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'WandaVision': We need to talk about Tyler Hayward

Josh Stamberg as Tyler Hayward in 'WandaVision.'
Josh Stamberg as Tyler Hayward in 'WandaVision.' (Image credit: Disney+)

This post contains spoilers for WandaVision.

Strap in, all. Momma's got a theory, and it's going to take a little bit of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D knowledge for it all to make sense. I promise I'll be as brief as possible, but in tonight's episode of WandaVision we meet current acting S.W.O.R.D. director Tyler Hayward. Now, that name rang a bell, but I'm not going to pretend it dinged in any meaningful way. I was pretty sure I'd never heard of a Tyler Hayward (Josh Stamberg) in Marvel, but the comics universe is huge and there are a lot of names out there.

Names like one Brian Hayward. 

Don't feel bad if you watched the series and still aren't quite sure who the heck that is. Brian wasn't in the show long. But, when he was, he was an Afghanistan vet who found himself as a part of Project Centipede (essentially a cyborg farm). The project has been long-since dissolved, and Brian long-since dead, but it was only an arm of a larger organization: HYDRA.

In Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D, Brian's only family mentioned is his sister Laura. But let's not pretend that Marvel is a) big on coincidences and b) forthcoming on all their knowledge on bit characters in their ginormous universe. 

So, what am I getting at? Well, it's pretty simple: Tyler Hayward is a big fat Nazi and he's answering to whoever's pulling the strings on this whole WandaVision operation.

Could Tyler be the good boy in the family? Sure, it's a possibility. But I'm not buying into his "aw shucks" routine with Monica (Teyonah Parris), and I'm certainly not buying into his "respect" for the late, great Maria Rambeau. Nah—this guy's fishy, and if the farmboy routine with someone obviously more capable than him wasn't enough, take a look at the armaments he defended being built in the S.W.O.R.D. bunker that Monica protested against. 

Then there's his reaction to Darcy's (Kat Dennings) findings. Instead of sticking around and learning more about the situation, he needs to call transportation back to S.W.O.R.D. HQ. How come, Chief Willoughby? Where you going, you creep? Him skipping off the second he had new intel also hints at the fact that he's not the one really pulling the strings here. He's got a boss, and he needed to go tell them some very uncomfortable news. 

The most damning evidence against Tyler isn't his apparent ties to a deceased HYDRA agent, or his chronic White Guy™ syndrome. It's that Chapter 4 made it clear that Wanda (Elizabeth Olson) is at least somewhat aware of what she's doing. If that were the full answer to whatever's going on, we wouldn't have gotten it until the very end of the series. The MCU does not play around with their mysteries in their episodic storytelling and they're not going to stop that behavior on the first Marvel property in a year.

We see more credence given to this theory "On a Very Special Episode" as well. The Darcy line where she's calling him a dick and he interrupts with terrorist is hilarious, but it has a softer punch than the actual subject matter of Hayward's scene. The current director of S.W.O.R.D. spends every second on-screen in this episode fighting to make it abundantly clear that Wanda is the big bad here. He even has footage that "S.W.O.R.D. HQ allowed him to release" showcasing Wanda "stealing" Vision's body from their labs. 

Not only has Hayward made it abundantly clear that the agency has made a hard shift into weapons focus since Monica's disappearance and Maria's death—thus making Vision's body a specific interest to them—there's also no one above Tyler on the S.W.O.R.D. food chain to be telling him to release footage. At least not on paper. Because Tyler Hayward is unquestioningly working for H.Y.D.R.A. or some other unknown big bad.