Don’t touch that dial, WandaVision is nearly here. And when it debuts, Disney+’s first-ever Marvel series will beam fans into a new adventure for Elizabeth Olsen’s Wanda Maximoff and Paul Bettany’s Vision, a channel-hopping, reality-bending romp through decades of sitcom tropes as the super-powered couple seeks domestic bliss in a world that may not be what it seems.
“There’s not a lot of opportunities like this show out in the world,” Olsen tells ET. “As an actor, it was so wild and fun to really lean into all of these different decades through American sitcom.”
The first episode of WandaVision — the first new MCU content since 2019’s Spider-Man: Far From Home — kicks off in the 1960s with what Olsen describes as a “full thrust into sitcom land,” Dick Van Dyke Show-style, broadcasting in black-and-white with background laughs provided by a real studio audience. “Having the audience there, and having two days to shoot an episode is something that I’d never experienced in my life,” she says.
Though the actress has now played Wanda in multiple Marvel outings — beginning with a post-credits cameo in 2014’s Captain America: The Winter Soldier — getting into character was completely different this time around. Instead of the low-register, Sokovian accent we’re accustomed to, this Wanda channels her best Donna Reed, right down to the apron strings.
“There’s a lot of vocal warmups that have to be done,” Olsen explains of pitching her voice up for a cheery lilt. “I do enjoy the mannerisms and the femininity of it. I think that’s always fun for me, because I feel I’m just, like, a clumsy, masculine woman or something. It’s really fun for me to be very effeminate.”
The sitcom world, of course, isn’t a completely foreign atmosphere for Olsen, who grew up watching big sisters Mary-Kate and Ashley star on Full House. That, however, only made the experience all the more “surreal.” “I have such old, early memories of being on the audience side, and it felt so comfortable,” she recalls. “I felt so comfortable as a child. And here I was doing something that felt so foreign as an actor.”
And yes, there is even a “very meta” nod to Full House in WandaVision. “I was very excited to do it!” Olsen laughs, noting that her ever-supportive siblings will soon see the reference for themselves. “They always watch the [MCU films] that I’m in, which is great.”
As for casual Marvel fans, fear not. A complete 23-movie, 3,000-minute rewatch of Marvel’s cinematic universe is not required viewing ahead of WandaVision.
“I think this is an experience where people can come in with fresh eyes,” Olsen assures. “I really think that if you’re just in it for the ride and you kind of know that these people are superheroes and you can extend your imagination to what that then means, it’s just a fun ride and it all answers itself within the show.
“I feel like we might have a few first-timers out there!” she adds, “so I’m excited for those experiences.”
As much as the series builds on the canon that came before it — including the return a few familiar faces — this is Wanda and Vision’s story, first and foremost. And still, Olsen is excited she’s able to help launch a new era of players within this world, like Kathryn Hahn, who joins the MCU as the mysterious Agnes, and Teyonah Parris as a grown-up Monica Rambeau.
“I am so in love with Kathryn Hahn! She is so funny — humor is just a part of every bone in her body — and she’s so talented,” Olsen raves. “I am so grateful that I got to have her in my life for the past year.”
As for Parris, whose character fans met as a wide-eyed kid in Captain Marvel but is now having world-shaping adventures of her own, Olsen says, “I’m such a fan of hers, as an actor before she joined us, and this was an amazing opportunity to kind of set her off on the next Marvel adventure she’ll have!”
WandaVision premieres Jan. 15 on Disney+.
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