WandaVision had a lot of secrets up its sleeve when it started out, but maybe the biggest was that Wanda and the Vision’s comic book kids would become such a big part of the show. As comic readers know, Billy and Tommy have their own origin stories, superpowers, and superhero identities as a spell-slinging magic user just like their mom, and a zippy speedster just like their Uncle Pietro.
But the story of Wanda and Vision’s kids in the comics is a more complicated matter than you might think. Let’s unpack everything that WandaVision has brought to the table so far as the show both mimics TV sitcoms and brushes against comics history.
[Ed. note: This story contains spoilers for WandaVision through episode 6.]
Courtesy of Marvel Studios
The second episode of WandaVision ended with a surprise: Wanda’s sudden-onset pregnancy. But honestly, it wasn’t weirder than Wanda or Vision’s powers — or that they’re trapped in a world that’s stuttering forward through a new decade of sitcom history every day. In the third episode, “Now in Color,” Wanda eventually gives birth, albeit at a highly irregular speed, to a pair of twins. By episode 5, the twins have accelerated their age up to 10, and by 6 they’ve developed their own superpowers and costumes!
In the comics, Wanda and the Vision do have kids. Famously so, you might say. Here’s the comic book background that the makers of WandaVision are pulling from.
Billy and Tommy’s superpowers come from family
In Marvel comic continuity, the Scarlet Witch and Vision have twin boys: Billy Kaplan and Tommy Shepherd. Tommy, who goes by Speed, took after Wanda’s own twin brother Pietro/Quicksilver. He’s a classic Marvel speedster, capable of running from the East Coast of the United States to the East Coast of Africa faster than it takes you to read this sentence.
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Billy, whose superhero name has differed over time from “Wiccan” to “Asgardian” to “Demiurge,” inherited the Scarlet Witch’s magical, reality warping powers. By voicing what he wants to occur, and focusing on the idea of it, Billy can make just about anything happen. In Marvel Comics he has often been depicted as a future successor to Doctor Strange as the Sorcerer Supreme.
But you might be wondering why Billy and Tommy have different last names, and why neither of those last names are Wanda’s. It’s because they’re actually the reincarnations of the Scarlet Witch and Vision’s dead twins, unknowingly raised by two different sets of completely normal birth parents.
The Scarlet Witch and the Vision got married in 1975’s Avengers #4, and in 1986’s The Vision and the Scarlet Witch, the two had a pair of twin boys, Billy and Tommy. How does a robot father children? Well, you don’t have to worry about biological logistics when your wife is a witch who can use her powers to turn magical energy into real live babies.
But comics are not kind to couples who have to contend with with tedious narrative stumbling blocks like “who’s taking care of the kids while we fight bad guys” and “given the tenuous nature of time in superhero comics, how old are these babies anyway?” In 1989’s Avengers West Coast #52, it was revealed that the babies were made out of hell energy, and Mephisto wanted it back. The supreme devil of Marvel comics unmade the Wanda and Vision’s babies, and they were childless (and divorced, for unrelated reasons) once more.
Wiccan (left) and Speed.
Image: Jim Cheung, John Dell, Justin Ponsor/Marvel Comics
In the 2000s, Billy and Tommy were re-introduced as teenage superheroes and recruited into the Young Avengers team. Over a series of adventures they discovered that Mephisto hadn’t been completely successful in reabsorbing the souls of baby Billy and Tommy. Those souls had been reincarnated, as the sons of completely normal humans Jeff and Rebecca Kaplan and Frank and Mary Shepherd, respectively. Today, Tommy is dating the superhero Prodigy/David Alleyne, and Billy is married to his long-time fiancé Teddy Altman, who is also the Emperor of the Kree/Skrull Alliance.
Even though they had different moms and dads, and grew up in completely different families, Billy and Tommy looked exactly like each other and were twins. And the Scarlet Witch was their mom, and the Vision was their dad.
That’s comics, baby! Er, babies.