The introduction of White Vision (Paul Bettany) in WandaVision gives the MCU an opportunity to finally give the classic hero a comic book accurate origin story – Wonder Man. A character who is central to Vision’s creation in Marvel Comics, Wonder Man was left out of Avengers: Age of Ultron, but now a way exists for him to be properly incorporated.
Thanks to SWORD (and Scarlet Witch’s powers), the MCU now has new version of the Android Avenger. Though many hoped that Wanda (Elizabeth Olsen) would be able to fully revive the hero, it just wasn’t possible. Instead, what she created was a fake duplicate of the Vision who shared the original’s personality and abilities. Later on, SWORD was able to get the real Vision’s body online again. This was accomplished by using Chaos Magic energy found on a drone Wanda had shot down. After rebooting Vision with a new colorless appearance, he was sent into the Hex to deal with Scarlet Witch. A confrontation with Westview’s Vision led to the character having his memories of his old life restored and his eyes returned to their natural state.
Interestingly, Marvel left the fate of White Vision ambiguous by having him fly away and not be seen again. It remains to be seen what he’ll do next, when he’ll next appear in the MCU, and how different he still is from the original. There’s of course a ton of possibilities that Marvel can do with his character, one of which being a deeper exploration of his origin. By diving into this, Marvel can fill in a long-missing, incredibly important element from Vision’s backstory: Wonder Man.
In Marvel Comics, the origin of Vision was a mystery that puzzled both the Avengers and the hero himself for quite some time. Of course, they knew that he was built by their robotic nemesis Ultron, but what they didn’t completely understand was how Ultron made Vision. Eventually, the whole truth was finally uncovered; Vision was told in the 1970s that he was constructed from two existing superheroes. For the body, Ultron used the original Human Torch, a deactivated android named Jim Hammond who fought beside Captain America in World War II. As for his mind, Ultron relied on the brain patterns of Wonder Man aka Simon Williams, a superhero who had died in his first comic book appearance in Avengers #9 in 1964. Because of Wonder Man, Vision was able to function as a sentient being capable of feeling emotions and experiencing deep, intellectual thoughts.
The connection between Wonder Man and Vision was further developed after the former was resurrected. It was believed by some that the two, in a sense, were two versions of the same person. Wonder Man, who regarded Vision as a copy of himself, sometimes referred to the hero as his “brother”, but also resented him on other occasions. Vision too, was troubled by their connection, as it prevented him from feeling that he possessed his own unique identity.
The importance of Wonder Man’s role in Vision’s creation was highlighted by a key event in the pages of West Coast Avengers. When Vision was dismantled by the government, Hank Pym tried to rebuild him, but ran into an obstacle when Wonder Man decided not to let his brain patterns be copied. Since Pym had to finish Vision’s reconstruction without a major component, the product of his work was White Vision, who unfortunately lacked the emotions of the original. This was all due to Wonder Man’s refusal to cooperate.
Though Wonder Man is integral to who Vision is in the comic books, he was left out of the MCU interpretation of the character’s origin story. That’s largely because Marvel came up with a very different way for him to function; instead of giving Vision a consciousness through the brain patterns of a human being, Marvel brought him to life with an Infinity Stone – specifically, the Mind Stone. To Vision, the Mind Stone in his head is the MCU equivalent to Simon Williams. So when it was taken out by Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War, it became impossible for Vision to go on living. Given how different this is to the comics, it makes sense that Marvel couldn’t find room for Wonder Man in Vision’s life, nor did it necessarily need him.
There was no place for Wonder Man in the original Vision’s MCU story, but the situation with White Vision is far from the same. There are no secrets left to be uncovered about how Ultron made Vision, but there could be something missing from the explanation on how SWORD rebuilt his body in WandaVision. It’s known that he was reactivated through Chaos Magic, but there may have been a step prior to the completion of the process that wasn’t touched upon. With that in mind, it’s possible that the brain patterns of a human were implemented into his design.
An alternative to that is that Marvel uses Wonder Man to help Vision transform into a more familiar incarnation of the hero. After all, it’s worth noting that in the comic books, White Vision was restored once Wonder Man’s brain patterns returned to his systems. They could be the best substitute for the Mind Stone. Even though he has his memories back, he isn’t the same without it. It’s likely that the continued absence of the Mind Stone will hinder White Vision from feeling any emotions. But, there’s a chance that Vision could regain that capability in a potential WandaVision season 2. That could work if he were to run into Wonder Man, who may or may not be a superhero at this point in the MCU.
Either way, an incident could result in Vision being uploaded with a copy of Simon’s brain patterns. It’s hard to say if he would be just like the Vision of old, or if his personality would differ a bit. Regardless, this direction could send Vision on a fascinating new journey that allows Marvel to finally get his origin story right. Plus, this is the perfect opportunity for another iconic member of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes to be adapted to the MCU. Incorporating him into a story that will complete Vision’s origin is one way for Marvel to do him justice.