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SYFY WIRE Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

Elizabeth Olsen felt ‘frustrated’ by commitment to the MCU, but is still open to more Wanda

Elizabeth Olsen has played Wanda Maximoff (aka The Scarlet Witch) in the Marvel Cinematic Universe since 2015. 

By Vanessa Armstrong
WandaVision Elizabeth Olsen

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Doctor Strange, of course, but it also stars Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff (aka the Scarlet Witch). The recent Marvel movie is only the latest MCU project for Olsen, albeit the first film where she’s had such prominent billing; ever since 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, she has portrayed Wanda in numerous films and also leads the Disney+ series, WandaVision (including an introductory cameo as far back as 2014's Captain America: The Winter Soldier). And while Olsen is undoubtedly grateful for the experience, in a recent NY Times interview she shared that there were downsides to joining the MCU. 

“It took me away from the physical ability to do certain jobs that I thought were more aligned with the things I enjoyed as an audience member,” Olsen shared. 

Specifically, she noted that her commitment to the MCU prevented her from taking on at least one Oscar-nominated role — the lead in Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Lobster, which ultimately starred Rachel Weisz and Colin Farrell. “I started to feel frustrated,” she said. “I had this job security but I was losing these pieces that I felt were more part of my being. And the further I got away from that, the less I became considered for it.”

Despite the limitations she felt playing Wanda placed on her as an actor, Olsen did share how much she enjoyed filming WandaVision, a Marvel television series that had Wanda grapple with the death of her beloved Vision by warping reality to match the ambiance of different sitcoms from different decades. 

“We thought what we were doing was so weird and didn’t know if we had an audience for it, so there was a freedom to it,” Olsen said. “There was no pressure, no fear. It was a really healthy experience.”

Olsen also shared that she’s open to playing Wanda once again if the story is right. “I think these films are best when it’s not about creating content, but about having a very strong point of view,” she said, “not because you need to have a three-picture plan.”

Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is now playing in theaters, and it plays very much like a Sam Raimi horror film. If you want to check out some other horror films, Firestarter will be in theaters and streaming on Peacock on May 13, The Black Phone premieres in theaters on June 24, and Jordan Peele's NOPE will be in theaters July 22.