Breakout villain Agatha Harkness seems to be in a bad way, friends.
Nobody here is happy about this. We all love Marvel. Some of us grew up loving it so much that we got comfortable being the weird kids who shouted “Bamf!” when we jumped off the monkey bars and semi-permanently destroyed our hairlines as six-year-olds when we tried to AquaNet our follicles into the same shape as Wolverine’s. There is no joy in Marvel Studios’ recent death spiral, save for the knowledge that the company’s CGI artists might finally be let out of their kennels and allowed to feel grass under their feet again.
All of that said, boy, the MCU sure seems to be in a pickle lately, with the dumbness and the badness and the M.O.D.O.K. bottoms of it all. There was a time when an illusory sense of a larger plan kept audiences showing up for questionably popular characters like Doctor Strange and Ant-Man getting solo shots. Now, even the C-list has been milked with coarse, calloused hands.
And Agatha Harkness—played to campy, cackling, mustache-twirling perfection by Kathryn Hahn in 2021’s WandaVision—is at the receiving end of the bad times. The character’s solo series was part of Marvel’s mid-strike cull on September 1, joining a litany of other MCU offerings being pushed back on the calendar. What made Agatha’s change of schedule stand out in a crowd that includes Echo and What If…? was the unexpected title change that came with the rescheduling announcement. Originally announced as Agatha: House of Harkness before changing to Agatha: Coven of Chaos, the Disney Plus series is now being rebranded as Agatha: Darkhold Diaries. For the time being.
When the only sense of consistency through a two and a half year production process is the fact that the title is kind of alliterative, people are going to talk, and the talk isn’t going to be kind. Prospective fans of the series took to the app formerly known as Twitter (which coincidentally also can’t seem to pick a name and stick to it) to make their feelings known.
Innocuous as it might seem, this third new title for the series has some rough implications. It communicates to exhausted MCU fans that they were right to assume that the studio is flying by the seat of their pants, making gut-based decisions instead of formulating a story ahead of time. It doesn’t help that the new title focuses on the Darkhold, a powerful magical artifact that was destroyed across all universes at the end of Multiverse of Madness. This would suggest that either the Darkhold is back, marking another in a long list of world-shaping changes in the MCU that didn’t have any long-term consequences (which, boy, really makes it hard to keep caring about keeping up with these movies) or that Disney isn’t paying even a little bit of attention.
Some fans have also speculated as to whether the title changes means that key characters could be written out of the show—the most catastrophic of which would be MCU fave Wanda. While that seems highly unlikely, these are strenuous times for studios and actors, and anything could happen.
Whatever’s going on, Marvel’s Agatha: Darkhold Diaries is now scheduled to premiere late in 2024. Fun fact: If the pattern keeps up, the show will have gone through one and a half new titles by then.