Darcy Lewis was an underutilized character in the Thor films, but WandaVision finally explores who she is beyond just being Jane’s sidekick.

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for WandaVision Episode 4, “We Interrupt This Program,” now streaming on Disney+.

WandaVision is bending more than reality — it’s twisting what fans expect from characters new and old. While introducing eagerly awaited names like Monica Rambeau and SWORD is a big, bold move for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the series chooses to explore side characters more deeply. This welcomed change is highlighted in WandaVision‘s prominence and reintroduction of Dr. Darcy Lewis.

When Darcy was introduced in 2011’s Thor, she was relegated to the role of plucky sidekick. A college intern working for Jane Foster, Darcy was characterized as a student of both political science and Thor’s godly musculature. The follow-up film, Thor: The Dark World, gave her a little more agency and a sidekick of her own, but her personal motivations remained vague and her identity unexplored. While she is a character in a superhero franchise, she had more in common with the flat best friend tropes of the grungy ’90s; comfortably attractive, snarky, a ride-or-die companion and not much more.

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For female characters, the early MCU was a frustrating place to be, but Darcy Lewis receives a second wind in WandaVision. She may not be as prominent as others in the MCU, but many of her fans have stayed loyal to her for years. Last year’s news that Darcy would return in WandaVision was welcomed, and Darcy’s re-introduction in Episode 4 is both perfectly in-character and a major upgrade.

In the episode, Darcy is first seen in the back of an Army truck. She prods her nervous fellow passengers into giving up some clues as to why they’re all there. Still full of quick-fire wit, she leads the reveal that the joint task force is pulling together a wide spectrum of experts to try and crack Westview’s riddles. Darcy then reveals two important details about what she’s been up to since the Dark Elf invasion — she didn’t vanish in the Blip, and she spent the time that half the universe lost studying astrophysics.

RELATED: WandaVision Exposes the Chaos Created by Avengers: Endgame’s Blip

Dr. Lewis doesn’t undergo a major personality change when she gets her degree. She’s not forced into straight-laced behavior or professional pantsuits. She’s still recognizably Darcy; just as bitingly funny, but also an intellectual force to be reckoned with. While she wasn’t quite relegated to being Jane’s ditzy foil in her two Thor outings, there was still the unfortunate implication that Darcy’s thoughts weren’t as important or valued as the scientists she accompanied. To reveal an active, curious mind while keeping her personality intact is a great move, and it gives this well-liked character the respect she’s been owed all along.

Darcy Lewis

This episode also seems to recognize Darcy’s place in the fandom’s heart, and while Darcy is welcomed to SWORD for her hard-earned skills, she’s also a deliberate audience surrogate. When she’s not studying the perplexities of Westview, she’s as invested in Wanda’s drama as the audience is.

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The MCU continues to fight upstream against critiques about its diversity, and to the franchise’s credit, it’s begun to take steps to address that very real problem. Using the series to bring back and flesh out underserved characters like Darcy and Jimmy Woo is a great move. Dr. Lewis’ rise might be the first sign of a better future for MCU characters that have been left to a small on-screen role.

Written by Jac Schaeffer and directed by Matt Shakman, WandaVision stars Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff/Scarlet Witch, Paul Bettany as Vision, Randall Park as Agent Jimmy Woo, Kat Dennings as Darcy Lewis, Teyonah Parris as Monica Rambeau and Kathryn Hahn as Agnes. New episodes air Fridays on Disney+.

KEEP READING: A WandaVision Guide: News, Easter Eggs, Reviews, Recaps, Theories and Rumors

SWORD's Monica Rambeau from WandaVision

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