When WandaVision kicks off Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in early 2021, it’ll do so by offering up major revelations about the inner workings of the onscreen comic book mythos. Chatting with Empire for the magazine’s latest issue, Marvel Studios head honcho Kevin Feige promised that the series would finally give audiences a clear explanation of Scarlet Witch’s (Elizabeth Olsen) magical abilities.
“No character seems to be as powerful as Wanda Maximoff. And no character has a power-set that is as ill-defined and unexplored as Wanda Maximoff,” he said. “So it seemed exploring that would be worthwhile, post-Endgame. Who else is aware of that power? Where did it come from? Did the Mind Stone unlock it?”
What we know is that Wanda and her late brother, Pietro (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), gained their abilities after they were subjected to HYDRA experiments involving Loki’s sceptre, which was embedded with the Mind Stone. That Infinity Gem eventually gave life to Vision (Paul Bettany) in Age of Ultron, but was ripped out of his forehead by Thanos (Josh Brolin), thus killing the android, in Avengers: Infinity War. Moreover, a recently-published MCU tie-in book hinted that Wanda and Pietro may be mutants, which is very much a possibility now that Disney owns the screen rights to the X-Men.
Empire gives even more credence to that theory by stating that WandaVision was directly inspired by Brian Michael Bendis and Olivier Coipel’s famous House of M storyline from 2005, in which a mentally unstable Wanda rewrites reality and nearly rids the world of mutants. As Chance Huffman theorized in a SYFY WIRE comments section on Facebook: “I think we’re gonna learn she already made the world forget about the X-Men and mutants. Her past has a lot to do with why she was introduced in containment. She’s gonna realize what she’s done and bring mutants back.”
It’s a pretty cool theory and plausible if the show is using House of M as a basis. But that’s not the only comic book arc that had a bearing on the series’ plot. Per Empire, WandaVision was also influenced by Tom King and Gabriel Hernandez Walta’s Vision run, which saw the sentient android living an idyllic life in the suburbs. That explains the 1950s-style sitcom format we’ll see in the first episode, which was filmed in front of a live audience for maximum effect. From there, WandaVision runs through a variety of different genres from the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s, and beyond — all the way up to the cinéma vérité approach of 21st century TV projects
“Wanting to really dig into the sitcom styles over the decades was something that fascinated all of us,” Feige told Empire. “We go up to the Modern Family and The Office style. The talk-to-the-camera, shaky camera, documentary style.”
“We’re swinging for the fences,” added Olsen. “I love risking stuff, so it’s fun to do that. But it’s a palatable amount of strange. It’s playful in its oddity and its strangeness.”
We know what kind of ride we’re in for, but what we don’t know is how Vision is alive after the Mad Titan murdered him in cold blood. On that front, Empire has some ideas: “stricken by grief, [Wanda] has built an alternate reality in which she and a resurrected Vision can live contentedly … another is that Wanda is unwittingly at the heart of an experiment pushing the limits of her reality-building powers for some reason.”
“It’s very much about Wanada coming to more of an understanding about who she is, where she comes from, and what she’s capable of,” teased executive producer/showrunner Jac Schaeffer (Black Widow).
Consisting of six episodes, WandaVision arrives on Disney+ Jan. 15, 2021. The project was directed by Matt Shakman (Game of Thrones) and co-stars Kathryn Hahn, Teyonah Parris, Kat Dennings, Randall Park, Fred Melamed, and Debra Jo Rupp.