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One thing that is pretty much universally true is that we as a species love pets. When we see a cat in the street, our instinct is to stop and stroke them. If a friend has a dog, we want to tell it that they’re ‘a good boy/ girl’. And so it’s no surprise that many pieces of media introduce pets as a way of connecting to the viewer, and WandaVision is no exception. It introduced the character of Sparky in episode 5, but who exactly is Sparky? What was his relevance to the show, and does he appear in the comics? Read on to learn everything you could possibly need to know about him! Be warned, this guide does contain spoilers.
What is WandaVision?
After the exciting events of Avengers: Endgame, Marvel fans were clamoring for more content, and Disney+ was more than happy to deliver. Starting in 2021, they steadily started releasing a series of shows set in the MCU. WandaVision was the first of those shows, followed by The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, Loki, What If…?, Hawkeye, and Moon Knight. Ms Marvel is the next one on the horizon in 2022.
I remember being very confused when I first saw the trailer for WandaVision. It looked like some kind of sitcom and felt totally out of place with the usual style that you’d expect from the MCU. When the show was finally released and I started watching it, my confusion only grew. However, as the episodes go on, you start to learn more and more about the peculiar setting and style of the show. The plot is incredibly gripping, and I think it’s still my favorite of all the MCU shows currently.
It follows Wanda and Vision as they try to live an ordinary life in the seemingly idyllic town of Westview. But Vision is supposed to be dead, we all saw Thanos kill him in Avengers: Infinity War, so how can this be happening? As the show goes on, we learn more about the events that occurred prior to Wanda arriving in Westview. The story is incredibly cleverly done, and it leaves viewers wanting more with every episode.
The show also pays homage to the popular television aesthetics throughout the decades. WandaVision starts in black and white and slowly gains color and vibrancy as the show continues. There’s also a subplot happening outside of Westview with the agency S.W.O.R.D observing the events, but being unable to enter due to a magical barrier protecting the town.
Overall, the show has it all. Humor, character development, suspense, and a deeply ingrained lore. If you’re a Marvel fan, WandaVision is an absolute must-watch.
Who is Sparky in WandaVision?
So, who is Sparky? Sparky is introduced in WandaVision episode 5, ‘On a Very Special Episode…’. He’s a stray dog who’s found wandering the streets outside the Maximoff family home. It’s the children who find him, and Billy and Tommy are excited at the prospect of having a new pet. They’re worried that Wanda will be less than thrilled at his dirty appearance, and so they try to hide him from her whilst they clean him up.
However, Wanda discovers the boys washing Sparky in the sink, and at first, she isn’t sure how to react. However, seeing how happy the dog makes her children, she agrees to keep him as the family pet after checking for a collar and not finding one. Vision returns home to find the dog and is more than happy to keep him.
Whilst they’re trying to decide on a name, their neighbor Agnes comes over to visit. Sparky was actually very nearly named ‘Sniffy’ by Billy, but then he shocks himself on an electricity outlet, and Agnes is the one to suggest the name ‘Sparky’, which they all settle on.
Sparky is a Jack Russell Terrier with predominantly white hair. The hair on his face is a light-brown color, except for his nose, which is the same white as the rest of his body. The Maximoffs give him a collar with a vibrant red name tag, which goes well against his white hair. Due to his breed, he’s a very small dog, making him easy for the children to pick up and play with.
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What Happens to Sparky in WandaVision?
Unfortunately, poor Sparky doesn’t get the happy ending we would hope for. Although he had several happy scenes playing with the family, his time on WandaVision was short-lived. In fact, he never even made it past episode 5, and his story ended in tragedy.
At one point, Sparky starts growling and reacting unusually towards the door. When Wanda opens it, she discovers a S.W.O.R.D drone flying above them, which she promptly destroys. However, Sparky’s fear got the better of him, and he ran off. The family went looking for him, but it was too late. Their neighbor Agnes appears holding Sparky in a blanket, and claims he ate some poisonous leaves from the azalea bushes outside her house, leaving the children devastated.
However, later on in the series, it’s revealed that Sparky’s death wasn’t as innocent as it first appeared. The character Agnes turns out to be a villain named Agatha Harkness. She’s a powerful witch who’s been observing Wanda and wants access to Wanda’s powers. She herself deliberately killed Sparky. No motivation is explained for this, and the audience can deduce she did it simply to be evil.
What Purpose Does Sparky Serve in WandaVision?
From a storytelling perspective, what is the actual purpose of Sparky? Why was he added to WandaVision in the first place, and why did he have to die? Although we can’t know for certain, there are several plausible explanations. Firstly, and most simply, people love dogs. By having Sparky in the show, it added an extra element of cuteness, and viewers could grow attached to him.
But it also served a purpose for the characters in the show, particularly for the children. Billy and Tommy were created purely from Wanda willing them into reality. They never should have existed in the first place. She artificially grew her family, and then they acted as autonomous beings by essentially adopting a dog into the family. Even though Wanda agreed to it, it showed that she didn’t have full control of her world and that she’d created fully sentient beings capable of acting outside her jurisdiction.
Sparky is also used as a catalyst to age up the children. Billy and Tommy are young boys when they find Sparky, and Wanda and Vision decide that they’re not old enough to care for a dog. They say that the boys would need to be at least 10 in order to be able to look after a pet. Hearing this, and desperate to keep Sparky who they’ve grown attached to, the children take action. They use their abilities to age themselves so that they’re now 10 years old.
When Sparky dies, it’s the children’s first experience of loss. They beg Wanda to resurrect Sparky, but she refuses, deciding that the boys need to learn to process their grief. This is particularly interesting in retrospect when we learn the truth about what led to Wanda creating the town of Westview. She herself was unable to process her own grief over losing Vision and had used her powers to resurrect him.
See also: Wandavision Characters Guide
Who is Sparky in the Comics?
WandaVision is an entirely new piece of media. Although it was slightly based on some elements from the comics, the main storyline and relevance to the MCU was brand new. Some of the comics it bears similarities to are House of M, Avengers: Disassembled, and The Sage of Wanda and Vision, but none of them are exactly like WandaVision. Although that also means that Sparky’s interaction with the series was unique, there is still a dog character named Sparky in the comics.
Sparky was introduced to the Marvel comics in 2016 in Vision Volume 2, Issue #6. Whilst in WandaVision he appears to be a biologically ordinary dog, that’s different in the comics. In the comics, he’s actually a synthezoid created by Vision. A synthezoid is essentially a synthetically created version of a biological organism. It contains tissues, organs, etc, but they’re made out of synthetic replicas of the biological materials. Sparky’s brain was modelled on the neighbors’ dog Zeke, who had died, and Vision had extracted the brain.
Vision created Sparky to try and complete his synthezoid family. In the comics, his marriage to Wanda had fallen apart, and so Vision literally created his own family. He had a wife named Virginia, and two children named Viv and Vin. Sparky has green hair and white eyes, so obviously is very different in appearance to a regular dog. He’s meant to resemble a Scottish Terrier.
Aside from being a synthezoid and having an unusual appearance, Sparky has other differences too. Most notably, he shares Vision’s ability to phase through objects by pulling his molecules apart from one another. He can also alter his own density so much that he makes himself incredibly light. When he does this, he gains the ability to fly through the air.
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What Happens to Sparky in the Comics?
Alas, if you thought that Sparky’s demise was tragic in WandaVision, he has an even more brutal storyline in the comics. You see, Vision couldn’t quite get the concept of humanity right when creating his synthezoid family, and unfortunately, they turned out a little more violent than planned. His wife Virginia was especially prone to outbursts.
In a fit of rage after having an argument with her daughter, Virginia ends up beating poor Sparky to death! After this, events take an even more negative turn, resulting in Vision and his entire family ending up dead. The only one of them to survive is his daughter Viv, who is now the sole member of her family.
In WandaVision, Wanda refuses to resurrect Sparky as she thinks the kids need to learn about loss. However, in the comics, she chooses the compassionate option, and enlists Tony Stark’s help to bring Sparky back to life. She then returns the now living dog to Vision’s daughter Viv.
Despite being given a second chance at life, Sparky’s story doesn’t end there. He does get to spend some happy time with Viv, and she’s comforted by having that connection to her family. However, later on in the series, he is assimilated by an Ultron probe. He just can’t catch a break!
Where Did the Name Sparky Come From?
In WandaVision, Sparky is nearly named ‘Sniffy’ because he’s sniffing at everything. However, the clumsy dog shocks himself on an electrical outlet, thus earning the name Sparky. Whilst this is a plausible origin for his name, the show had to choose that name as it already existed in the comics. Even though the dog is very different between the show and the comics, it’s still meant to be connected by both of them being Vision’s pet.
In the comics, it wasn’t actually the writers who originally chose the name, at least not directly. Readers were given the chance to choose what the dog would be named via a mail-in competition. Marvel received lots of suggestions, but the winning name was picked by a reader named Michael Strobl. Thus, the name Sparky was born.
This wasn’t the first time Marvel had let readers have an input with the comics. They regularly ask readers for feedback, and sometimes run contests to get help with ideas. A great example of this is the Symbiote costume from Spider-Man. In 1982, Marvel ran a contest where fans (either artists or writers) could send in submissions of ideas they had for potential storylines. Randy Schueller, then 22, shared his idea of the Symbiote suit. Marvel loved it, and the idea was purchased for $220, immortalizing Schueller’s vision.
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Question: How does Sparky die in WandaVision?
Answer: Poor Sparky only gets to be in a single episode of WandaVision before he sadly meets an untimely end. He escapes from the house whilst Wanda is distracted by a S.W.O.R.D drone, and unfortunately, the Maximoffs do not find him in time. They see their neighbor Agnes outside her house holding a towel, and she confirms the worst. Apparently, Sparky ate from the poisonous azalea bushes outside her house and tragically died. However, it’s later revealed in episode 7 that Agnes deliberately killed Sparky.
Question: Who is Sparky in the Marvel comics?
Answer: Although in the MCU, Wanda and Vision are madly in love with one another, their relationship sadly comes to an end in the comics, leaving Vision heartbroken. Desperate for connection, he creates his own family of synthezoids. When the neighbor’s dog Zeke dies, Vision harvest the brain and uses the patterns from it to build his own synthezoid dog modeled on Zeke. Sparky has green fur and is designed to look like a Scottish terrier. He has similar abilities to Vision in that he can phase through objects, and can even fly.
Question: Where can I watch WandaVision?
Answer: WandaVision was released in 2021 on Disney’s own streaming service, Disney+. Since then, they’ve added a whole host of other shows based in the MCU, with several more in the pipeline. Currently, there are not any other sites where you can stream WandaVision. You can get a free trial of Disney+ on their website provided that you’re a new customer, which should give you enough time to watch the series. However, if you don’t have any intention of getting Disney+, you can also buy the DVD that Disney released for season 1.
As you can see, despite only being in one episode, Sparky plays an important role in WandaVision. He’s used as a tool to progress the character development of the children, and shows just how much autonomy they have. Wanda really has manifested a perfectly realistic family simply by channeling her powers. Sparky is cute, and was instantly popular with fans, for good reason. After all, who could resist his (literal) puppy dog eyes?
He was also one of the main catalysts for the reveal that Agnes wasn’t all that she appeared to be. I’d been a little suspicious of her up until that point, but when she ‘found’ Sparky’s dead body, I was almost certain she was secretly a villain. Sure enough, when we get the Agatha All Along theme tune announcing her villainous intentions, she admits “and I killed Sparky, too”.
Not only did Sparky play a vital role in the series, but he was a way of connecting the show to the comics. WandaVision had many references to comic characters and storylines, and Sparky was yet another nod to the existing lore. It’s so fascinating seeing the differences between Sparky from the comics as opposed to how he was portrayed in WandaVision.
Hopefully this guide has been useful in catching you up to speed with everything you need to know about Sparky!