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What's up With the Tiger References in 'WandaVision'?

By Mike Redmond | TV | February 8, 2021 |

By Mike Redmond | TV | February 8, 2021 |


Heads up: Spoilers for “A Very Special Episode” right out of the gate.

Despite spending pretty much my entire Saturday afternoon obsessively writing about WandaVision, I’m still finding things I missed thanks to Jac Shaeffer and the whole Marvel crew absolutely butt-packing Episode 5 with tiny details. And just when you think you have them all carefully cradled in your soft, nerdy hands, the show punches you right in the face with that ending. Case in point, and a thing I didn’t even clock until today: Kinda shitty of SWORD to make Wanda look like a villain for violating Vision’s will when it sure as hell seems like they were doing just that. Do you want Ultron, people? Because that’s how you get Ultron.

But we’re not here to chase that wild-ass theory. We’re here to talk about tigers.

In Episode 5, there are several not subtle, but not unsubtle references to tigers that caught my attention. The first arrives when Agnes says “you can’t tame this tiger” while helping Wanda and Vision with the twins in her Jazzercise outfit. The next is the noticeable placement of a toy tiger in the center of the frame during a scene in the kitchen. Wanda is later seen putting the tiger away as the show builds toward its big ending. (A few sites are saying that the Santa chair Vision is sitting in during the opening credits has tiger heads on the arm rests, but those could easily be lions. I’m not Joe Exotic over here!)

Anyway, again, the show is laser-focused on details, so I knew the tiger thing couldn’t just be a coincidence. Out of fear of stumbling on spoilers — just a heads up, there are reportedly leaked scans of the WandaVision script out there, so be careful — I did some very light digging, and here are the two most likely theories that fans are batting around:

1. The tiger represents Agnes who is a protective force. She’s always popping up when Wanda needs her the most, and seems to be especially focused on protecting the twins. This theory tracks with what is almost definitely Agnes’ true identity: Agatha Harkness. That character has a long history of protecting Wanda and pushing her to use the full extent of her powers by doing things like, oh I dunno, magically impregnating herself.

Also, you’re telling me this lady has the Eye of the Tiger? SOLD.

♫ You must fight just to keep them alive ♫

2. The tiger is bad, actually, and it represents an unseen danger lurking around. This explanation is also super plausible based on the 800 theories about Mephisto that are out there. (Shout-out to J.S., though, for being the first person I’ve seen who suggested Mojo could be the secret villain, which would be fitting as hell.)

And, Now, For My Dumb Shit (A.K.A. Mike Heard Words In A Random Movie)

With Evan Peters’ Quicksilver in the mix, my kids wanted to watch the X-Men movies where he shows up, so being the completist nerd that I am, we started with X-Men: First Class. (They’ve already seen the older X-Men films.) And if you’re thinking, “Wait, that movie doesn’t have Quicksilver in it,” oh my God, I told you we have to watch this one first to understand the next one. Eat your ice cream!

In the back half of the movie, Jennifer Lawrence’s Mystique has conflicted feelings about her true appearance. On the one hand, she’d love to go out in public without disguising herself. On the other hand, she’s coming around to the idea that, actually, it’s humanity who is wrong for not accepting her for the way she is. Pushing her toward the latter idea is Michael Fassbender’s Magneto who tells her, “Have you ever looked at a tiger and thought you ought to cover it up?”

Folks, I peed a little.

Right upfront, there’s probably a very slim chance that the tiger clues in WandaVision are a refernce to a random line in X-Men: First Class. Then again, the show has made some very deep cuts with obscure references to old West Coast Avengers comics. (And for everyone in the comments saying the tigers could be Tigra, that’s a much better theory than my shit!) So is it really that far of a stretch that Schaeffer and her team are now mining the X-Men films especially after the Pietro reveal?

More importantly, let’s pull back on something else that’s happening in Episode 5. After spending the first half of the series hiding her and Vision’s identity, Wanda has grown more insistent on not masking who they are. This is a huge X-Men theme, and something that Magneto is very much about. Magneto, who is Wanda and Pietro’s father in the comics.

Magneto making his MCU debut in WandaVision is one of the big theories floating around. Even if my tiger theory is way off base, there was a very blatant Easter egg that’s stronger than Wanda’s sudden urge to be “mutant and proud.” (OK, she doesn’t say that first part, but it’s probably not insignificant that Wanda is starting to exhibit very strong mutant themes just as an actual mutant appears.) I’m talking, of course, about the scene where Wanda makes the SWORD agents turn their guns on Hayward in a move that deliberately apes the police standoff with Ian McKellen’s Magneto in the first X-Men movie. I refuse to watch Dark Phoenix, but others have noted that the flick of her wrist is similar to a move that Fassbender’s Magneto makes after turning his adversaries’ guns on themselves.

There was also a possible Magneto hint early in the season. During the “commercial break” in Episode 3, the tagline for Hydra Soak is “Find the goddess within.” Who’s a big fan of referring to mutants as gods? Magneto. Of course, this could be referring to Agnes (or whatever is happening in Westview) helping Wanda unleash her full magic potential. But Kevin Feige has said that by the end of WandaVision, Wanda will be the Scarlet Witch in all of her power. And who is the Scarlet Witch? The daughter of Magneto. Granted, Episode 5 goes out of its way to name Wanda’s parents as Oleg and Irina Maximoff, which is true at that exact moment in time. But will that still be the case by the time WandaVision concludes?

I wouldn’t bet on it, tiger. (See what I did there? It’s a miracle I’ve reproduced.)

Header Image Source: Marvel