Spoilers for WandaVision follow.
It’s no accident that one of the movies showing at Westview’s cinema is The Incredibles. It turns out the Maximoffs are now a fully-fledged super-family just like the Parrs, with twin boys Billy and Tommy continuing the family tradition of superhuman abilities.
In WandaVision episode 6, ‘All-New Halloween Spooktacular!’, we saw the boys’ powers manifest for the first time. While out trick-or-treating, Tommy showed he’s just as lightning-fast as his Uncle Pietro, while Billy revealed he has telekinetic and telepathic powers much like his mother, Wanda’s.
We should have seen it coming, of course. In the comics, the twins were members of the teen super-outfit the Young Avengers, and went by the names of Speed and Wiccan – the costumes Tommy and Billy wore for Halloween were even direct lifts from their comic book counterparts.
So as Wanda and Vision’s offspring become more and more integral to the WandaVision plot, we explain who Billy and Tommy are, their comic book origins, and how their presence may have sinister implications for the Marvel Cinematic Universe…
Who are Billy Maximoff and Tommy Maximoff?
In WandaVision, Billy and Tommy Maximoff are the twin sons of Wanda Maximoff and Vision. They were born in the 1970s sitcom era in Wanda and Vision’s house, with a bit of assistance from Geraldine (later revealed to be SWORD agent Captain Monica Rambeau).
Where did Billy and Tommy come from in WandaVision?
At this point the only thing we know for sure is that their conception wasn’t quite as simple as ‘when a man and a woman love each other very much…’
At the end of WandaVision episode 2, ‘Don’t Touch That Dial’, Wanda suddenly discovered she was pregnant. In subsequent instalment ‘Now in Color’, Wanda’s pregnancy progressed to term in a matter of hours – she learned she was carrying twins as she gave birth.
The boys’ names were Wanda and Vision’s respective choices – Wanda wanted Tommy while Vision wanted Billy.
Although the exact circumstances behind the twins’ arrival remains a mystery, it seems that – unlike Agnes, Herb, Norm and the rest – they’re not reprogrammed versions of Westview residents.
Having been present at the birth, Monica said that the twins are real, at least in Wanda’s sitcom world: “Everything might look fake in the TV but everything in there is real.” Indeed, there was always something a bit different about Tommy and Billy – they were the only kids to appear in the show until the sixth episode, ‘All-New Halloween Spooktacular!’
What powers do Billy and Tommy possess?
As their parents never tried to keep their own powers hidden from them, Tommy and Billy never saw superhuman abilities as unconventional. Initially it appeared that the extent of their powers was the ability to age themselves in an instant – in WandaVision episode 5, ‘On a Very Special Episode’, the boys transformed themselves from infants to 5-year-olds, then 5-year-olds to 10-year-olds, in mere blinks of an eye.
We learned rather more in ‘All-New Halloween Spooktacular!’ when the boys went out trick-or-treating with their mom and her brother, Pietro. Tommy has the speedster abilities of his uncle, aka Quicksilver, while Billy’s skill set echoes his mother’s – Billy was able to use telekinesis to stop his brother in his tracks, and telepathy to communicate with his dad, Vision, on the edge of town.
None of this will be a surprise to anyone familiar with the comic book versions of the characters. Even the costumes they wore trick-or-treating were consistent with the comic books, providing a great big clue about where the characters were headed.
What’s Tommy and Billy’s story in the Marvel comics?
In the comics, Tommy and Billy are both Members of the Young Avengers, a supergroup of teenage heroes who made their debut in Allan Heinberg and Jim Cheung’s Young Avengers #1 in 2005. Other members of the gang include Iron Lad, Hulkling, Miss America and the Kate Bishop version of Hawkeye (set to be played by Hailee Steinfeld in the upcoming Disney Plus Hawkeye series). Tommy goes by the alter-ego of Speed, while Billy is known as Wiccan.
Their backstory in the comics is significantly different to what we’ve seen on screen in WandaVision, however. For starters, Thomas and William (to use their full names) didn’t grow up together, and didn’t meet until their teens.
Thomas Shepherd was the only child of Frank and Mary, was raised in Springfield, New Jersey, and wound up in a detention centre after he accidentally destroyed his school. William Kaplan, meanwhile, was the eldest child of cardiologist Jeff and psychologist Rebecca. In the comics, William’s marriage to Hulkling (aka Teddy Altman) was Marvel’s first superhero same-sex marriage, so assuming the character is also gay in WandaVision, he’d be the MCU’s first gay superhero.
Billy and Tommy’s comic book origins are even more intriguing. Although they were nominally the twin sons of Wanda Maximoff (aka Scarlet Witch) and Vision, they were actually created by Wanda’s magical hex powers – and she used part of the life essence of Mephisto (Marvel’s version of the Devil) to give the boys souls. Mephisto subsequently reabsorbed these original versions of the boys, but they were later reincarnated as their Young Avengers models.
How’s all that relevant to WandaVision?
There’s been plenty of speculation that Mephisto, rather than Wanda, is the true villain of WandaVision – and that Wanda may have made some kind of deal with him to bring Vision back to life in Westview.
Pietro had a couple of lines in ‘All-New Halloween Spooktacular!’ that suggested that might be the case. First, he told Billy and Tommy, to “Unleash hell, demon spawn!” Then he said to Wanda, “Damn it, if Westview, New Jersey, isn’t charming as hell…” Both could be read as pretty big hints of some kind of demonic influence on proceedings.
In fact, Pietro himself could be Mephisto. After all, he appeared from nowhere, looks nothing like Wanda remembers him, and seems to know a lot more about what’s happening in Westview than your average resident. He’s impressed with what Wanda’s managed to do in the town – “it’s a pretty big leap from giving people nightmares and shooting red wiggly-woos out of your hands” – and keeps emphasizing that she can trust him. All of this is consistent with the behavior of a manipulative demon.
The presence of Satan would, of course, be a massive leap for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While the MCU has already incorporated aliens, gods and the supernatural – with multiverses also imminent – the Devil feels another thing entirely. Though this wouldn’t be the Lord of Hell’s first screen appearance, with Mephistopheles having been pivotal in the two (non-MCU) Ghost Rider movies, played by Peter Fonda and Ciarán Hinds.
Then again, all this could be a red herring even bigger than the fish Wanda and Pietro received on that Sokovian Halloween…
New episodes of WandaVision are available every Friday on Disney Plus.