attacks

Protecting her family from Agatha’s attacks

Mind Control

Possessing Morph to fight for her

Causing agents to point their guns at Tyler Hayward

Levitation

In her battle with the X-Men

In her battle with the sorcerers at Kamar-Taj

Energy Blasts

In her battle with the X-Men

In her battle with Ultron


Both Madelyne Pryor and Wanda Maximoff cause their opponents to live out their worst fears in a mental hallucination. Wanda does this in her first MCU appearance –
Avengers: Age of Ultron
.

Madelyne Pryor’s Ending Made Scarlet Witch’s More Tragic

Madelyne Pryor prepares to leave in X-Men '97

Madelyne Pryor’s villainous tenure ended up being relatively short-lived before the original Jean Grey freed her from Mr. Sinister’s control. After retaliating against her mental captor, Pryor was then afforded the opportunity to leave. This is a pretty reasonable fate for the “goblin queen,” given that her actions were not entirely her own and that she had to relinquish her child just moments before. This makes the fact that Scarlet Witch, whose circumstances were painfully similar, was branded a villain and killed off even more difficult to stomach.


Like many MCU villains, Wanda’s sympathetic motives made her compelling. Her MCU journey saw her lose everybody she ever loved, and when faced with the chance to be with her children once more, she submitted to darker powers. While her villainous streak was decidedly more murderous than Pryor’s, it is difficult to justify precluding Wanda from her own redemption arc. Madelyne Pryor, meanwhile, has every chance to return in X-Men ’97 and absolve herself fully.

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