WandaVision is an upcoming American web television miniseries created for Disney+ by Jac Schaeffer, based on the Marvel Comics characters Wanda Maximoff / Scarlet Witch and Vision. It is set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), sharing continuity with the films of the franchise. The events of the series take place after the 2019 film Avengers: Endgame. The series is produced by Marvel Studios, with Schaeffer serving as head writer and Matt Shakman directing.

Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany reprise their roles as Wanda Maximoff / Scarlet Witch and Vision, respectively, from the film series. Teyonah Parris, Kat Dennings, Randall Park, and Kathryn Hahn also star. By September 2018, Marvel Studios was developing a number of limited series for Disney+, centered on supporting characters from the MCU films such as Maximoff and Vision, with Olsen and Bettany expected to return. Schaeffer was hired in January 2019, the series was officially announced that April, and Shakman joined in August. Filming began in Atlanta, Georgia in November 2019, before production was halted in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Production resumed that July in Los Angeles.

WandaVision is scheduled to premiere in December 2020, and will consist of six episodes. It will be the first series in Phase Four of the MCU.

Synopsis

Set after the events of Avengers: Endgame (2019), Wanda Maximoff and Vision begin to suspect things are not as they seem as the two live their ideal suburban life.

Cast and characters

Main

  • Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff / Scarlet Witch:
    An Avenger who can harness magic, engage in telepathy and telekinesis as well as alter reality. Olsen stated that the series would explain how and why Wanda becomes known as the Scarlet Witch, as she had not been called that in previous MCU appearances.
  • Paul Bettany as Vision:
    An android and Avenger created using the artificial intelligence J.A.R.V.I.S., Ultron and the Mind Stone. Vision appears in the series after his death in Avengers: Infinity War (2018).
  • Teyonah Parris as Monica Rambeau: The daughter of Maria Rambeau, who is the best friend of Carol Danvers. A younger version played by Akira Akbar previously appeared in the film Captain Marvel (2019).
  • Kat Dennings as Darcy Lewis: A political science major who is a friend of Thor. Dennings reprises her role from Thor (2011) and Thor: The Dark World (2013).
  • Randall Park as Jimmy Woo: An FBI agent. Park reprises his role from Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018).
  • Kathryn Hahn as Agnes: A “nosy neighbor”.

Guest

  • Fred Melamed as Arthur Heart: Wanda and Vision’s neighbor.
  • Debra Jo Rupp as Mrs. Heart: Arthur’s wife and Wanda and Vision’s neighbor.

Production

Development

By September 2018, Marvel Studios was developing several limited series for its parent company Disney’s streaming service, Disney+, to be centered on supporting characters from the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) films who had not starred in their own films, such as Scarlet Witch. Actors who portrayed the characters in the films were expected to reprise their roles for the limited series, including Elizabeth Olsen as Scarlet Witch. The series were expected to be six to eight episodes each, have a “hefty [budget] rivaling those of a major studio production”, and be produced by Marvel Studios rather than Marvel Television, who produced previous television series in the MCU.

Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige was believed to be taking a “hands-on role” in each series’ development, focusing on “continuity of story” with the films and “handling” the actors who would be reprising their roles from the films. By the end of October, Paul Bettany’s Vision was expected to play a significant role in the series, which would focus on the relationship between Scarlet Witch and Vision. In the following months, the titles Vision and the Scarlet Witch and The Vision and Scarlet Witch were both reported.

Jac Schaeffer was hired as head writer of the series in January 2019 after previously working as a writer on the films Captain Marvel (2019) and Black Widow (2021) for Marvel Studios. Schaeffer was set to write the pilot episode and executive produce the series. That April, Disney and Marvel officially announced the series with the title WandaVision. Later in the month, Olsen indicated parts of the series would be set in the 1950s. In August, Matt Shakman was hired to direct the miniseries, which consists of six episodes. Budgets for each episode were reported to be as much as $25 million.

At Disney’s biennial convention D23, Feige described the series as part “classic sitcom”, part “Marvel epic”, and showed a teaser for the series that combined footage from previous MCU films featuring Maximoff and Vision with images from The Dick Van Dyke Show and Father Knows Best. Bettany called the series “super avant-garde and weird”, while Olsen added that there were “plenty of comic books that support” the characters appearing in a sitcom setting. Olsen also indicated that there were ongoing discussions regarding whether the series would use a laugh track.

Writing

The series takes place after Avengers: Endgame (2019), and its events tie in to the Phase Four film Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022), which includes Maximoff. Schaeffer hired eight writers for the series’ writers room, including four women and several people of color because of her belief that “stories are better the more perspectives you have”. Megan McDonnell served as a staff writer on the series, before being promoted to story editor.

Comparing her work on the series to the film Black Widow, Schaeffer said WandaVision would be “the polar opposite” to the film’s style of aggressive, visceral action. Comic book writer Tom King indicated in October 2019 that his run on The Vision would be an inspiration for WandaVision. With the release of the series’ official trailer, some commentators noted the influence of The Vision as well as the “House of M” storyline on the series.

Elements of The Vision and the Scarlet Witch by Bill Mantlo and Rick Leonardi are also referenced, with The Vision and the Scarlet Witch by Steve Englehart and Richard Howell also inspiring WandaVision, as the comic sees Wanda becoming pregnant by “magical means” and being a parent with Vision. In December 2019, Feige described the series as an opportunity to tell the story of Maximoff and Vision, show more of what Wanda can do, further explore who Vision is, and introduce the comic book name “Scarlet Witch” to the MCU “in ways that are entirely fun, entirely funny, somewhat scary, and will have repercussions for the entire future of Phase Four of the MCU”.

Casting

With the official announcement of the series in April 2019 came confirmation that Olsen and Bettany would reprise their roles of Maximoff and Vision, respectively, in the series. Teyonah Parris was announced as cast in the role of Monica Rambeau in July 2019; the character was introduced to the MCU as a child (played by Akira Akbar) in Captain Marvel, which was set in 1995. The next month, Kat Dennings and Randall Park were set to reprise their MCU film roles as Darcy Lewis and Jimmy Woo, respectively, while Kathryn Hahn was also cast as Agnes. Park joined the series following a general meeting with Marvel to discuss Woo’s future in the MCU after his introduction in Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018).

Fred Melamed and Debra Jo Rupp guest star in the series.

Filming

Filming began in early November 2019, at Pinewood Atlanta Studios in Atlanta, Georgia, with Shakman directing. The series is filmed under the working title Big Red, with Jess Hall serving as cinematographer. Filming was previously reported to begin on September 21 in Los Angeles, California. Location shooting took place in the Atlanta metropolitan area throughout the months of December 2019 and February 2020. A filming wrap party for the series occurred on March 1, but production for the series was still underway on March 14 when it was halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Filming resumed in Los Angeles in July 2020.

Music

In January 2020, Christophe Beck announced he would compose for the series; he previously wrote the scores for Ant-Man (2015) and Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018).

Marketing

The series was promoted as part of Expanding the Universe, a Marvel Studios special that debuted on Disney+ on November 12, 2019. In December, Feige debuted the first image from the series at Comic Con Experience. Vinnie Mancuso of Collider found the image to be “very interesting“, highlighting the “old-school black and white” coloring. A commercial for the series, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and Loki was shown during Super Bowl LIV.

Inverse‘s Dais Johnston noted that the clips shown visually referenced past sitcoms spanning different eras, including The Dick Van Dyke Show (1961–1966), Leave It to Beaver (1957–1963), Bewitched (1964–1972), The Brady Bunch (1969–1974), Roseanne (1988–1997), and Full House (1987–1995). Johnston thought the series would be “a must-see not only for Marvel fans but also for anyone looking for a hit of nostalgia: the era-spanning framework means anyone can relive the shows of their childhood in this age of streaming.” Julia Alexander of The Verge said the footage “wasn’t much” but offered “enough glimpses to tease fans”.

Haleigh Foutch at Collider felt of all the Super Bowl commercials, Marvel’s teasers “stole the whole show” and had “a lot to get excited about”. Foutch said the WandaVision footage was “the most exciting”, saying it was “utterly strange and unpredictable looking”.

The series’ official trailer was released on September 20, 2020, during the 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards. The trailer received 55.7 million views online within 24 hours, including 36.1 million on YouTube, 4.9 million on Facebook, and 10.1 million on Instagram, which was believed to be the highest number ever for a trailer for a series on a streaming service. The views were also compared to those that trailers released during the Super Bowl receive. WandaVision also had over 302,600 social mentions, trending on Twitter immediately after the short teaser aired during the Emmy Awards ahead of the full trailer’s release, ultimately trending fourth on the service; the trailer was the number two trending video on YouTube as well.

Ethan Anderton from /Film noted the footage in the trailer “looks like one of the most trippy Marvel projects to date”. He also pointed out Vision wearing a Halloween costume version of the character’s comic design as an indication there would be “more lighthearted stuff in this series too”. Matt Patches at Polygon called the trailer “a hoot, full of bright colors and odd behavior”, adding that it still left much of the series a mystery.

Comic Book Resources‘ Noah Dominguez said the trailer “offers quite a bit in terms of content” with “a vivid look at some of the visual tricks on display”. Charles Pulliam-Moore of io9 called the trailer’s use of “Twilight Time” by The Platters “the most haunting” of “all the strange things featured in” it. As well, he felt the trailer was edited to create “the effect of rapidly flipping through television channels in search of something good to watch”, and pointed out how the static visuals when Wanda changed things around her made “it unclear whether what she’s interacting with is real or not”.

Moore also said the last part of the trailer showing Teyonah Parris as the adult Monica Rambeau was the trailer’s “money shot”. The Hollywood Reporter‘s Richard Newby called the trailer “jam-packed with information, and gives fans quite a lot to look forward to, as well as some mysteries to ponder over leading up to the premiere”.

Release

WandaVision is expected to debut in December 2020 on Disney+, and will consist of six episodes. The series was originally set to be released in early 2021. It will be the first series in Phase Four of the MCU.

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