Vision (Marvel Cinematic Universe)
|Marvel Cinematic Universe character|
|First appearance||Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)|
|Adapted by||Joss Whedon|
|Portrayed by||Paul Bettany|
|Voiced by||Ross Marquand (as Ultron; What If...?)|
|Full name||The Vision|
|Significant other||Wanda Maximoff[b]|
|Children||Billy and Tommy Maximoff[c]|
|Origin||Midtown Manhattan, New York, United States|
The Vision is a fictional character portrayed by Paul Bettany in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) media franchise, based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name. Vision is a vibranium-based male android (or "Synthezoid") created by Ultron to serve as his body. However, the body is stolen by the Avengers and brought to sentience by Tony Stark and Bruce Banner, who upload the core software of Stark's AI, J.A.R.V.I.S., into the body constructed by Ultron, with energy provided by Thor. Vision subsequently joins the Avengers, kills Ultron, and later develops a romantic relationship with his teammate, Wanda Maximoff. Most of Vision's powers including flight, matter phasing, and energy-based beam attacks, stem from the Mind Stone in his forehead, which also keeps him alive. Vision is killed by Thanos when he removes the Mind Stone to complete the Infinity Gauntlet in order to initiate the Blip. Years later, Vision's body is reactivated via Wanda's magic, albeit without his memories and with a different appearance. Additionally, Wanda recreates Vision when she magically forms a false reality in the town of Westview, New Jersey, but this version vanishes when she returns to reality.
Vision first appeared in Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015), and as of 2022, has appeared in three films. He has a lead role in the television series WandaVision (2021), and alternate versions from within the MCU multiverse appear in the animated series What If...? (2021).
Conception and characterization
A character named The Vision debuted in a short comic story in Marvel Mystery Comics #13 (Nov. 1940) as an alien law enforcement officer also known as Aarkus, continuing as a regular feature in that superhero anthology through issue #48 (Oct. 1943). In the late 1960s, editor Stan Lee and writer Roy Thomas decided to add a new team member to the superhero-team series The Avengers. Thomas wanted to bring back the Golden Age alien Vision but Lee was set on introducing an android member. Thomas ultimately compromised by using a new, android Vision. The second Vision first appeared in The Avengers #57 (Oct. 1968). Thomas wanted the character to be white as befitting his ghostly name, but printing limitations of the time would have rendered him colorless, with un-inked paper where his skin should be. He settled on red as he did not want Vision to be green like the Hulk or blue like the Atlanteans. The character has been compared with Spock from Star Trek, but Thomas said that he was barely aware of the TV series at the time. He acknowledged being influenced by the Adam Link character by Otto Binder, one of the first robots treated as a sympathetic character rather than as a mechanical tool.
In The Avengers #75 (April 1970), the Scarlet Witch is reintroduced to the team and soon becomes a love interest for the Vision. Thomas recounted, "I felt that a romance of some sort would help the character development in The Avengers, and the Vision was a prime candidate because he appeared only in that mag... as did Wanda, for that matter. So they became a pair, for just such practical considerations. It would also, I felt, add to the development I was doing on the Vision's attempting to become ‘human.’"
Prior to the introduction of Vision in the MCU, Paul Bettany had voiced J.A.R.V.I.S., Tony Stark's A.I. companion in previous films. Bettany admitted that he had little idea of what the role was, even as he recorded it, simply doing it as a favor for Jon Favreau. He was cast again as the Vision, an android created by Ultron. Bettany stated that he was surprised when Whedon asked him if he wanted to be the Vision because once an actor has been cast as a particular character in the MCU, they usually are not cast as another. On what intrigued him about the Vision, Bettany said, "The thing that appealed to me is that this sort of nascent creature being born, being both omnipotent and totally naive, the sort of danger of that and complex nature of a thing being born that is that powerful and that created in a second and the choices he makes morally are really complex and interesting. They've really managed to maintain all of that". Bettany also stated that the Vision feels paternal and protective to a number of people in the film, particularly Wanda Maximoff, and has the ability to change his density. Bettany did wire work for the part. Whedon stated he wanted to include the Vision in a second Avengers film before he signed onto the first film. Vision's on-screen appearance was designed by Trent Claus and his team at Lola VFX, based on concepts by Ryan Meinerding. Bettany's make-up, which consisted of a mix of face paint and prosthetics, took two hours to apply with make-up artists Jeremy Woodhead and Nik Williams citing the correct hue of the Vision's skin as the hardest thing to figure out. Ultimately, however, the prosthetics and tracking dots were removed digitally and replaced with CG.
Discussing the development of the character in Captain America: Civil War, Bettany noted that because the Vision was only created in the previous film, Age of Ultron, "you see my character get born... He must be both omnipotent and yet totally naive at the same time. And experiencing the world in real time and his place in it. Is he going to be a force of good or a force of evil?" Bettany also said he was interested in exploring "what it means to be human and what love is" with the character, as "The only way one can guarantee one's loyalty is love." This is exhibited in the connection Vision begins to form with Wanda Maximoff, with Bettany commenting, "They both have these new burgeoning powers that they don't understand ... I think he's worried that they're both dangerous. So he feels this real connection with her." As the Vision has the ability to create a projected disguise, he chooses to dress similarly to Howard Stark's attache, Edwin Jarvis. One review notes that "Vision is an android who gained consciousness and an affinity for love all at the same time, and so the latter is of the utmost importance to him".
In WandaVision, Bettany portrays a new version of the character created by Wanda within her reality from the part of the Mind Stone that lives in her, who is the embodiment of her sadness, hope, and love. Given this, Bettany described this Vision as "decent and honorable". He was influenced by the performances of Dick Van Dyke and Hugh Laurie for this version. Bettany also plays the original character, referred to as "The Vision", who is reassembled and reactivated by S.W.O.R.D. (Sentient Weapon Observation and Response Division). That version has an all-white appearance similar to when the comic book character was resurrected with an all-white body and without his memories and emotions. Bettany differentiated the two versions by portraying The Vision as familiar and intimidating at the same time.
Fictional character biography
Creation and joining the Avengers
In 2015, J.A.R.V.I.S. is apparently destroyed by Ultron, but it is later revealed that he actually distributed his consciousness throughout the Internet, allowing his security protocols to delay Ultron's attempt to access Earth's nuclear weapons launch codes long enough for Tony Stark to work out what had happened. The Avengers capture a synthetic vibranium body created by Ultron for himself, powered by the Mind Stone. Stark and Bruce Banner upload J.A.R.V.I.S. as the core software for that body. After a brief fight with other Avengers, who disagree with this effort, Thor uses Mjolnir's lightning to power its completion, creating The Vision. Thor explains that the gem in his forehead is one of the six Infinity Stones, the most powerful objects in existence. Having gained consciousness, Vision sides with the Avengers against Ultron as he wishes to protect life. He left and hands Mjolnir (which is enchanted to allow only the "worthy" to lift it) to Thor, convincing the Avengers he can be trusted.
In Sokovia, Vision fights scores of Ultron's sentries and rescues Wanda Maximoff from the collapsing center of the city. He destroys Ultron himself. After Stark, Clint Barton, Thor, and Banner leave, Steve Rogers and Natasha Romanoff lead a new roster of Avengers consisting of Wanda, Sam Wilson, James Rhodes, and Vision.
Sokovia Accords and the Avengers civil war
In 2016, Vision sides with Stark and signs the Sokovia Accords, giving the United Nations control over the Avengers, remarking that the existence of the Avengers invites challenge and conflict, often resulting in catastrophe. The Accords include confining Wanda, who accidentally killed Wakandan humanitarian aid workers during a confrontation with terrorists, to the Avengers Compound. He attempts to make Wanda feel comfortable, cooking her paprikash, and they start to form a romantic relationship. He overpowers Barton who tries to break Wanda out on Rogers' behalf, until she interferes, telekinetically pushing Vision beneath the Compound. He is unharmed and flies to Germany to help stop Rogers' team. During the fight, he aims to disable Wilson with an energy beam, but accidentally shoots down and cripples Rhodes, as he was distracted while tending to Wanda.
Infinity War and death
In 2018, Vision, now in a romantic relationship with Wanda, uses his powers to appear human. In Scotland, the Mind Stone begins alerting Vision to an unknown threat, and they are ambushed by Corvus Glaive and Proxima Midnight, two of Thanos' children. Vision is badly wounded by Glaive's weapon, also limiting his powers. Glaive and Midnight attempt to remove Vision's Mind Stone, but Wanda is able to hold them off until the pair are rescued by Rogers, Wilson, and Romanoff and return to the Avengers Compound, reuniting with Rhodes and Banner. Learning that Thanos is after Vision's Stone, Vision volunteers to destroy the stone and kill himself, but the Avengers refuse his suggestion and debate how to keep him safe. Rogers brings Vision and the Avengers to Wakanda, where T'Challa's sister Shuri attempts to safely remove the Stone without killing Vision.
However, Thanos' children and their Outriders attack Wakanda, which prompts Wanda to intervene in the battle, leaving Shuri defenseless from Glaive, who infiltrates. Vision fights Glaive, and is nearly defeated before being rescued by Rogers. Vision in turn saves Rogers, and kills Glaive with his own weapon. Thanos arrives, and as the Avengers attempt to hold him off, Vision manages to convince Wanda to destroy the Mind Stone, which she does, at the cost of his life. However, Thanos uses the Time Stone to reverse the action, allowing him to rip the Mind Stone out of Vision's head, killing him. Thanos initiates the Blip, and Vision's body is taken into S.W.O.R.D.'s custody.
Wanda's hex and resurrection
In 2023, S.W.O.R.D. runs experiments on Vision's corpse at their headquarters. Wanda, desiring to give him a burial, learns he is being experimented on, and is told that he is government property and cannot be released to her.
Wanda travels to Westview, New Jersey, and in her grief creates a false reality to her liking (hex), also creating a Hex Vision. In the false reality, she and Hex Vision are married and live in a suburban neighborhood. Vision works for Computational Services Inc., where he amazes his co-workers with his speed. Wanda becomes pregnant with twins, and Hex Vision momentarily grows suspicious of their surroundings. Nonetheless, Hex Vision joins a neighborhood watch and Wanda gives birth to Billy and Tommy. He continues to question their life in Westview, and uses his powers to learn that one of his co-workers is under mind control. He investigates further, and on the edge of town he finds residents frozen in place, including Agnes. He discovers a hexagonal barrier and tries to leave, but begins to disintegrate. He manages to tell the S.W.O.R.D agents and Darcy Lewis that the people inside need help. Hex Vision is then restored after Wanda expands the hex. After waking up, he finds Darcy in Westview and takes her out of a trance. She tells him about his past life and death.
At the S.W.O.R.D. base outside of Westview, Tyler Hayward uses Wanda's powers from a drone to resurrect and reactivate Vision, now with a white body and his memories erased. Vision goes into Westview under Hayward's orders, and attacks Wanda, but Hex Vision saves her. During the fight, they discuss the paradox of the Ship of Theseus. Hex Vision restores Vision's memories, and he flies away to process this information. Hex Vision learns that he is a memory of Wanda that was created through her powers and the Mind Stone, and says his final goodbyes before he fades from existence when Wanda removes the hex.
In an alternate 2018, a quantum virus is unleashed and infects several humans including Wanda, turning her into a zombie. Vision, who is unaffected, is able to keep her contained at Camp Lehigh. There, he experiments with the Mind Stone to find a cure and manages to cure Scott Lang and preserve his severed head in a jar. However, Vision is unable to cure Wanda, leading him to kidnap T'Challa and feed parts of his body to her. Eventually, after the surviving members of the Avengers and their allies arrive at the base, Vision hands over the Mind Stone to Bruce Banner, killing himself in the process.
In an alternate 2015, Ultron successfully transfers his consciousness into Vision's body, and goes on to kill most of the Avengers and eliminate all life in the universe after obtaining the other five Infinity Stones from Thanos. After learning about the Watcher and the existence of other realities, this Ultron travels to the Watcher's observatory, from where he has access to every timeline in the multiverse, intending to destroy each of them. However, he is foiled by the Watcher and the Guardians of the Multiverse, who upload Arnim Zola's mind into his body, allowing Zola to delete his consciousness. Although Zola, now controlling Vision's body, tries to fight Erik "Killmonger" Stevens for control over the Infinity Stones, they are both frozen in a pocket dimension by Doctor Strange Supreme, the latter of whom agrees to guard them for the rest of eternity.
Appearance and special effects
A review of the character for The Hollywood Reporter notes: "The comic book Vision employs a garish green-and-yellow costume, matched with a bright red face — a color scheme that may be a little over-the-top for the more subtly-hued Marvel Cinematic Universe — but even so, the mixture of purple, blue and grey is an unexpected, and unexpectedly bold, choice for Paul Bettany's character".
When Vision is reactivated by S.W.O.R.D., his entire body is white and he has light blue eyes.
In 2016, Bettany was nominated for a Saturn Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Avengers: Age of Ultron. A review of the 2021 television series, WandaVision states that "Olsen and Bettany's characters were often treated like benchwarmers on an all-star team in the Avengers movies. Here, they really shine". The review further finds that Bettany "slides easily into the role of the devoted, kinda square, goofball husband", and praises his physical comedy skills.
For his 2021 appearance in WandaVision, Bettany was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie.
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