After an 18month absence, the MCU returns with the start to Phase Four. We recap the past of the show’s lead characters, provide some facts about them and speculate on their future
Marvel Studios’ fascinating new original series WandaVision has been released today exclusively on Disney+.
WandaVision is officially described as “a blend of classic television and the Marvel Cinematic Universe in which Wanda Maximoff and Vision—two super-powered beings living idealized suburban lives—begin to suspect that everything is not as it seems.”
Though it wasn’t pre-planned, WandaVision will be the first Marvel/Disney+ series to be released, kick-starting the fourth phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, an honor which would have been bestowed upon Black Widow but for multiple Covid-19 related delays. It will also be the first Marvel project to hit our screens in a year and a half. WandaVision will also tie-in to movies such as Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness and Spider-Man 3.
Details of the limited MCU series, or mini-series if you will, have naturally been kept under wraps by Marvel, and even the multiple teases that we’ve seen so far have done nothing but add to the mystery of the show. So naturally, some fans—especially the non-hardcore watchers— would be confused about what to expect from WandaVision.
Several questions have already been flying around social media like “What exactly is the show all about?”, “What do I need to know to get the most out of the series?”, “Why the heck is everything in black and white?”
Understanding Wanda and Vision’s story in the MCU is not only essential to fathoming what the show is about, but it’s also vital to following the future of the MCU. We’re here to unravel as much of the mystery as we can. Below is our guide to help you navigate everything you need to know before starting the series.
WandaVision is a nine-episode series that will be an exploration of the relationship between Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany), who are starting their life as a married couple together and setting roots in the town of Westview. Wanda and Vision have apparently departed from the spotlight and are settling into quiet suburban living in their new hometown of Westview.
After suffering extreme trauma in the MCU movies, she seems to have retreated into a fantasy of her own making. Head writer Jac Schaeffer explains that Wanda has a simple desire. “What she wants more than anything is to live happily with her husband in this community and to make friends and to be a part of the community.” she stated to Marvel.com.
WandaVision stars Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany, reprising their roles as Wanda Maximoff and Vision, respectively.
Joining Olsen and Bettany are Kat Dennings, who is returning to her role as Darcy Lewis—the quirky intern of Jane Foster—from Thor and Thor: The Dark World; Randall Park, who reprises his role as FBI Agent Jimmy Woo from Ant-Man and The Wasp; and MCU newcomers Kathyrn Hahn, who plays Wanda and Vision’s nosy neighbor Agnes, and Teyonah Parris, who plays the adult version of Monica Rambeau—a character first introduced in Captain Marvel.
Powers and Identity
Okay we’ve been rambling about Wanda and Vision, but who exactly are they and what can they do?
Wanda and Vision are members of the Avengers, they fight evil and protect innocent lives, as superheroes normally do. (I’m looking at you The Boys.)
Their powers and abilities are not really defined as the others in the Avengers. There’s a whole lot of grey area, but we’ll do our best to explain.
Wanda has been seen to physically manipulate things with her mind i.e. telekinesis. She is also known to possess telepathy, she can shoot energy balls out of her hands and also create protective energy barriers around herself and others and she has some flight or at least the ability to hover.
Vision on the other hand, is an android created by Tony Stark (Iron Man). He has the power of intangibility, which means he can pass through walls. He can fly, shoot energy from what used to be the mind stone in his head (or could, we’ll see) and he has density control which allows him to become intangible or immovable.
They both have superhuman stamina, speed and strength. You know, all of the basic superhero requirements.
Wanda and Vision both made their MCU debuts in the second Avengers film. Avengers: Age of Ultron. Hydra, a Nazi splinter group, gets its hands on the Mind Stone – one of the Infinity Stones that were the main McGuffin’s of the phase one, two and three spanning Infinity Saga.
Hydra used the mind stone to experiment on people trying to build a super army, but Wanda and her twin brother, Pietro are the only ones who survive. Wanda gets her very vague collection of powers and Pietro gets super speed.
The Avengers attack the Hydra compound and obtain the mind stone which Tony Stark convinces Bruce Banner to help him use to create a global defense program called Ultron. Things go awry as a sentient Ultron goes haywire and shreds Jarvis AI consciousness apart before trying to kill the Avengers. Ultron then teams up with Wanda and Pietro to take down the Avengers.
After they capture a new super powerful hybrid vibranium body Ultron built for himself, Tony embeds it with the mind stone and the remains of Jarvis’ consciousness to create an android that could destroy Ultron. Thor helps by powering up the android which ends up with a whole new consciousness and thus Vision was born.
Vision and Wanda go on to become full Avengers and go on missions. In Captain America: Civil War, while saving Cap’s life Wanda is unable to stop an explosion by the villain Crossbones from killing several innocent civilians. She’s put under house arrest with Vision assigned to watch her, and a relationship begins.
In Avengers: Infinity War, Thanos the mad Titan (the unseen hand behind Loki’s invasion in Avengers) reveals his plan to destroy half of the population of the universe. To do that he needs all the infinity stones, including the mind stone which he rips out of Vision’s head, killing him.
Five years go by before, in Avengers: Endgame, the Avengers pull off some extreme superheroing involving time travel and quantum physics, and the snap (or decimation as the Russos described it) was undone bringing the likes of Wanda back to a life without Vision.
Unfortunately, since Vision was killed, not dusted, the Avengers didn’t bring him back with a finger snap. Wanda mourns Vision’s death – and nearly kills Thanos while letting him know how she feels before he is eventually defeated by Iron Man.
At this point, things have been super rough for the young superhero, so who can blame her if she decides to create a happier reality for herself?
Black & White?
WandaVision is going to be modeled after different sitcom themes of each decade starting from the 1950s.
In each episode, Wanda and Vision play a married couple in a different decade of television. In the first episode, Wanda and Vision play a married 50s couple akin to I Love Lucy; the second episode pays homage to the popular 1960s show I Dream of Jeanie and the third references the 70s ish-set show The Brady Bunch and so on.
To get in the spirit of classic sitcoms, the first episode of WandaVision was filmed in front of a live studio audience and completed within two days!
“That’s what they actually did for The Dick Van Dyke Show,” stated cinematographer Jess Hall. “That’s how they shot The Dick Van Dyke Show. Matt [Shakman] dug into a lot of history about that, and I dug into it as well. There is something in the live event that is irreplaceable; there’s something special in that performative moment.”
So expect some black and white on your screens for the first few episodes, but don’t let that put you off; the budget of the show is reportedly 150 million dollars so you can be sure that there won’t be any lack in quality. Paul Bettany has stated that WandaVision has more Vfx shots than Endgame, so that should be enough reassurance for fans that there’s more to come.
“That’s the interesting thing. We are creating something that is in the MCU, so it will appeal to, we hope, all of the MCU fans out there. But at the same time, we are bringing the MCU to television. The show was, by design, a giant love letter to the history of television. It is intentionally throwing our arms around all of the amazing work that has come before in television, starting with Dick Van Dyke in the ’50s and ’60s all the way up to today. So I hope that, much like the MCU films, that this has a little something in it for everybody.” stated series showrunner and executive producer Matt Shakman.
WandaVision released today on Disney+, and we got two episodes instead of one. There were already a lot of easter eggs in the teasers, so keep your eyes peeled as production designer Mark Worthington tipped fans, “Pay attention to the residential street that Wanda and Vision live, because there might be something that interests you!”
We’ll definitely be paying attention.