WandaVision finally hit Disney+ this weekend, giving viewers the first Marvel Phase 4 content. Does it fill the void that Black Widow was supposed to fill?
Who, What, When, Where, Why?
WandaVision is set to take place after the events of Avengers: Endgame. Wanda Maximoff, a.k.a. Scarlet Witch, (Elizabeth Olsen) and a not murdered Vision (Paul Bettany) are now newlyweds that moved into the town of Westview – a comic book referencing their time with the West Coast Avengers. From there, zaniness ensues as they try to perceive themselves as a normal married couple, concealing their powers from their neighbor, Agnes (Kathryn Hahn), and the rest of the town. Familiar concepts with tons of inspiration.
I Love Wanda
The first two episodes take pages off the classic American family sitcoms. Marvel Studios President, Kevin Feige, tells Empire the reason for these huge homage to classic TV. “I loved TV, and watched far too much The Dick Van Dyke Show and I Love Lucy and Bewitched and everything,” Feige explained. Like the Marvel comics, Feige was a fan and found the concept manageable. This sitcom route is reportedly meant to be the first act of how this reality works. However, mysterious hints are sprinkled to let viewers know that the sitcom aesthetics are covering something darker. As it plays out, it’s confirmed that reinforcements are preparing to infiltrate.
Grab the S.W.O.R.D.
As viewers get to know this strange world Wanda and Vision are in, they’re introduced to the S.H.I.E.L.D. predecessor, S.W.O.R.D. (Sentient World Observation and Response Department). S.W.O.R.D. was originally created to deal with extraterrestrial threats. However, in this Marvel universe, they’re dealing with this simulated reality that Wanda trapped herself in. Several characters recruited by the organization have had shared experience with heroes and extraordinary events before.
The second episode introduces an adult Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris). The last seen as a child in 2019’s Captain Marvel, Monica finds herself in the town Wanda and Vision reside. For fans of the comics, don’t expect her powers and abilities on the show. But there could be subtle references to her hero names, Photon or Spectrum. Though powerless, she does have familiar help.
Agent and the Former Assistant
Standing by her and the team, are FBI Agent Jimmy Woo (Randall Park) and Darcy Lewis (Kat Dennings). Agent Woo was last seen monitoring Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) in Ant-Man and the Wasp. Darcy; however, hasn’t been around since 2013’s Thor: The Dark World. As Agent Woo was still serving in the FBI, the director of the recent episodes, Matt Shakman, was able to explain Darcy’s whereabouts. “She’s gone on to become Dr. Darcy Lewis now,” Shakman stated, “So, she’s a real expert in her field.” It’ll be up to them and their expertise to assist Monica and S.W.O.R.D.
Solving the Mystery
So far, the sitcom reality is shrouded in mystery. Several hints show in the first two episodes with character’s repeating lines horrifically, S.W.O.R.D. trying to break into the reality, and even monitoring Vision and Wanda. It’s speculated that this is all Wanda’s doing as she mainly controls the narrative with details hidden through the town and with her powers. It reminds of dark realization of Wanda’s possible coping mechanism of the events of Endgame. She’ll basically be like Anakin Skywalker; where her trauma’s growing along with her abilities; turning her into an ultimate threat.
Characters that could also help enabling her warping reality are Agness and her possible employer. In these episodes, she is the only character closest to Wanda. She does her best to get to know her and Vision while gaining Wanda’s trust as her closest friend. However, she is believed to be based on the comic book character, Agatha Harkness – a sorceress who helps Wanda with her powers while working for this world’s devil Mephisto. She hints on his possible presence when she comments on the old saying, “the devil is in the details.”
Viewers will get their answers according to Paul Bettany. He confirmed during the press tour that the final three episodes will be the turn where “all is revealed.” He even hinted to Black Girl Nerds of a possible hidden character. “I get to work with an actor I’ve been wanting to work with forever. It’s just…unbelievable.” That actor could be is still shrouded in mystery.
The "M" Word
WandaVision isn’t just another form of content related to the MCU. It’s also giving viewers a better look at two characters that could be the key to using the “M” word, mutants. The show will be the first to introduce mutants in the form of Wanda and Vision’s children, Billy and Tommy, a.k.a. Wiccan and Speed. Not only will their existence be significant but be another problem for a professional higher than an agency or a dead Avenger.
Well That's Strange
If S.W.O.R.D. or Vision can’t help Wanda from Agness possible danger, then they’ll have to call a doctor. It’s been reported that Elizabeth Olsen will be in the next Doctor Strange installment, Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness. Not much is reported on the film other than Wanda will be there and the film will setup of how Marvel’s different universes and alternate realities. Already exciting as is for the future of the MCU, but how are the show’s first impressions?
Wicked or Visionary?
From what has been said about the first three episodes, it follows the beats of the Twilight Zone. Fandango’s Nikki Novak hints that, “…we only get glimpses so far that all isn’t right in Westview…” TV host, Hector Navarro, elaborates on the tone to be, “funny, clever, creepy, and about all, sort of tragic.” He even elaborates on the possible source materials utilized for the show. Both of which were House of M, and Tom King’s Vision comic series.
Public reactions have been positive with a 97% rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Joshua Rivera of The Verge praises, “The boldness of [WandaVision’s] play — and the way it is precisely the opposite of what we know Marvel movies to be — makes it a perfect return.” Lucy Mangan of The Guardian speaks of Olsen and Bettany’s performance. “In a loving parody of classic sitcoms, Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany shine in the MCU’s first Disney+ series,” she wrote.
However, Deadline reviewed the show to be less than satisfying. “WandaVision tastes like small screen white bread sprinkled with sugar. All of which isn’t much to chew on, and leaves the visually impressive limited series as little more than an opening course for the forthcoming The Falcon and the Winter Solider, Hawkeye, Ms. Marvel and Loki,” Senior Editor, Dominic Patten explains. What is taken away from the reviews so far is that things are going to get even weirder. WandaVision will air every Friday on Disney+.