“He’s gotta have a penis.”
According to Vision actor Paul Bettany, this was the demand made by that veritable monster Joss Whedon during the planning stages of Avengers: Age of Ultron. Unsatisfied, apparently, with the Ken-doll-like anatomy of Vision, Whedon wanted to see some concept art that featured genitalia, only to reject those designs once they finally were drawn up.
Needless to say, Vision’s genitals didn’t make it into Age of Ultron, and they haven’t been featured in any Marvel movies or TV shows since, which means that fans of the MCU have been left guessing as to the nature of Vision’s penis, with the biggest question being simply, “Does he have one?” This, unsurprisingly, is the exact same thing fans of Marvel Comics have been wondering since the character debuted in 1968, as they’ve also been left in the dark about the finer details of Vision’s anatomy.
We have, however, gotten clues about Vision’s true nature, and by piecing those clues together, there might actually be an answer to the riddle of Vision’s dick, both in the MCU and in the comic books.
To start, as for the big-screen Vision — whose history is far simpler — we only know about those anatomically-correct Vision drawings due to Bettany and, unfortunately, in the years since Age of Ultron was made, none of the concept art featuring Vision’s penis has surfaced. I even spent the last two weeks emailing concept artists on the film for details, but I had no luck in finding out anything more. I can’t say I’m surprised by this — I’m guessing these artists want to remain employed by Disney — but I was still hoping for a Deep Throat-like informant to slip me some blurry images of a purple penis. To my disappointment, that never happened.
How do I know it’s purple? Well, once again, Bettany is the source on this one. Months before he mentioned Whedon’s demand for dick to Barstool, he told Comedy Central’s Josh Horowitz that, like Vision’s skin tone, his penis is purple. Honestly, I always thought of Vision as more red than purple, but I guess that’s neither here nor there.
In this same Comedy Central interview, Bettany also reiterated a point he’d made back in 2018, that Vision’s density-shifting powers might come into play when it comes to his penis. How, exactly, is unclear, though I assume that he turns the density way up when/if he’s erect, which I guess makes sense.
The problem, though, is that despite the fact that Bettany plays Vision, he’s not in charge of him, which means the question of whether or not Vision has a penis remains in dispute. In the MCU, Vision was created by Ultron as a new body for himself, made with the assistance of Helen Cho, a scientist who invented a sort of digital skin graft that can print actual flesh. Wanting a new body partway through the second Avengers movie, Ultron hands Cho some vibranium and basically tells her to get to it.
Really, whether or not Vision has a dick in the Marvel movies most likely comes down to the question of whether or not Ultron wanted to have a penis. If he did, then Vision’s definitely got one, but if he thought that a penis was one of humanity’s great weaknesses or distractions — which, I mean, he’s got a point there — then Vision doesn’t have a penis.
In the movie, Ultron’s move into the Vision body is interrupted by the Avengers, and then Tony Stark, Bruce Banner and Thor all have a hand in creating Vision. Thor simply brings Vision to life like Dr. Frankenstein by zapping him with electricity and — while that’s impressive — it’s unlikely that pure lightning could spontaneously generate a dick from nothing. As for Stark and Banner, they were on a bit of a time crunch to stop Ultron from destroying the world, which means they probably didn’t have time for a last-minute dick installation, either. Once again, this leaves it up to Ultron and whether or not he wanted one.
In the scene where Vision is born, we do get to see him naked for a minute — albeit from a distance — and it definitely looks like Vision does not have a penis. It’s possible, I guess, that a penis could be concealed behind some kind of robo-cup, but that seems unlikely since Vision goes to the trouble of creating clothes a moment later.
How Vision grew clothes, including a cape, is never made clear in the movie, and it’s rather perplexing when you consider that Vision’s only explicit power is to change his density. However, in the commentary for Captain America: Civil War, screenwriter Christopher Markus explained, “The fact of the matter is, Vision is always naked. Everything is made from his skin. It’s a projection.”
The use of the word “projection” is a bit confusing, but if Vision can make clothes from his skin, it would stand to reason that he could make a penis too. So, although he most likely wasn’t born with one in the MCU, he definitely could have grown one later. I’d even say it’s downright likely that he grew one. After all, Ultron might have loathed humans, but Vision thinks we’re kind of cool, and even falls in love with a human (or, possibly, a mutant). So, if he wanted to emulate humans and, possibly, please Wanda, it’s feasible he would use his roboskin to grow a dick. And, as Bettany said, that dick would be able to change density depending on the occasion.
This next paragraph, I should mention, does have a mild WandaVision spoiler, so feel free to skip ahead to where I get to the comic book Vision, which is decidedly more complicated.
Whether or not the MCU’s Vision has a dick is questionable, but, even if he does have one, it most likely doesn’t work. I mean, it may change density and even its shape and, because Vision can cry, it may even excrete bodily fluid, but it most likely cannot impregnate someone because, as we learn in WandaVision, their children are all completely fabricated from Wanda’s magic, and not from any input from Vision whatsoever.
But while the existence of Vision’s penis in the MCU would be determined by Ultron or Vision himself — and, of course, Kevin Feige — in the main Marvel Comics continuity, things are far more complex. For one thing, this Vision was created by Ultron and a character named Professor Horton. Horton — to make an enormously confusing story remotely comprehensible — was the inventor of an android known as the Human Torch. This is not the Human Torch from the Fantastic Four, though — this was the original Human Torch from 1939, which was an android that could manipulate fire.
In Marvel Comics #1 from 1939, Professor Horton described his new invention as, “A synthetic man — an exact replica of a human being!!” Which, to me, would imply that he would have a penis. Decades later, Ultron forces Horton to repurpose the Human Torch’s body as Vision to kill the Avengers. When Vision gets knocked out by the Avengers, Ant-Man examines him and says Vision is “every inch a human being, except that all his bodily organs are constructed of synthetic materials.” This, once again, implies that he does indeed have a dick — he did say “every inch,” so I’m taking that as literally as possible.
For confirmation, I turned to Marvel Comics writer Steve Englehart, who wrote a great number of Avengers comics from 1972 to 1988. “I think Vision probably does have one,” Englehart says. “The Silver Surfer doesn’t because we can see his crotch all the time, but for Vision, I think so. I’ve never built a synthezoid, but if I were to build a male synthezoid, I would include that part as well. It would be useless, but if I were building it, I wouldn’t leave it with a bare crotch — that’s just me.” Englehart also entertains my suggestion that Vision could have installed one later, saying, “Maybe it’s snap-on, snap-off.”
As for Vision’s relationship with Scarlet Witch, Englehart explains, “Roy Thomas had set them up as a couple in The Avengers and then I took over and kept moving them forward. They seemed to be a nice couple, so I thought, ‘Why don’t they get married?’” After they married, Englehart sent them on their honeymoon, which included a scene that took a lot of fans by surprise. “We had a scene where the Vision was wearing only bathing trunks on a beach, which revealed that his entire body was red, which surprised a bunch of people because we’d only ever seen him in his costume. But there wasn’t any good reason why he’d be multicolored under there, so that’s why we made him all red — that’s really the most we ever considered Vision’s overall anatomy.”
The fact that Vision wore swim trunks doesn’t prove that he had anything under them, of course, but it does heavily imply that he does. I’ll also note here that Vision is revealed to have ears in this scene, which is something he usually doesn’t have. I mention this because I’ve seen the argument made that, because Vision lacks ears, he may also lack a penis, which I really believe are two totally separate issues.
When Vision and Scarlet Witch were married in the 1970s and 1980s, explicit references to sex were still pretty off-limits. However, a recent comic featured a flashback to the first time the couple had sex, confirming the fact that they did have a sex life and, from this picture, it looks like it was pretty damn vigorous.
For the longest time, it seemed that Vision and Scarlet Witch would be a childless couple because Vision wasn’t really human. But, by the mid-1980s, Englehart considered changing that. “I’d left Marvel for a little bit, but I was asked back to do a Vision and Scarlet Witch miniseries with artist Richard Howell, so Howell and his wife and I went out to dinner and I said, ‘Now that they’re married, isn’t the next step to have kids?’ This would cause some eyebrow-raising at Marvel, but they agreed and the miniseries became about them moving to New Jersey. The kids were born in the last issue of the miniseries.”
Though Vision would act as their father, Englehart explains that the children came about entirely from Scarlet Witch’s magic. “She’s a witch, so the idea that she could make herself pregnant made sense. Vision couldn’t do it because he’s a synthezoid, so she just sort of magicked them up. I never got into it, but I guess that I sort of had the idea that she was informed by some of Vision’s essences, but he had no physical ability to do anything about it.”
Much of Englehart’s story would go on to inform WandaVision, but it would be quickly retconned in the pages of Marvel Comics, starting in the late 1980s after Englehart left. As Forbeck explains, “Later we found out that Wanda’s children were composed of bits of Mephisto’s soul and Mephisto later absorbs the children, eliminating them.” Mephisto, to give you the short version, is basically like a demon in Marvel comics, but I won’t go into that because it doesn’t really pertain to Vision’s penis at all.
Okay, take a breath, because here’s where shit gets really nuts (pun unavoidable): After Englehart left The Avengers, it was revealed that instead of being the body of the Human Torch, Vision was actually made from an exact copy of the Human Torch. This wouldn’t change Vision’s dick status, but what happened to him in 1989 might. Without getting too in the weeds here, this is the last panel of West Coast Avengers #43 from 1989:
Vision got ripped apart and, to the right there, is his skin. It doesn’t look like there’s a dick there, but that’s not really all that conclusive because it’s not that close-up and it’s possible the dick was separated for further examination. Or, possibly, it was just kept as a souvenir by one of these scientists. Regardless, I’m still of the belief that Vision had a dick up until this point, though that would change once he was reassembled.
The image above is what Vision looked like when he was put back together. It’s possible there’s a dick in that shiny silver part, but it looks to me like there’s nothing there. He only looked like this for one issue though, as in the next issue, his skin was put back on by Hank Pym, who mentions that the skin was badly damaged, which is why Vision is now white instead of red.
Whether or not the damage to the skin included the removal of his penis is never made clear, but what is clear is that the white version of Vision didn’t have a penis at all. As literature professor Anna Peppard notes in her essay “(Behold?) The Vision’s Penis: The Presence of Absence in Mutant Romance Tales” over at The Middle Spaces, “Lest you assume the Vision must be wearing skin-matching spandex, a few pages later, U.S. Agent clearly identifies him as naked.” U.S. Agent, if you’re unfamiliar, is kind of a dickish wannabe Captain America. But anyway, Vision resists getting dressed at first, but soon puts on a white cape and some undies (though there’s still nothing under them).
What’s interesting about this new, dickless version of the character is that Vision has become an emotionless automaton. He no longer loves Wanda or his kids and he’s been robbed of his personality. It’s almost as though Vision’s possible dick made him who he was and, without it, he became a mere ghost of his former self.
In 1993, Vision got his third body when he switched bodies with Vision from another dimension. We never learned that other Vision’s origin story, but he looks pretty much exactly like Vision did in the beginning, which might suggest that he had the same origin as the original Vision, which might further suggest that, with this change, Vision finally got his penis back!
After Vision got his third body, a lot of shit happened to him. He got melted by Scarlet Witch, ripped apart by She-Hulk, had his head smashed in by the Hulk and a copy of his mind was put into another character. After each of these hardships though, Vision was rebuilt from the same body, which means that the body he got in 1993 is still the body he has today.
To bring this back around to Vision’s penis, in recent years, we have seen this body get a couple of sex scenes. Both these scenes are pretty different, however, and though one supports the idea that Vision has a penis, the other only complicates the matter.
The confusing one came first, in early 2015. On a different version of Earth, Vision falls in love with a robot named Eve and they proceed to have hundreds of children. During a sex scene that Eve’s dad walks in on, we see that they have sex back-to-back with a bunch of wires attached to each other. I’ll also note here that, while Eve is naked, Vision still has his costume on. This computer-y sex scene doesn’t mean that Vision doesn’t have a dick, mind you, it just introduces the idea that Vision has options.
The second sex scene came the next year when Vision moved out to the suburbs and built himself a synthezoid wife and two kids, very much like his synthezoid self. This scene is only the beginning of a sex scene, but we do see Vision’s wife, Virginia, undoing his pajama pants in a way that suggests that he’s got something under there. And though Virginia is a robot — like Eve — she’s a synthezoid, which, in Marvel Comics language, means she’s basically completely human, just made from synthetic parts. This, perhaps, explains why they might possibly have a more recognizable type of sex.
It’s probably worth noting that the two stories that inspired WandaVision more than anything else were the recent The Vision miniseries (above) written by Tom King from 2015-2016 and Englehart’s miniseries The Vision and the Scarlet Witch from the 1980s — both of which depicted Vision living a “normal” life in the suburbs.
The reason I mention this is because, despite the overly complex history of the character, these two stories are the most relevant to Marvel now, which gives them a particular weight. So, since the recent miniseries heavily suggests that Vision has a penis and because Englehart — who gave Vision and Wanda their kids — thinks he has a penis, I think it’s pretty conclusive that, for most of his existence, Vision has, indeed, had a penis. How it works and what, exactly, it looks like still remain a mystery, but if I were to venture a guess, I’d say it’s probably more red than it is purple. With all due respect to Mr. Bettany, of course.
Editor’s Note: This piece has been amended to credit Peppard’s essay “(Behold?) The Vision’s Penis: The Presence of Absence in Mutant Romance Tales” from The Middle Spaces. This reference was erroneously left out when the article was first published.