In The Avengers: Age of Ultron we find out a lot more about the Scarlet Witch and her twin brother, Quicksilver. I know that they volunteered for some kind of procedure or process which ultimately allowed them to use their powers. What I don't know is what happened to allow them to have the powers in the first place? Was it they were born with the powers, or were they given (or enhanced)? What is their back story?

(NOTE: We do get some of the Scarlet Witch's back story from this question, but I'm looking for something more complete).

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    As given in the movie, they volunteered for the experiments and were given their powers as a result. They were repeatedly referred to as "enhanceds" by the Avengers.
    – Moo
    May 4, 2015 at 19:21
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    to be fair, "enhanced" is the word the used for anyone who has powers, natural or otherwise.
    – KutuluMike
    May 4, 2015 at 19:22
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    As far as we know, they're not mutants in the MCU. The only mutants we know of are the Inhumans. They're enhanced in the same sense that Captain America or The Hulk are enhanced -- artificially.
    – KutuluMike
    May 4, 2015 at 19:30
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    @Keen - That doesn't prove they can't be mutants, just that the MCU has to be ambiguous about it--the notion from the comic that the sceptre could "unlock" abilities in them could easily be retconned to mean it activated dormant mutant genes if Marvel Studios ever gets the rights to do X-Men (as they did recently with Spider-Man).
    – Hypnosifl
    May 4, 2015 at 22:05
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    @phantom42 - I watched the episode today. The term Inhuman actually refers to those who have gone through (received) the Kree Mist like Skye has as well as her Mom, Lincoln, and others in the settlement, not those who have received powers from the Infinity Stone like Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver. May 16, 2015 at 23:05

4 Answers 4


This question is a bit tricky, because there are two parts to the answer: how they got their powers, and why they specifically got powers that way.

What we know definitively is that said abilities manifested as a result of HYDRA experiments, and that they had no such abilities prior to HYDRA intervention.

Starting with the post-credits scene from Captain America: The Winter Soldier, plus the opening act of Age of Ultron, we're told that HYDRA (specifically, Baron Strucker and Dr. List) have been experimenting on humans by using the power from Loki's scepter. During Age of Ultron, we eventually learn that this power is, in fact,

one of the Infinity Stones -- the Mind Stone.

The twins are not the only people who were experimented on by HYDRA, they were merely the only two who survived. At the end of The Winter Soldier we see them in cells, with Wanda making things levitate and Peitro zipping around the cell at high speed. Based on Dr. List's comments, HYDRA's goal was to try to create an army of enhanced soldiers to take on the Avengers. Unfortunately, all of the others except the Maximoff twins died in the process. Ultron even calls this out, when he says something like "I used to wonder why you two were the only ones to survive Strucker's experiments."

However, on the question of the ultimate origin of those powers, that's a bit less clear. There is some evidence -- inconclusive but compelling -- that the twins had latent powers, and that may be why they survived the experiments. The comic prelude to Age of Ultron includes some dialog between the twins and List, describing the experiments:

Maxomiff twins and Dr. List

Note that he uses the term "unlock" to describe the process of enhancing the twins with powers. Whether he was literally talking about bringing out latent abilities (e.g. they are something like Inhumans), or was just being metaphorical (in the sense of "unlocking" some new age of science) isn't clear. We know from Agents of SHIELD that people within HYDRA (e.g. Dr. Whitehall) were aware of the Inhumans and the abilities they possessed, and were trying to replicate them.

Whether the twins are Inhumans, are some other form of naturally-enhanced metahuman, or are normal humans who's powers were created from scratch by the scepter is still a somewhat open question.

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    "some of natural mutation" I see what you did there.
    – phantom42
    May 4, 2015 at 19:32
  • The Age of Ultron prelude comic has this line from List: “The fact that you are twins will make the results of this test all the more valuable for my research. Who’s to know what kind of abilities the scepter will unlock in the two of you”. That may be why they survived.
    – alexwlchan
    May 4, 2015 at 19:32
  • This matches what's been shown in Agents of SHIELD as well.
    – user1027
    May 4, 2015 at 19:51
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    Hydra only gets their hands on the scepter just before the events of TWS, there's no way that it was involved in Bucky's original experiments.
    – phantom42
    May 4, 2015 at 20:31
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    According to AoS, HYDRA has been trying to artificially create the power-granting feature of Terrigen Mists. So far, though, the twins are the only two subjects to survive. Seeing as how they were retconned into Inhumans in the comics, I imagine that's why they survived. And yes - it's a completely different experiment/project than the one that created The Winter Soldier.
    – Omegacron
    May 4, 2015 at 20:44

in agents of shield list says that none of the alien enhanced DNA subjects survived the test except for the twins.it seems they are Inhumans.as far as magneto being their father that has been dealt with a long time ago in the comic books he is not their father.not any more....


Before continuing on the subject, I'll say that thankfully Whedon disregards Bendis and Byrne's rubbish portrayals of SW and makes her an entirely individual character.

Think about "unlocking" and "latent" for a moment, and what that means. The powers were "unlocked" by the mind stone/sceptre, or perhaps they were "triggered", an alert activating the dormant powers.

Dormant powers perhaps bestowed by a being who foresaw the threat of Thanos, perhaps?


The twins are Eric Lensherr, aka Magneto, a mutant with the ability to make magnetic fields and control all metal, the twins are his kids so they both are mutants

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    Not in the MCU, they're not. First off, no mention of mutants or Magneto are legally allowed. Additionally, the twins explain during the movie all about how their parents died, in a way that Magneto would never go out.
    – phantom42
    May 5, 2015 at 2:10
  • Also not all kids of mutants are born mutants. See Sabertooth and Creed
    – user16696
    May 5, 2015 at 2:24

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