Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, there’s been a shift in the release schedule for the Disney+ shows that Marvel Studios has been putting together in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Instead of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier leading the path in the wake of Avengers: Endgame, it will be WandaVision and its mash-up of comic book action and classic TV sitcom tropes. And now, some new details about the plot and characters of the series have just come to light.
If the first WandaVision trailer felt odd to you, that’s the intention. Kevin Feige, armed with a deep knowledge of Marvel Comics stories and a passion for classic sitcoms that he soaked up from watching Nick at Nite, had the idea to create this story for Wanda Maxmioff (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany), and the strange combination of the two really sparked something. It’s the result of a creative spark at the studio that happened when they struck the deal with Disney+ to create miniseries for the streaming service. Feige told Entertainment Weekly in their big cover story:
“It really energized everyone creatively at the studio, the notion that we could play in a new medium and throw the rules out the window in terms of structure and format.”
The Marvel series begins like no other project we’ve seen in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. WandaVision head writer Jac Schaeffer explained, “We find Wanda and Vision living a blissful suburban existence, trying to keep their powers under wraps.” Their lives unfold over decades of television tropes, taking us into the style of sticoms from the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s. But as we’ve seen in the trailer, something isn’t quite right here. After all, Vision died in Avengers: Infinity War (twice, actually), so how is this possible?
That’s an answer that hasn’t been provided, but it has been teased in the footage we’ve seen from the show so far. Not only does it appear that the idyllic sitcom scenario surrounding Wanda and Vision may be artificial (whether it’s a vision of Wanda’s creation or a distraction by some kind of outside force remains to be seen), but this version of Vision is slowly being reminded that he’s dead, thanks to Agnes, the typical meddlesome neighbor played by Kathryn Hahn. We’ve seen in the trailer that Hahn is the one to break the illusion for Vision, but we don’t know her place in the deeper story. Though it’s clear WandaVision digs into the trippy and surreal side of the MCU, for Hahn, the appeal came from somewhere else. She said:
“I’ve always loved that gasp of human magic that they have. It’s not like I had never done anything like this, but especially since becoming a mom, I have always been interested in those jolts of adrenaline and humanity.”
Meanwhile, Teyonah Parris (If Beale Street Could Talk) is another new face in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but her character is no stranger to Marvel fans. Parris is playing Monica Rambeau, the grown-up daughter of Maria Rambeau, the Air Force pilot best friend of Carol Danvers, who we know better as Captain Marvel. Unfortunately, Parris is tight-lipped about Monica’s role in WandaVision as well, though we have some hint of her place in the plot thanks to a tease in the trailer that found her being thrown through the air and landing in a field surrounded by covert agents of some kind.
In the comics, Monica is a superhero. She was actually given the name Captain Marvel before Carol Danvers was created, but she’s also been called Photon, Pulsar, and Spectrum. Though we’re not likely to see Parris go full superhero in WandaVision, for her, it’s just important that she’s seen by the next generation of Black dreamers. Parris said:
“I feel so special and honored to be able to walk in her shoes and bring her story to life. I hope that me playing this character (a) gives a group of people who are underrepresented a chance to see themselves, and (b) seeing my face and my Black body helps them engage with Black women and our humanity.”
But this is a WandaVision series, and even though those supporting characters will play key parts in the story, this is centered around Wanda Maximoff. In the trailers, it’s clear that she’s slowly becoming aware that what’s happening around her isn’t real. There must be a reason she’s having this experience, and it might have something to do with keeping her superpowers in check. After all, when she attacked Thanos in Avengers: Endgame, she spooked the villain enough that he had to launch an entire arsenal from his ship in order to save himself from her telekinetic grasp.
When Olsen was pitched WandaVision, she was promised a story that not only explored Wanda’s past more, but also the full capabilities of her super powers. Feige in particular mentioned several key comic book storylines involving Scarlet Witch, though Olsen is under strict instructions not to reveal any of them. Even so, Olsen is just happy that Wanda gets the spotlight and isn’t just a supporting character in the middle of a larger superhero ensemble story. She said:
“It’s been the biggest gift that Marvel’s given me, getting to do this show. You get to just focus on her and not how she felt through everyone else’s story lines.”
Whatever happens with Wanda, it’s not just going to be isolated to this Disney+ series. As Kevin Feige revealed some time ago, WandaVision will directly set up the story for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. And considering that title and Wanda’s powers of mental manipulation, we’re thinking that maybe things don’t end so well for Wanda when the last episode of WandaVision arrives. Is there a chance she turns back into a villain for the Doctor Strange sequel?
We’ll just have to wait and see what happens when WandaVision arrives on Disney+ sometime this winter, but as of now, the show still hasn’t been given a specific release date. For what it’s worth, WandaVision producer Dylan Klumph posted a photo on Instagram recently (that has since been deleted) celebrating the wrap of production on the series and teasing its arrival in December. So we’ll just be sitting here patiently waiting for an exact release date, but the good news is that the schedule shuffling won’t ruin how the next overarching story in the Marvel Cinematic Universe will unfold.
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