BY MATT TUCK
Who will be WandaVision’s “Luke Skywalker” in the last-episode cameo, and why should you invest in Bizarre Adventures #33? One word: Blade.
That’s right: WandaVision could be setting the stage for Blade’s MCU debut, and it all hinges on Agatha Harkness’ glowing book, which looks suspiciously like the Darkhold. Here’s my logic.
THE “LUKE SKYWALKER” MOMENT
Since the first episode dropped, the cast and crew of WandaVision have teased audiences with a dramatic cameo appearance that will destroy the internet. Elizabeth Olsen has gone so far as to acknowledge that it is on the level of The Mandalorian’s crowd-pleasing Luke Skywalker cameo to round out season two of that Disney+ series.
But didn’t Vision himself, Paul Bettany, tell Esquire the cameo stars an actor he has “longed to work with” his entire life? Wouldn’t that rule out Mahershala Ali as Bettany is clearly referring to an older actor? Yes and no.
Yes, it seems clear that Bettany is referring to an actor with a long career on stage and screen. However, in the Esquire interview, he did not necessarily say that the “Luke Skywalker” level cameo would be played by that particular actor. While he did say that there have been leaks regarding the surprise cameos, he did not say they had all been revealed. That leaves much to the imagination.
There is an interesting theory at ComicBook.com that suggests Al Pacino will play the MCU’s Mephisto, but that is not quite the same as the “Luke Skywalker” moment we have been promised. Ali appearing as Blade would fit that particular billing better than Pacino as Mephisto.
Wait. Could it be that the mystery cameo will be Sir Ian McLellan? That is doubtful following the reveal that Agatha has been manipulating Wanda all along. Having Agatha plant the Evan Peters Quicksilver may have nixed the idea of the X-Men, specifically Magneto, entering the fray.
Assuming the book is the magical Darkhold, that leaves me to believe the major cameo that WandaVision’s cast and crew have been teasing is Blade.
IS BLADE COMING TO WANDAVISION?
It struck me as odd that Kevin Feige announced Mahershala Ali as Blade so far in advance of a new movie. Typically, the lead role for a Marvel movie is announced closer to filming getting underway. So far, it appears Blade has only just now found its writer, so that movie is only in the beginning stages. Why would Feige, who is so meticulous and careful with his announcements, reveal Ali in the lead so soon? It could be that Ali will introduce his version of the character well before the Blade movie hits theaters. It worked for Black Panther and Spider-Man.
How does Blade fit into WandaVision? It comes from an otherwise unremarkable comic, 1982’s Bizarre Adventures #33.
What is so interesting about it? This issue happens to be the first appearance of the vampire Varnae. Not only could he be the villain for the upcoming Blade reboot, but he is directly tied to the Darkhold, the magical book presumably seen in the latest episode of WandaVision.
In Marvel lore, Varnae is the first vampire, outdating even Dracula. The ancient creature of the night was created some 15,000 years ago by Atlantean sorcerers using the scrolls of Chthon, otherwise known as the Darkhold. Assuming Agatha’s magical, orange-glowing book is the Darkhold, then it could theoretically be used to conjure the MCU’s first vampire, thus giving rise to Varnae.
Ever since Feige announced a Blade reboot, fans have wondered how Marvel Studios will explain the existence of vampires in the MCU. With WandaVision and Doctor Strange immersing the MCU in magic, the Darkhold makes for a convenient plot device to slide vampires into the Marvel sandbox.
Varnae became a vampire in an attempt to escape death. One of WandaVision’s running themes is Wanda’s grief over the losses of her brother and her love. Considering how she seemingly created West View to at least temporarily bring Vision back to life, would it be too much of a leap to assume that Wanda will use the Darkhold to permanently resurrect both her husband and her brother? What if that evil spell goes awry and turns the innocent townsfolk of West View into a legion of the undead?
Let’s say that vampires invade West View (and as offbeat as WandaVision has been at this point, it is not too far out of the realm of possibility)? Who could arrive to save the day? Marvel’s very own vampire slayer, Blade. That could lead to the Midnight Sons, but that is a theory for another post.
THE CASE FOR VARNAE
All that being said, you will want to take a gamble on Bizarre Adventures #33. Even if WandaVision makes no mention of vampires or a certain Daywalker, there is a distinct possibility that Blade will do battle with Varnae in his MCU debut.
In the comics, Blade has been the victim of having too few iconic villains. He has no rogue’s gallery. Since Deacon Frost was already used, and Dracula seems too cliche even for the slapstick-happy Marvel Studios, that leaves a huge red arrow pointing to the undead Varnae as a worthy opponent for Blade.
As the story goes, Varnae was an Atlantean priest who participated in a dark ritual to create an undead army from the corpses of Atlantis’ enemies. In a completely unexpected turn (because dark magical spells to create an army of the undead never go awry), the living dead turned on the priests and killed them all, except for one: Varnae. He used the resurrection spell to save himself, changing him into the first vampire in the process.
BIZARRE ADVENTURES #33
The best part is that hardly anyone cares about this comic. Up to this point, Varnae has been a forgettable villain, which means this has been a forgettable comic. It is so underwhelming that it is not even on the Marvel Comics app, and the CGC census has just two graded comics on file - a 9.6 and a 9.4.
There are just two sales on record, both within the last two years. Back in 2019, a 9.6 brought $65, and January 2020 saw a 9.4 earn just $40. The raw copies on eBay have been selling for as little as $5 in the past week. Just Saturday, one sold for only $9.99.
A SHOW FOR THEORISTS
Granted there are many assumptions and "ifs" in my far-fetched theory, but that is part of the speculation game that WandaVision is playing with us.
The fun lies exactly in the show’s masterful purpose: to give MCU fans plenty of clues and hints to drive us crazy. Every episode of the show delivers plenty of kindle for speculation, and the enjoyment is seeing how they play out. We will see if the Blade/Varnae theory comes true. Even if it doesn’t, there is virtually nothing to lose with prices for Bizarre Adventures #33 so low.
Matt Tuck is the author of the novel, Lost Bones of the Dead. He is also a teacher, freelance writer, comic collector, and an international man of mystery. You can follow him on his Facebook page, The Comic Blog.