With her presence in The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Elizabeth Olsen’s Scarlet Witch will not only be counted as one of the newest heroes in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but she will also be presenting a whole new kind of power set. In the comics, it’s explained that she has the power to cast hexes, and while the meaning of that is often inscrutable in the comics, it’s an element that will certainly have to be made clear when portrayed on the big screen. Fortunately, we had the chance to speak with Olsen on the set of the upcoming blockbuster last summer, and she made it very clear exactly how her character’s special abilities operate.
Sitting in Tony Stark’s laboratory with a small group of other journalists, we had the chance to sit down for a Scarlet Witch-focused conversation with Elizabeth Olsen, and it was during this chat that the actress explained that her character’s abilities are really twofold. For starters, she has the ability to "manipulate energy" and fire it from her hands, which is the red stuff we see her blasting at Ultron robots and Iron Man in the various Avengers: Age of Ultron trailers and promos. The other half of the power set is what she personally finds really interesting, however, and it’s the fact that she can literally get into the minds of others. As she explained,
I am able to go into someone's head, and they'd never see. They're almost like I can feel and see what they feel and see - so it's not just me manipulating them. But what I love about her is that in so many superhero films, emotions are kind of negated a bit, but for her everything that someone else could feel like their weakest moments, she physically goes through that same experience with them, which is pretty cool. So she can, if they have the biggest, darkest fear, I get to see that.
Some of this mental manipulation has been hinted at in various promos, from this shot of Scarlet Witch spellbinding Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow:
To this shot of Hulk, whose red eyes seem to suggest that he is under Scarlet Witch’s influence while rampaging in what appears to be Africa and doing battle with Tony Stark’s Hulkbuster armor:
Of course, while it’s not very clear exactly how Scarlet Witch’s powers work, there are still many questions that surround the character, from exactly how she got her abilities to how she goes from being aligned with Ultron to fight The Avengers. We’ll have to wait and see how it all shakes out when The Avengers: Age of Ultron hits theaters on May 1st.