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The WandaVision Fan Theory That Pegs This Character As Ultron In Disguise

Contains spoilers for WandaVision

WandaVision, Marvel's limited series about Wanda Maximoff a.k.a. Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany) has parceled out its reveals sparingly, keeping viewers coming back every week to find out a little more about what's really going on in Westview, New Jersey. It took three episodes for the show to reveal that Westview was trapped inside a Hex bubble created by Wanda, and another three for Vision to find out that he's actually dead and seems to only be alive inside said bubble, where Wanda's powerful magic animates him. Three episodes of WandaVision are left, which means some more stuff that's been making us say "whaa?" will soon be making us say "ohhh."

One question that's been hanging over the show is how Ultron (James Spader) plays into everything. Ultron, of course, was the primary antagonist of Avengers: Age of Ultron, the film that introduced Wanda and Vision. Wanda and her brother Pietro (Aaron Taylor-Johnson, before he was "recast" with Evan Peters) were allied with the evil sentient artificial intelligence against the Avengers until Wanda read his mind and found out he planned to destroy humanity, which caused the Maximoffs to defect.

Ultron didn't succeed in annihilating the Earth, but he did destroy Wanda's home country of Sokovia and kill her brother. In return, Wanda destroyed Ultron's primary body, while Vision, who had been created by the Avengers, seemed to finish him off — emphasis on "seemed."

Is 'Hayward' somehow an anagram for 'Ultron?'

Since J.A.R.V.I.S., the A.I. precursor to both Ultron and Vision, was able to survive being destroyed by Ultron by dispersing its consciousness across the internet, it's highly possible that Ultron was able to do something similar, and has spent the last several years licking his wounds and recovering his strength. Now he's back to complete his mission and get revenge on Wanda and Vision, according to a new fan theory.

The theory, posited by Marvel fan @jayspatrol on Twitter, is that S.W.O.R.D. director Tyler Hayward (Josh Stamberg) is Ultron in disguise. The theory is based on a storyline from the animated Marvel series Avengers Assemble, in which something very similar happens. In Avengers Assemble, which aired on Disney XD from 2013 to 2019, a superhero-hating government bureaucrat named Truman Marsh is revealed to be Ultron posing as a human, according to Inverse. As the theory goes, WandaVision might be remixing this idea.

The similarities are quite striking, as they're both powerful government officials who deal with the Avengers but seem to harbor deep resentments toward them. Marsh particularly disliked the Hulk, while Hayward is fixated on killing Wanda to a degree that feels personal. He wants to recover Vision's corpse in order to create a new and improved Ultron body. 

Hayward will surely be a big player in the final three episodes, and it's certain that a big reveal about who he is and what he's up to is forthcoming. The odds of him really being some random guy we've never seen before are slim, while the odds of him being Ultron feel like they've just increased now that this theory is in play. He might just be a Skrull. Or maybe he's HYDRA. But Ultron would be the most shocking twist.