WandaVision is a Marvel Studios’ sitcom. Sort of. – a chat with the cast and creatives
You’ve probably seen the teaser trailers for WandaVision. You know, the ones featuring the super couple from Marvel Studios’ Avengers franchise, but instead of wearing their hero attire, they are sporting a suit and a dress straight from the 60s. And they’re acting weird as if they are on a TV sitcom from the same era. Yeah.
Don’t worry, though. I and the rest of the world have been seeing those same trailers, too. And they are real and were purposefully made to be strange and mysterious, to say the least.
“It was the first time that Marvel Studios did TV, so we had to make it bold and different,” said president of Marvel Studios Kevin Feige in a virtual press conference for the Disney+ exclusive show. “It’s stuff like this that can only be done for TV.”
And quite literally, that is exactly what they did. They made a TV show called WandaVision. Or at least we think that’s what they did on the surface.
Writer Jac Schaffer and Matt Shakman initially pitched the idea of doing a TV series that would be a series of period-specific sitcoms starring Wanda and Vision, but would be so much more with ties reaching far into the beloved Marvel Cinematic Universe.
With the making of each episode, extreme care was taken to make this Marvel sitcom as authentic as possible. Shakman had the other writers and actors “research” old and current sitcoms by watching episodes of The Dick Van Dyke Show, I Love Lucy, The Brady Bunch, and more of the like. “That included various things like writing in very mannered jokes, practicing mannerisms, and having the actors work with a dialect coach to get the delivery of said jokes,” said Shakman.
WandaVision is even complete with its own catchy theme songs (one of which was written by famed Frozen songwriters Robert and Kristen Anderson-Lopez) and commercials with hidden but clear ties to MCU elements that will tie back somehow to a greater thing, assured Feige.
For the pilot episode, Elizabeth Olson (who plays Wanda) and Paul Bettany (who’s Vision) even had to perform in front of a live studio audience (pre-COVID shutdowns) to maintain that authenticity. “It messed with my brain [since I’m used to performing on movie sets with no public audience], but I fed off the energy they gave, and I ended up loving it,” said Olson.
Bettany thought it was easy for him to play Vision in this sitcom setting because it’s nothing new. “He always felt so different, and has always fought for wanting to be something else,” said Bettany. “He’s in his natural state so long as he remains descent and exists for Wanda.”
And that love for each other carries well into each episode even as things for them and us as the audience get stranger. “WandaVision is a love story wrapped in a sitcom. Like many classic sitcoms with leads, Wanda and Vision have a love story that’s warm, intimate, and tragic at times,” said Schaffer. “It’s a lot of cute-cute until it’s not.”
Olson continued, “It’s a sitcom that also is about trying to fit in, and to not be mistreated for being something different.”
And the ‘different’ Olson is alluding to is all the strange unanswered questions that will accompany many of the initial episodes. As for why it’s all happening, one can only guess – even for those press members like us who got to see the initial three episodes. All the creators could say was to get ready for a journey.
“We were inspired heavily by The Twilight Zone, where you go through an entire story arc having it only be flipped on its head at the end to tell an entirely different story,” said Schaffer. “Will we go there? Haha…” she said.
Marvel Studios’ WandaVision streams exclusively on Disney+ starting January 15, 2021.