|Created by||Jac Schaeffer|
|Based on||Marvel Comics|
|Directed by||Matt Shakman|
|Theme music composer|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of episodes||9|
|Running time||29–49 minutes|
|Production company||Marvel Studios|
|Distributor||Disney Platform Distribution|
|Original release||January 15 –|
March 5, 2021
|Related shows||Marvel Cinematic Universe television series|
WandaVision is an American television miniseries created by Jac Schaeffer for the streaming service Disney+, based on Marvel Comics featuring the characters Wanda Maximoff / Scarlet Witch and Vision. Set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), it shares continuity with the films of the franchise and takes place after the events of the film Avengers: Endgame (2019). WandaVision is the first television series produced by Marvel Studios, with Schaeffer serving as head writer and Matt Shakman directing.
Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany reprise their respective roles as Wanda Maximoff and Vision from the film series, with Debra Jo Rupp, Fred Melamed, Kathryn Hahn, Teyonah Parris, Randall Park, Kat Dennings, and Evan Peters also starring. By September 2018, Marvel Studios was developing a number of limited series for Disney+ centered on supporting characters from the MCU films such as Wanda and Vision, with Olsen and Bettany returning. Schaeffer was hired in January 2019, the series was officially announced that April, and Shakman joined in August. The series pays homage to past sitcoms, with Wanda and Vision living in a reality that takes them through different decades of television tropes. Filming began in Atlanta, Georgia in November 2019, before production halted in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Production resumed in Los Angeles in September 2020 and ended that November.
WandaVision premiered with its first two episodes on January 15, 2021, and ran for nine episodes, concluding on March 5. It is the first series, and beginning, of Phase Four of the MCU. The series received praise from critics for its sitcom settings and tropes, dark tonal shifts, and the performances of Olsen, Bettany, and Hahn. It was widely discussed and analysed by fans based on various popular theories and perceived mysteries, as well as for its use of sitcom references and exploration of grief. WandaVision serves as a direct set up to the film Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022), in which Olsen reprises her role as Maximoff.
Three weeks after the events of Avengers: Endgame (2019), Wanda Maximoff and Vision are living an idyllic suburban life in the town of Westview, New Jersey, trying to conceal their true natures. As their surroundings begin to move through different decades and they encounter various television tropes, the couple suspects that things are not as they seem.
Recurring residents of Westview include Asif Ali as Abilash Tandon who plays Vision's co-worker "Norm"; David Lengel as Harold Proctor who plays "Phil Jones"; Amos Glick as a pizza delivery man cast as "Dennis", the mailman/delivery man; Ithamar Enriquez and Victoria Blade as residents cast as the commercial man and woman actors; Emma Caulfield Ford as Sarah Proctor, Harold's wife who plays "Dottie Jones", a "skeptical mom who rules the neighborhood with an iron fist and poison smile"; and David Payton as John Collins who plays "Herb". Josh Stamberg also recurs as S.W.O.R.D. acting director Tyler Hayward, along with Alan Heckner and Selena Anduze as S.W.O.R.D. agents Monti and Rodriguez, and Julian Hilliard and Jett Klyne as Wanda and Vision's sons Billy and Tommy, respectively.
Additional guest stars include Jolene Purdy as Isabel Matsueda who plays Wanda and Vision's neighbor "Beverly"; frequent MCU stuntman Zac Henry as Franklin, a S.W.O.R.D. agent who becomes a beekeeper when he enters Wanda's reality; Randy Oglesby as a Westview resident who plays "Stan Nielson", the town's doctor; Wesley Kimmel and Sydney Thomas as the boy and girl in the commercials; and Kate Forbes as Agatha's mother, Evanora Harkness. Ilana Kohanchi and Daniyar portray Wanda's parents Iryna and Olek Maximoff, respectively, while Gabriel Gurevich plays a young version of her brother Pietro.
|No.||Title||Directed by||Written by||Original release date|
|1||"Filmed Before a Live Studio Audience"||Matt Shakman||Jac Schaeffer||January 15, 2021|
Newlywed couple Wanda and Vision move into the town of Westview in a black-and-white 1950s setting. They attempt to blend in despite Vision being an android and Wanda having telekinesis and reality-warping abilities. One day they notice a heart drawn on their calendar, but neither can remember what the occasion is. While Vision goes to his job at Computational Services Inc., Wanda decides that the heart represents their anniversary. Their neighbor Agnes introduces herself to Wanda and helps her prepare to celebrate that night. Vision amazes his co-workers with his speed but is unsure what his company actually does. He is reminded that the heart represents plans for him and Wanda to host his boss, Mr. Hart, and his wife for dinner. Wanda and Vision struggle to hide their abilities while making a last-minute dinner for the Harts. While interrogating Wanda and Vision, Mr. Hart chokes on his food, and Vision uses his abilities to save him. All of this takes place in the fictional sitcom WandaVision which someone is watching on a television.
A commercial during the WandaVision program advertises a Stark Industries ToastMate 2000 toaster oven.
|2||"Don't Touch That Dial"||Matt Shakman||Gretchen Enders||January 15, 2021|
In a 1960s setting, Wanda and Vision hear strange noises outside their house. They prepare their magic act for a neighborhood talent show. Wanda and Agnes spend the day with the show's planning committee, led by Dottie, and Vision attends a neighborhood watch meeting, where he accidentally swallows some chewing gum. Wanda befriends another neighbor, Geraldine, and notices more strange things: a yellow and red toy helicopter in their black-and-white world; a voice on the radio that seems to be speaking to her; and a red bloodstain. Thanks to the gum caught in his internal mechanisms, Vision appears to be intoxicated at the talent show and publicly reveals his abilities. Wanda uses her own abilities to make this look like simple magic tricks and fixes Vision by removing the gum. They return home, and Wanda becomes visibly pregnant. When they see a strange beekeeper emerging from a manhole on their street, Wanda resets their reality to before the figure appears. The setting changes to full color as it moves to the 1970s.
A commercial during the WandaVision program advertises Strücker watches.
|3||"Now in Color"||Matt Shakman||Megan McDonnell||January 22, 2021|
In the 1970s setting, Dr. Nielson says Wanda is four months pregnant and everything is fine before leaving for an intended holiday with his wife. While Vision sees Nielson out, he sees his neighbor Herb unknowingly cut through their wall. Wanda and Vision paint a nursery while debating what to name their child before Wanda's pregnancy elevates to six months. When she begins contractions, her abilities begin to move things in the house and eventually shut down the entire town's power. Geraldine arrives and helps Wanda deliver twins Billy and Tommy. Vision catches Agnes and Herb gossiping outside. They talk about Geraldine, who has just arrived in town and does not have a home or family. Inside, Wanda interrogates Geraldine after the latter reveals that she knows Ultron killed Wanda's twin brother Pietro.[a] Wanda notices that Geraldine is wearing a pendant with a sword emblem on it. When Vision returns, Geraldine is gone. Outside of Westview, Geraldine emerges through a wall of static and is surrounded by S.W.O.R.D. agents.
A commercial during the WandaVision program advertises Hydra Soak bath powder.
|4||"We Interrupt This Program"||Matt Shakman||Bobak Esfarjani and Megan McDonnell||January 29, 2021|
|Captain Monica Rambeau, an agent of S.W.O.R.D., returns to life following the Blip[b] to find her mother Maria has died of cancer. Three weeks later, Monica returns to work and is sent by Acting Director Tyler Hayward to help FBI agent Jimmy Woo with a missing persons case in Westview, New Jersey. They discover a hexagonal static CMBR field surrounding the town, which Monica is pulled into. Within 24 hours, S.W.O.R.D. establishes a base around the town and sends drones and an agent in to investigate. Dr. Darcy Lewis studies the phenomena and discovers broadcast signals for the sitcom WandaVision. They use these to observe events inside the town, learning that real residents have been "cast" in the sitcom and seeing Monica appear as "Geraldine". Darcy and Jimmy unsuccessfully attempt to use the radio to contact Wanda. When Monica mentions Ultron, Wanda casts her out of the town. Wanda then temporarily sees Vision appear as he did when he died,[c] before settling back into her sitcom life with him.|
|5||"On a Very Special Episode..."||Matt Shakman||Peter Cameron and Mackenzie Dohr||February 5, 2021|
In a 1980s/early 1990s setting, Wanda and Vision struggle to stop Billy and Tommy from crying. Agnes offers to help look after the boys, but Vision questions her behavior. He and Wanda are interrupted when Billy and Tommy suddenly age-up to 5 years old. When a dog appears at their house, the boys ask to keep it and Agnes suggests the name Sparky. Wanda almost reveals her abilities to Agnes, concerning Vision, while the boys age-up again to 10 years old. At work, Vision reads an email from S.W.O.R.D. that reveals the situation in Westview. He breaks through to a real Westview resident and learns that Wanda is controlling the town. S.W.O.R.D. sends a drone from the 1980s into Westview which causes Sparky to run off. Hayward orders the drone be used to kill Wanda, but she emerges from the barrier with it and warns Hayward to leave her alone. Agnes finds Sparky dead. Vision confronts Wanda about her actions, but they are interrupted when "Pietro" arrives. Watching the broadcast, Darcy notes that Pietro has been "recast".
A commercial during the WandaVision program advertises Lagos paper towels.
|6||"All-New Halloween Spooktacular!"||Matt Shakman||Chuck Hayward and Peter Cameron||February 12, 2021|
In a late 1990s/early 2000s setting, Wanda wants to spend Tommy and Billy's first Halloween together as a family, but Vision tells her that he is going to patrol the streets with the neighborhood watch. "Pietro" offers to step in as a father figure and takes the boys trick-or-treating, causing mischief with his super speed, which Tommy is revealed to have inherited. Meanwhile, Vision explores further away from their house and finds residents of Westview standing frozen in their positions, including Agnes. Vision speaks to Agnes' real self and she tells him that he is dead. Outside Westview, Hayward orders Monica, Darcy, and Jimmy to leave the base for disagreeing with his decision to attack Wanda, but they sneak inside and hack into his computer to discover that he has been tracking Vision's vibranium signature. Vision tries to push through the static wall, but he begins to disintegrate. Billy senses this and tells Wanda, who expands the hexagonal static wall. Vision, Darcy, and several S.W.O.R.D. agents are enveloped by the new boundary.
A claymation commercial during the WandaVision program advertises Yo-Magic yogurt.
|7||"Breaking the Fourth Wall"||Matt Shakman||Cameron Squires||February 19, 2021|
In a mid-to-late 2000s setting, Wanda decides to have a day to herself and Agnes agrees to babysit Tommy and Billy. Wanda sees various parts of her house constantly changing and is unable to control them. Vision wakes up to find the S.W.O.R.D. agents inside the boundary are now members of a circus. He releases Darcy from the spell and she tells Vision about his death and the events that led to the current situation. Outside of Westview, Monica and Jimmy meet with loyal S.W.O.R.D. personnel and obtain a vehicle designed to cross the barrier. When the tactic proves unsuccessful, Monica decides to enter herself. She passes through the static wall and emerges with seemingly heightened vision. Monica confronts Wanda, but Agnes tells Monica to leave and takes Wanda to her house. Wanda looks for the boys in the basement and discovers a strange lair. Agnes introduces herself as a witch named Agatha Harkness and reveals that she has been disrupting Wanda's life, including sending an imposter as "Pietro" and killing Sparky.
A commercial during the WandaVision program advertises Nexus antidepressants.
|8||"Previously On"||Matt Shakman||Laura Donney||February 26, 2021|
|In Salem in 1693, a coven of witches led by Agatha's mother Evanora attempt to execute Agatha for practicing dark magic, but she drains their life forces. In the present, Agatha demands to know how Wanda is controlling Westview and forces her to relive key moments of her life. Agatha learns that Wanda has had magical abilities since she was a child, which were later amplified by the Mind Stone, and that she has always enjoyed watching various sitcoms. After the Blip, Wanda visited S.W.O.R.D. to recover Vision's body, but Hayward refused to let her bury him. Unable to feel any life in Vision, she drove to a lot in Westview that he had bought for her before his death so they could live there together. In a fit of grief, she manifested a house on the lot and a new version of Vision and extended the Hex across the entire town. Agatha concludes that Wanda possesses a legendary form of magic called chaos magic, and dubs her the "Scarlet Witch". In a mid-credits scene, Hayward reactivates "The Vision", the now all-white, reassembled original body.|
|9||"The Series Finale"||Matt Shakman||Jac Schaeffer||March 5, 2021|
|Agatha attempts to take Wanda's chaos magic, but is interrupted by The Vision, who tries to kill Wanda. Vision intervenes and fights The Vision throughout Westview. Agatha frees the town's residents from Wanda's control, and they convince her to open the barrier. She stops when Vision and the twins begin to disintegrate, but not before Hayward and S.W.O.R.D. enter. Monica learns that "Pietro" is actually an actor named Ralph Bohner and frees him from Agatha's control, before helping the twins stop S.W.O.R.D. Vision restores The Vision's memories and causes him to flee. Wanda places magical runes around the barrier, preventing Agatha from using her magic, and traps her in the "Agnes" persona. Wanda says goodbye to Vision and the twins before collapsing the Hex and going into hiding. In a mid-credits scene, Hayward is arrested while Monica is informed by a Skrull that a friend of her mother's wants to meet. In a post-credits scene, Wanda is studying the Darkhold in her astral form when she hears the twins cry for her help.|
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 Wanda Maximoff. Actors who portrayed the characters in the films were expected to reprise their roles for the limited series, including Elizabeth Olsen as Maximoff. The series for Disney+ 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, which produced previous MCU television series. Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige was believed to be taking a "hands-on role" in each limited series' development, focusing on "continuity of story" with the films and "handling" the actors who would be reprising their roles from the films. Brian Chapek, a creative executive at Marvel, began initial work on a Maximoff series before co-executive producer Mary Livanos joined the project in mid-2018 and took over the series' development. 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 Maximoff 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 in January 2019 as the head writer of the series after previously writing for the Marvel Studios films Captain Marvel (2019) and Black Widow (2021). Schaeffer was set to write the first episode and executive produce the series. That April, Disney and Marvel officially announced the series as WandaVision, and Matt Shakman was hired to direct and serve as an executive producer in August. Feige also executive produces alongside Marvel Studios' Louis D'Esposito and Victoria Alonso.:50:20 Rather than call the series Wanda and Vision or The Scarlet Witch and Vision, Feige was inspired to use a compound title like WandaVision after seeing the title for the film BlacKkKlansman (2018), but he was hesitant about using it. Schaeffer insisted on using the title after hearing it, feeling it was perfect for the series. There was some backlash when the title was announced as it was perceived to be "the silliest title possible", but Schaeffer felt viewers would change their minds once they saw the series. Feige said the series would tell the story of Maximoff and Vision, show Maximoff's full abilities, explore who Vision is, and introduce Maximoff's comic book name "Scarlet Witch" to the MCU in ways that are fun, funny, and "somewhat scary". He added that the series would have repercussions for the rest of the MCU's Phase Four, but said viewers would not need to be familiar with the MCU to understand the series. He did think there would be a "wealth of rewards" for those who had already seen all the MCU films and knew the plans for Phase Four.
The series was described as part "classic sitcom", part "Marvel epic" by Feige, "super avant-garde and weird" by Bettany, a "full-on action movie" mixed with sitcoms by actor Teyonah Parris, and a combination of superhero action and "small-town sitcom silliness" by Livanos. Shakman was "uniquely equipped" to direct such a series because of his experience directing psychological drama series like Mad Men, large-scale action series like Game of Thrones, and sitcoms like It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Shakman was also a child actor on 1980s sitcoms such as Just the Ten of Us, and he felt that in particular made it possible for him to make WandaVision. The series consists of nine episodes, varying from a half-hour comedy series format to 50 minutes long, totaling approximately six hours of content. During development, the budget was reported to be as much as $25 million per episode.
Schaeffer initially received comics material and an outline of what Marvel Studios hoped to accomplish with the series in order for her to help shape their ideas.:28 Feige came up with the idea of having Maximoff and Vision living in a fantasy world of "suburban bliss", based on his love of sitcoms and how they can be used to escape from reality; much of the series takes place within a fictional sitcom that is also called WandaVision. Feige was visually inspired by Mike del Mundo's "Norman Rockwell meets Leave it to Beaver" covers for the comic book series The Vision by Tom King and Gabriel Hernandez Walta, and pitched the series to Olsen and Bettany as a combination of that comic book and the "House of M" storyline by Brian Michael Bendis and Olivier Coipel. Other inspiration was taken from the Scarlet Witch: Witches' Road trade paperback, the "Avengers Disassembled" storyline by Bendis and David Finch that preceded "House of M", the "Vision Quest" storyline from West Coast Avengers by John Byrne, and also several comic book runs of The Vision and the Scarlet Witch, including the run by Bill Mantlo and Rick Leonardi, and the run by Steve Englehart and Richard Howell.
Feige, Schaeffer, Shakman, and Livanos dedicated themselves to "nail[ing] down" the series' irreverent tone. Schaeffer was inspired by the MCU film Thor: Ragnarok (2017) as well as the Marvel Comics-based series Legion, feeling that those broke the mold of what Marvel stories could be and were daring, original, and "bananas". She felt that they allowed WandaVision to also be unique and different, and noted that it would be the polar opposite to her work on Black Widow which focused on aggressive, visceral action. Schaeffer hired Gretchen Enders, Megan McDonnell, Bobak Esfarjani, Peter Cameron, Mackenzie Dohr, Chuck Hayward, Cameron Squires, and Laura Donney for the series' writers room, a grouping of half men, half women, and several people of color, because Schaeffer believed that "stories are better the more perspectives you have". She said each writer had different areas of expertise that they brought to the series, and they were aided by her assistant Laura Monti and the general writers' assistant Clay Lapari. After starting as a staff writer, McDonnell was eventually promoted to story editor. Unlike Schaeffer, many of the writers had previous television experience which helped her craft each episode within the larger narrative.:29 One of the initial challenges was figuring out how to tell the story in the long-form structure of a limited series, rather than a film.:29 Schaeffer said the series could never have been a film because it needed to establish its sitcom reality with a true television aesthetic before that could be broken.
Schaeffer found the central idea of Wanda being responsible for the series' sitcom reality to be a simple concept, and felt it would be more compelling if it was revealed through a mystery. This is done by showing Wanda and Vision living in the sitcom reality for the first three episodes before the fourth episode retells those events from a real world perspective to provide answers for viewers. Schaeffer described this as starting the series in a "grounded" sitcom with Twilight Zone "fraying edges", followed by a bottle episode to explain the early events. How long the series remained in the sitcom reality before giving answers to viewers was a big concern for Schaeffer. Following the "enormous info dump" in the fourth episode, Schaeffer hoped the audience would be able to experience the rest of the series as an "emotional and a psychological journey, rather than a sneaky mystery the whole way". She pitched the rest of the series as featuring both sitcom and real world elements until the penultimate episode explores Wanda's history and the "how and the why" of the sitcom reality, concluding in a big finale with the spectacle of an MCU film. She compared the final series to a multi-issue comic book and said it remained very close to her original pitch,:29 which was structured to follow the five stages of grief. Ten episodes were originally planned, but Shakman said this was reworked to nine episodes to improve the "rhythm". The episodes are named after common phrases that were traditionally featured in promotions or the opening credits of television series.
After receiving Marvel Studios' initial ideas for the series, Schaeffer helped figure out what they meant for the characters. Shakman and Schaeffer watched all the existing MCU footage of Maximoff and Vision, including footage that did not make it into the previous MCU films such as unused dailies. While exploring this footage, Schaeffer was drawn to mundane character moments such as Maximoff and Vision cooking paprikash in Captain America: Civil War (2016) and the two enjoying their time together in Scotland in Avengers: Infinity War (2018).:29 Schaeffer said there was a wonder and sincerity to the pair, and felt their family dynamic within a sitcom setting would result in a calm, warm feeling despite the ridiculous premise of the series.:45 She found the pair appealing because they are both outsiders who "find each other. They're both different with capital Ds."
WandaVision begins three weeks after the events of Avengers: Endgame (2019), and is set in the fictional town of Westview, New Jersey, which was named as a reference to Feige's hometown of Westfield, New Jersey, but with the initials "W" and "V". The series shows how Maximoff grew up in an Eastern European country and relied on black-market American products such as television, forming a love for the DVDs of American sitcoms that her father sold. Schaeffer was excited to use the series to give social commentary while telling a story about character and grief, as she found Maximoff's grief to be relatable. A grief counselor was consulted for the series, and Shakman said the entire series was about Maximoff learning to process and overcome her grief. Schaeffer was committed to depicting Maximoff as a fully realized character, including showing aspects of her that had not been seen much previously in the MCU such as her joy and humor. A great concern for Schaeffer, Livanos, and the writers was avoiding a portrayal of Maximoff that made her seem crazy or out of control, as some of her comic book appearances have done, and Schaeffer hoped the series would give a "nuanced portrayal of a very complicated woman". Olsen believed Schaeffer was one of the first writers to work with Maximoff who understood the "360 of [her] inner and exterior world".
By introducing the "Scarlet Witch" name as a title linked to chaos magic and a preordained destiny, the series was able to further define magic in the MCU beyond what was introduced in Doctor Strange (2016) without limiting Maximoff's character too much. Witchcraft, the Salem witch trials, and what Schaeffer described as "our sort of Americanized version and feminized version of witches and magic" were all new additions the MCU, after Doctor Strange introduced what Schaeffer felt was "more of a masculine magic". The series also introduces the organization S.W.O.R.D. to the MCU, changing its name from the comic books' Sentient World Observation and Response Department to Sentient Weapon Observation and Response Division. This is due to the organization in the MCU dealing with sentient weapons, such as reconstructing the original Vision with the goal of turning him into a weapon. Existing MCU characters Darcy Lewis and Jimmy Woo were added to the series out of the desire to have characters outside of the Hex with a science and law enforcement background, respectively. Initial drafts of the early episodes had more backstory for Lewis that was removed in favor of focusing on the S.W.O.R.D. base when outside of the Hex, though elements of these scenes were added into later episodes. Maximoff and Vision's sons Billy and Tommy appear as 10 year olds in the series. Shakman said there were never plans to make the characters as old as they are in the Young Avengers comic book team since that would deprive Maximoff of more time with them.
WandaVision directly sets up Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022), in which Olsen reprises her role as Maximoff. Schaeffer said Feige handled all the connections between the various MCU projects, but she and Shakman did have conversations with the creative teams of Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021) and Multiverse of Madness, as well as Marvel Studios' other Disney+ series, to discuss the connections between stories and to ensure an effortless handoff from WandaVision to the films. Benedict Cumberbatch was originally planned to reprise his role as Dr. Stephen Strange in the series' final episode, but was written out of the episode to avoid him taking focus away from Maximoff. The script for Multiverse of Madness had to be rewritten to accommodate this change, with writer Michael Waldron working with Schaeffer to do this.
Shakman and Schaeffer said the series was a "love letter to the golden age of television", though it pays tribute to sitcoms from many eras of American television. They chose to focus on family sitcoms over other types, such as workplace sitcoms, because the family aspect kept the series centered, and because Maximoff is searching for a family after losing her loved ones in the films. Schaeffer and Shakman studied past sitcoms to learn their "trappings and styles", while avoiding tropes from older sitcoms that would not be acceptable in a modern series. Schaeffer, Shakman, and Feige spoke with Dick Van Dyke, the star of the eponymous 1960s sitcom, to learn about the making of that series. Other sitcoms that inspired the series include I Love Lucy, My Three Sons, Father Knows Best, The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, Bewitched,:45 The Brady Bunch, Family Ties, Out of This World, Malcolm in the Middle, Modern Family, and The Office. Meta references are made to Full House, which starred Olsen's older sisters Mary-Kate and Ashley.:45 Before they decided to only focus on family sitcoms, an episode of the series was developed based on The Mary Tyler Moore Show that would have explored Maximoff's work-life balance. Olsen felt which sitcom decade was being explored in each episode, and the tropes from that decade that were highlighted, were specifically chosen to connect to where the characters were in the larger story. Each episode was meant to capture key elements of each time period and how sitcoms, and the audience, evolved with time. For example, the first episode that paid homage to The Dick Van Dyke Show, which ran from the late 1950s to the early 1960s, was meant to have a general 1960s time period. The changes between decades are explained in the series by changes within the fictional WandaVision program, which Maximoff is initially doing subconsciously when something goes wrong in that reality. She later makes these changes consciously. Part of Schaeffer's initial pitch for the series was to link the decade changes to xenophobia from the couple's neighbors, as was seen in some of the characters' comic book appearances, with the neighbors becoming more aggressive each decade until they chase Maximoff and Vision out of town. The relationship with the neighbors was ultimately portrayed in a more subtle way that Schaeffer felt was creepier, with elements of psychological horror.
The fictional sitcom features fake commercials that are "slightly nefarious", which Feige said were "part of the truths of the show beginning to leak out". He felt that new viewers would see these as strange versions of commercials from the different sitcom eras, while those well versed in the MCU would be able to see connections in the commercials to past events. Several commentators believed the commercials were analogies for traumatic events in Maximoff's life, which Schaeffer later acknowledged. Shakman said the commercials were a way to present Maximoff's history and be a thematic addition to the series, and felt their content and inclusion was open to interpretation, while Schaeffer said they were tied to both Maximoff's subconscious and the wider MCU in an open-ended way. She added that they gave the series a structure and rhythm that was "part of the fabric of the sitcom aesthetic". An early version of the commercials had "more of an agenda and a function in the plot", with multiple commercials per episode also considered. When Doctor Strange was planned to appear in the series, the commercials would have been his attempts to reach Maximoff through the sitcom reality. He would have appeared in the Nexus pharmaceutical commercial in a "blink-and-you-miss-it cameo" as the pharmacist, before his full appearance in the finale.
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. Bettany agreed to join the project after meeting with Feige and D'Esposito, who pitched an "exciting and bonkers" idea for his character's return in the series. Olsen was originally nervous about Marvel's move to television and how it could connect with the films but was excited when she learned of Schaeffer's involvement as well as the comic book storylines that inspired the series.
Teyonah Parris was announced as cast in the role of Monica Rambeau in July 2019. Rambeau was introduced to the MCU as an eleven-year-old portrayed by Akira Akbar in Captain Marvel (2019), which is set in 1995. The character first appears in WandaVision as "Geraldine" inside the sitcom reality, and Schaeffer was under the impression that Parris would be announced as playing "Geraldine" in order to keep the character reveal a surprise. A month later, at Disney's biennial convention D23, Kat Dennings and Randall Park were set to reprise their respective MCU film roles as Darcy Lewis and Jimmy Woo. Dennings previously appeared in the films Thor (2011) and Thor: The Dark World (2013), and was surprised and thrilled to be brought back to the MCU for WandaVision after so many years. Park joined the series following a general meeting with Marvel to discuss Woo's future in the MCU following his introduction in Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018). Schaeffer felt it was fun to feature Dennings and Park in the series since both were veteran sitcom actors, previously starring in 2 Broke Girls and Fresh Off the Boat, respectively.
Also at D23, Kathryn Hahn was announced as cast in the role of Agnes, Wanda and Vision's neighbor. Hahn had been fascinated by the "gasp of human magic" in the MCU, and had a general meeting with Marvel Studios as the studio was also interested in working with her. Shortly after, Marvel suggested Hahn for the role of Agnes to Schaeffer and Shakman, and they agreed that they should cast her in the role. Several days after the general meeting, they contacted Hahn about the series and she said that she "couldn't have dreamt a cooler part", partially due to the sitcom elements. The series' seventh episode reveals that "Agnes" is actually the Marvel Comics character Agatha Harkness.
The series' official trailer revealed that Fred Melamed and Debra Jo Rupp would appear in the series, portraying Todd and Sharon Davis. They appear as Maximoff and Vision's neighbors, "Mr. and Mrs. Hart", within the fictional WandaVision program. Rupp previously had a long-running role in the sitcom That '70s Show and was comfortable with WandaVision's sitcom style. She was asked to join the series by Shakman, who she had worked with at the Geffen Playhouse where Shakman is the artistic director. Similarly, Shakman and Schaeffer offered Melamed the role without him auditioning, and he accepted the role because he was interested by the idea of the series. The series' fifth episode introduces Evan Peters as a "recast" Pietro Maximoff, Wanda's brother. Pietro was previously portrayed in the MCU by Aaron Taylor-Johnson, while Peters played a different version of the character named Peter Maximoff in 20th Century Fox's X-Men film series. Schaeffer stated that it took a while to learn if Peters would be able to be a part of the series, and noted that the creatives did not have a secondary plan if they were not able to use him. The character's "real name" is revealed to be Ralph Bohner in the finale.
Emma Caulfield Ford was cast in October 2019 as Sarah Proctor, who plays "Dottie Jones" in the WandaVision program, after being approached by Schaeffer to audition for the role; they previously worked together on the film Timer (2009). Ford said she was cast in part to help attract genre fans who would have recognized her from her role in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and her involvement was also intended to be a red herring for the series' mysteries. Asif Ali was revealed to be cast in the series in October 2020, as Abilash Tandon who plays Vision's co-worker "Norm", as was Jolene Purdy, cast as Isabel Matsueda who plays Wanda and Vision's neighbor "Beverly".
Costume designer Mayes C. Rubeo said it was rare for a singular piece of media to progress through so many different decades without its characters aging.:6 Olsen enjoyed exploring how women were viewed in society in each decade through Maximoff's costumes. The suit and wedding dress worn by Vision and Maximoff in the opening titles were both made for the series, with the dress created as an homage to Audrey Hepburn. With the series shifting from black and white to color, the various designers worked together to ensure a unified look for the characters and sets. Production designer Mark Worthington said his team learned how different colors work in a black-and-white format.:6–7 Prop designer Russell Bobbit previously worked on the film Pleasantville (1998), which Shakman said the series had a "spiritual connection" to along with The Truman Show (1998). Hair stylist Karen Bartek created 22 wigs for the series to represent the different eras.
The series' end credits were created by Perception, and start with a "please stand by" visual in the style of the episode's sitcom era. This is followed by close-ups of footage from the episode on a television screen, which the camera then pushes through to show the RGB pixels that form television images. The pixels are rendered as hexagons, as a reference to Maximoff's hex abilities and the informal name "The Hex" that is given to the sitcom reality, and they form various elements from the series including Maximoff and Vision's house, the baby mobile, and the Westview water tower. This is reminiscent of the art style in "House of M". The pixels are then disrupted by a single red pixel that represents "Wanda's world falling apart around her", before forming two wedding rings since the series is "at its core a love story". Charles Pulliam-Moore at io9 felt the credits were "undeniably Marvel in the big screen sense", even though WandaVision was "embrac[ing] its identity as a streaming miniseries". Perception also created many of the sitcom-style opening credits for the series, with Shakman saying a lot of work went into creating the openings to be authentic to each era as possible since the creatives "knew that they were a key part of the storytelling". Additionally, Perception created titles and smoke effects for the Agatha All Along sequence, two new transitions for the Marvel Studios logo (transitioning into black-and-white and a 4:3 aspect ratio for the first episode, and transitioning into purple smoke for Agatha's Salem backstory), graphics for the commercials based on real commercials from the different eras, and onscreen locator cards that were meant to reflect the world of S.W.O.R.D. plus one for Salem that also used purple smoke.
Filming began in early November 2019, at Pinewood Atlanta Studios in Atlanta, Georgia, with Shakman directing, and Jess Hall serving as cinematographer. The series was filmed under the working title Big Red. The actors went through sitcom "boot camp" before filming, watching episodes of past sitcoms to help learn the tone and style of each era,:50 as well as the different approaches to comedy. Dialect coach Courtney Young helped the actors speak like people from each era, even noting the manners of each decade. Bettany felt the approach to the series was clever since it had to make six hours of content on a budget similar to a two-and-a-half-hour MCU film. This included filming content from different episodes at the same time, though Shakman did try to shoot chronologically to aid the actors with the progression through the sitcom eras.:34
The first episode filmed for two days in black-and-white and in front of a live studio audience, to mimic sitcom filming in the 1950s. When shooting black-and-white scenes, Bettany was painted blue rather than Vision's maroon color since the blue appeared better in the grayscale image. Olsen used a pinker shade of foundation and a "robin's egg blue-green" eye shadow to help create a natural look for filming in black-and-white. Both Olsen and Bettany found filming the premiere to be surreal and unique. A 4:3 aspect ratio is also used for the black-and-white scenes. Shakman enjoyed being able to experiment with the aspect ratio, having it be directly related to the narrative. Various other aspect ratios are used when the series progresses through the sitcom decades, with the scenes set outside the Hex using the traditional 2:40:1 cinematic ratio of many MCU films.
Other period-specific touches were done in each episode, such as period-appropriate camera lenses, lighting, and live special effects. Another indication of the passage of time was Maximoff's red Buick. Shakman wanted to ensure that the sitcom elements never felt like a parody and were as authentic as possible,:50 since they were a reality that Wanda created to escape from her grief and were real to her. Hall worked with Arri Alexa 4K HDR cameras, and used 47 different camera lenses for the seven time periods covered in WandaVision, many of which were modern lenses custom modified to keep characteristics of the period lenses.:6 The custom period-appropriate lenses were used on the first three episodes, along with the fifth, while Hall used the Ultra Panatar lenses, which had been used on Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame, for all of the scenes outside the Hex reality. As for lighting, tungsten lights were mainly used for the 1950s to the 1970s episodes, as those were the lights of the era, with LED lighting being used starting in the 2000s episodes, which is when those began to be used for real sitcoms.:6 The first two episodes mainly reference The Dick Van Dyke Show and Bewitched, respectively, but further episodes have multiple sitcom homages, such as the third episode referencing both Good Times and The Brady Bunch, "alluding to how television's popularity grew throughout the years". Later episodes emulate the "talk-to-the-camera, shaky-camera, documentary style" of some modern sitcoms. Shakman used lenses, lighting, and sound design to change the mood for moments when something goes wrong with Maximoff's illusion, with these techniques inspired by The Twilight Zone.
Location shooting took place in the Atlanta metropolitan area throughout December 2019 and February 2020. A filming wrap party for the series occurred on March 1, ahead of a planned four-week hiatus,:50:1:07 but all production halted on March 14 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Filming resumed in Los Angeles in September 2020 with rigorous COVID-19 safety protocols in place,:50 to complete the backlot and outside filming necessary for the series. Olsen found it hard resuming production after being isolated during the shutdown, while Bettany disliked that the safety protocols meant the actors had to return to their trailers when not filming, which he felt removed much of the camaraderie between the cast and crew.:1:29–2:23 External filming for Westview took place on Blondie Street at the Warner Bros. Ranch in Burbank, California, where past sitcoms had also been filmed. Shakman felt the Blondie Street backlot had "that weird sense of fakeness" that no real-life street could replicate. Filming also occurred at the Golden Oak Ranch. Production on the series wrapped by mid-November, with Olsen shooting back-to-back with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
When the production shut down due to the pandemic, Marvel took around a month to figure out the logistics of remote work before post-production was able to continue on existing footage. Especially concerning for the studio was security. Once remote work began, Shakman worked on editing what had already been filmed. This informed him of how to approach a few things differently once filming began again,:34 but the series was not creatively altered by this. Post-production work continued after filming resumed, and Shakman said working on every step of the process at once felt "schizophrenic".:34 Tim Roche, Zene Baker, and Nona Khodai served as editors for the series,:20 and each brought different experience to the project, with Baker previously editing Thor: Ragnarok for Marvel Studios, Khodai having previous superhero experience working on The Boys, and Roche coming from a background editing comedy series with no visual effects experience. Having not worked in comedy before, Khodai found the sitcom episodes to be more difficult to edit than the MCU ones. When they first started work on the series, the editors agreed to treat it like an MCU film since they knew Marvel Studios would not "resort to [standard television series] money-saving tactics for a show like this", and Baker found the process of editing the series to be no different from editing Ragnarok.
The editors did not have any formal meetings to discuss the tone of the series, but did informally discuss what they were each working on and helped each other on issues throughout post-production. Roche felt the series' tone was most interesting when the sitcom and MCU elements were mixed together, such as when Vision discovers anomalies inside Westview during "All-New Halloween Spooktacular!" In the first three episodes, the editors used rewind effects and wipe transitions.:8 In some episodes, the aspect ratio shifts within a scene, which was pre-planned during filming but was not actually done until post-production to give Shakman more control over the lengths of these transitions. Many of the earlier aspect ratio transitions went through many variations to find the best length and style since they would have a bigger impression on the audience, with transitions from later episodes sometimes just being a straight cut from one ratio to another and relying more on music and sound effects to show the change. Some scenes were rearranged to avoid having to change back-and-forth between aspect ratios too many times so the transitions would not distract from the story. One of the most discussed elements of editing the series for the creatives was the use of a laugh track. For episodes with a laugh track that were not recorded live, the series worked with an expert to explain how laugh tracks changed throughout time, which helped inform the sound design. Roche noted that laugh tracks were one of the few areas of sitcom stylings that the series was intentionally less accurate about, with Feige encouraging the editors to make the laugh tracks more noticeable in the early episodes than they actually were for series of those eras.
For visual effects shots, the editors worked with previsualization company The Third Floor, Inc. to add postvisualization effects to edited sequences. These were then sent to the visual effects vendors as a guide for what the visual effects should be for each shot, and they were also sent to the digital intermediate team so they could finalize the coloring of shots without waiting for the actual visual effects to be completed. Baker said the latter process was unusual for a production and was done to try save time, but ultimately did not have much of an effect on the timeline of the production. The editors all spent a lot of time working on the opening titles of each sitcom episode, and they also did the editing for the fake commercials in their episodes as well as the "previously on WandaVision" segments that begin each episode, though Khodai had her assistant do the latter when she ran out of time. The "previously on" segments have some differences from the episodes they are recapping, such as slightly different dialogue, which plays into Maximoff's manipulation of reality. Because the later episodes were not completed when the early ones began airing, the editors were able to see fan theories about the series while they were still working on them. Baker admitted that this could sometimes make them question some of their decisions, but ultimately they had to ignore the theories and complete the series as planned, with little room to make editorial changes in response to those theories at that point. Editing for the final episode was completed two weeks before it aired.
Visual effects for WandaVision were created by Digital Domain, Framestore, Industrial Light & Magic, Lola VFX, Monsters Aliens Robots Zombies, RISE, Rodeo FX, SSVFX, The Yard VFX, and Zoic Studios. Bettany estimated that the series had more visual effects shots than the 2,496 in Avengers: Endgame. Visual effects supervisor Tara DeMarco said contemporary visual effects were used to remove wires and smooth the cuts, and occasionally to create wire gags that were not filmed practically.:8 To create the design of the Hex boundary, DeMarco studied "how magnets were drawn on old CRT televisions and the magnetization you would get across the screen". Photography was also used that had "the language of television".
In January 2020, Christophe Beck announced that he would compose the score for the series, after previously scoring Ant-Man (2015) and Ant-Man and the Wasp. Beck paid homage to the sitcoms in each time period through his instrumentation, compositional style, and period-specific recording and mixing techniques. Earlier episodes feature small orchestral ensembles, with later episodes having more of a rock-pop style, and the music becoming more "pervasive" as the series progresses.:9 Beck had hoped to match the spotting of each sitcom era as well, but found that this would not always work due to modern audiences expecting more music than older sitcoms would have included. Michael Paraskevas and Alex Kovacs co-composed the series' music, with Kovacs hired due to his experience with older orchestration techniques and jazz music which Beck found helpful when writing for the series' early episodes. Beck was more comfortable once the episodes required music inspired by the 1980s and 1990s. To connect the music for the different sitcom eras, as well as the more traditional music for outside the sitcom reality, Beck composed several themes that are used in the different styles, which was possible since he knew where the series and characters were going from the beginning.:9 Beck was most excited for the opportunity to write a definitive theme for Wanda that is heard during the series' end credits, which he hoped other composers would also use for the character's future MCU appearances. Beck also wrote a love theme for Wanda and Vision that he said would convey feelings of love, tragedy, and sadness, which he compared to the romance music he composed for the series Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
In December 2020, Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez were announced to have written theme songs for some of the series' episodes. They were approached for the series in mid-2019 by Shakman, who was friends with Lopez at college, and they had previously worked with Beck on the music for Disney's Frozen franchise. To help sell the series to the couple, Shakman referenced the Adult Swim short Too Many Cooks, which the couple were aware of and called one of their favorite sketches. The couple were inspired by the theme songs from past sitcoms as well as the music from James Bond films, composer Burt Bacharach, and jazz pianist and composer Dave Brubeck. In order to tie their themes together, Lopez and Anderson-Lopez created a four-note motif that worked in each of the theme song styles. The motif consists of an octave, followed by a tritone, which is also known as "the devil's interval"; this was their way of saying musically that the series was a "big bright-colored swing while also being really unsettling". Lopez described the motif as "kind of like the WandaVision call-out, easily identifiable in some way in each song" that was incorporated in different ways each time.:9 The pair used their knowledge of sitcoms from watching them as they grew up, and found the 1990s to be the most challenging era to write a theme song for due to them both being at college during that decade when they did not have a television, while the 1980s was their favorite. Anderson-Lopez added that it was challenging to ensure the themes were not "parodying any one show" but "would evoke all of the iconic songs from an entire decade and be their own thing". She also felt it was their job with the theme songs to establish the tone, place, and time of the episodes in lieu of title cards providing such information. The couple also sang on many of the theme songs, something they normally do not do for the final versions of their songs, which Anderson-Lopez attributed in part to the pandemic. They were joined by a group of backup singers.
Beck chose to align the style and instrumentation of some of the episodes' music to the theme songs of those episodes, and tried to include motifs from the songs in the background score wherever possible. His music was recorded with a 75-player orchestra in Vienna, and he completed work on the series in February 2021. Soundtrack albums for each episode, including Beck's score and the theme songs by Lopez and Anderson-Lopez, were released digitally by Marvel Music and Hollywood Records from January 22 to March 12, 2021, one week after each episode premiered. One of the theme songs, "Agatha All Along", went viral after appearing in "Breaking the Fourth Wall", peaking at number one on iTunes' Soundtrack chart, and reaching fifth on iTunes' Top 100 singles chart. It also debuted on Billboard's Digital Song Sales chart at number 36.
Disney's marketing team conceived its campaign for the series roughly a year-and-a-half before its release. At the 2019 D23, Olsen confirmed that the series would mix elements of classic sitcoms with the MCU, which was shown in a teaser for the series that combined footage of Maximoff and Vision from previous MCU films with images from old sitcoms The Dick Van Dyke Show and Father Knows Best. 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 said it was "very interesting", highlighting the "old-school black and white" coloring. A commercial for the series and fellow Marvel Studios Disney+ series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and Loki was shown during Super Bowl LIV. Inverse's Dais Johnston found visual references to past sitcoms in the commercial, including The Dick Van Dyke Show, Leave It to Beaver, Bewitched, The Brady Bunch, Roseanne, and Full House. They thought the series would be a "must-see" for Marvel fans as well as "anyone looking for a hit of nostalgia: the era-spanning framework means anyone can relive the shows of their childhood". 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 "stole the whole show". She was most excited by the "utterly strange and unpredictable looking" WandaVision footage.
The series' official trailer was released on September 20, 2020, during the 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards. The trailer received 55.7 million online views 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 streaming television series trailer. WandaVision also had over 302,600 social mentions, trending on Twitter immediately after a teaser aired during the Emmy Awards ahead of the full trailer's release, and ultimately trending fourth on Twitter. The trailer was the number two trending video on YouTube. Ethan Anderton from /Film said the footage in the trailer looked like "one of the most trippy Marvel projects to date". He also noted more lighthearted aspects of the trailer such as Vision wearing a Halloween costume of the character's comic book design. 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 of its strange features, and felt the trailer's editing created "the effect of rapidly flipping through television channels in search of something good to watch". The Hollywood Reporter's Richard Newby described the trailer as "jam-packed with information" and felt that it "gives fans quite a lot to look forward to, as well as some mysteries to ponder over leading up to the premiere". After actors from past Spider-Man films were revealed to be appearing in Spider-Man: No Way Home, Graeme McMillan of The Hollywood Reporter saw the series' official trailer "in a new light", suggesting the different versions of Maximoff and Vision that appear in the series were because of Maximoff "breaking down walls between different realities", which could set up Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness and Spider-Man: No Way Home.
In early December, six posters for the series were released daily, each depicting a decade from the 1950s through the 2000s. Pulliam-Moore noted that with each new poster, "different elements shift and morph, both reflecting the passage of time and WandaVision's plot developments". The release of the posters was followed by a new trailer that debuted at Disney's Investors Day presentation. Anderton noted for /Film that the trailer featured more non-sitcom-inspired footage than previously seen, with "a lot to soak in". Chaim Gartenberg at The Verge called the new trailer "mind-bending", while Tom Reimann of Collider described it as "delightfully weird" and drew comparisons to the "House of M" comic book storyline. Tony Sokol at Den of Geek highlighted the trailer's use of The Monkees' song "Daydream Believer", believing the title and lyrics reflected Maximoff's state well, though he noted that the music becomes "barely recognizable under increasing layers of psychedelic weirdness". The trailer received 9 million views on YouTube. The first two episodes of the series Marvel Studios: Legends, released on January 8, 2021, explore Maximoff and Vision using footage from their MCU film appearances.
Including the aforementioned trailers, the series' marketing campaign across outdoor, digital, television, and magazine advertisements yielded 2.14 billion impressions. Analytics firm RelishMix determined the social reach for the series within its "social media universe" was 263,000, which was "lightyears ahead of most streaming shows". The various trailers, ads, and interviews posted to YouTube garnered the most awareness and engagement for WandaVision, with RelishMix noting that content posted to Marvel, Disney, and Disney+'s official channels was then reposted on fan channels. Leading up to the series' premiere, advertisements, "special-look stunt interstitials, co-branded takeovers, on-air graphic integrations, in-show integrations, and custom talent content" appeared on the various channels and assets of Walt Disney Television, ESPN, and Hulu, while billboards were seen in major cities such as New York and Los Angeles. Talent and influencers were sent a "TV-dinner box that had a custom TV tray, utensil set, coasters, drinking glasses, and a [custom] journal designed to look like a vintage TV Guide". A "never-before-done 'reality bending' grid that updates on its own" was created for the series' Instagram account, with Disney's marketing team uploading each post in a specific order while the account was private and then archiving them. Once the account became public, the different posts were un-archived and re-archived to show a different grid of images for each episode. Custom emojis on Twitter updated each week as WandaVision progressed through the decades.
In January 2021, Marvel announced their "Marvel Must Haves" program, which revealed new toys, games, books, apparel, home decor, and other merchandise related to each episode of WandaVision each Monday from January 18 to March 8, 2021. Additional "Must Haves" merchandise was revealed on May 10, 2021. From late February 2021 until the series concluded in early March, Marvel partnered with chef Justin Warner to release recipes for food featured in, or inspired by, each episode.
WandaVision premiered on Disney+ on January 15, 2021, with the release of its first two episodes. The other seven episodes released weekly until March 5. Marvel Studios originally planned to release the first three episodes simultaneously but decided against it when it was realized the final episode would not be completed in time to stick to a weekly schedule. Marvel Studios also considered releasing the entire season at once but chose weekly releases after seeing the "fun of week-to-week" provided by the Disney+ Star Wars series The Mandalorian. Feige said the episodes were built with the weekly release in mind, so the audience could "try to guess what happens next, to have a week speculating or rewatching and building that anticipation." He felt binge-watching the series after all the episodes were released would be an "equally fun experience". The first two episodes were initially listed as "Episode 1" and "Episode 2" on Disney+, with their actual titles being revealed a few days after their release. Hoai-Tran Bui at /Film originally assumed all the episodes would be untitled, and wondered if the titles were being withheld upon release to avoid spoilers despite not finding the first two titles to be particularly revealing.
Shakman said the series was able to premiere so soon after filming completed due to post-production work beginning during the series' COVID-19 production shutdown.:34 Schaeffer felt the series was "suited to [being released during] this moment in time", amidst the pandemic, because it is a "reflection of a lot of the anxiety that we're feeling, and a lot of the pathos and chaos of , so it feels very right to me".:35 Esquire's Matt Miller felt WandaVision had "incredible timing" with its release since much of the audience was "collectively escaping to nostalgia to cope with a pandemic and the general chaos of the real world", similarly to what Wanda was doing within the Westview reality and said the series was "commenting on the very nature and purpose of consuming comic book entertainment". The series was originally announced as releasing in early 2021, before being moved forward to a December 2020 release in February 2020. It was then moved back to the early 2021 slot in November 2020. It is the first series in, and the start of, Phase Four of the MCU.
Nielsen Media Research, who measure the number of minutes watched by United States audiences on television sets, listed WandaVision as the sixth most-watched original series across streaming services for the week of January 11–17, 2021, with 434 million minutes viewed. This is around 6.48 million complete views of the series' first two episodes, which is more complete views than the series on Nielsen's top 10 original series list which had more minutes viewed but longer runtimes available. WandaVision had been Disney+'s most-watched series premiere on its opening weekend, ahead of the second season of The Mandalorian, until Disney+ announced it was surpassed by the series premiere of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier in March 2021. According to analytics provider TVision, WandaVision was the most viewed title of January 2021 across measured platforms. The series had an 8,127 indexed audience size, which was 81 times more views than the average series measured by the service. TVision determines viewing impressions by counting its 14,000 viewers on connected televisions who have watched one of nearly 25,000 titles for at least two minutes within a session of watching content for at least five minutes, across all major U.S. streaming and advertising video on demand services.
The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 92% approval rating with an average rating of 7.92/10, based on 174 reviews. The site's critical consensus reads, "Part loving homage to TV history, part off-kilter mystery, WandaVision is a wonderfully weird and strikingly bold step into the small screen for the MCU—and a perfect showcase for Elizabeth Olsen and Paul Bettany". Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned a score of 77 out of 100 based on 40 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
TVLine's Rebecca Iannucci gave the first three episodes an "A", calling them "an intriguing, fresh, genuinely delightful deviation from what we've come to expect", and praising the performances of the cast, specifically Olsen. She did question if the series would have been better suited releasing its episodes all at once as opposed to weekly. Giving the series an "A−", Sam Barsanti at The A.V. Club called WandaVision "the ultimate expression" of the MCU's potential to tell new kinds of stories and a series with the potential to be a "riveting" part of the MCU. Calling WandaVision Marvel's oddest series to date, Daniel Fienberg of The Hollywood Reporter said it was not weirder than Guardians of the Galaxy but was "creatively courageous [to give] a postmodern exploration of sitcom conventions to an audience expecting snazzy suits and explosions." Fienberg likened the series to meta-sitcoms Get a Life and That's My Bush! rather than a traditional comic book series, and called it Marvel's version of Too Many Cooks. The shift between each decade in the episodes was "simply remarkable" to Liz Shannon Miller of Collider. Miller praised Olsen and Bettany, and said Hahn was "too good for mere words to encompass". Awarding the series an "A", Miller concluded that the MCU had not featured this level of experimentation before and the series was "actually [daring to] really challenge the viewer".
Caroline Framke, in her review for Variety, called WandaVision "an admirably weird introduction to the new age of Marvel TV", but felt it could be confusing to casual MCU viewers as well as fans of the sitcoms that inspired it. Framke also did not find any of the episodes "particularly funny", and felt the series' best moments were when Maximoff and Vision were shown to not belong in their reality. Roxana Hadadi at RogerEbert.com said it was difficult to tell where the series would go from the first three episodes, but she felt Maximoff and Vision were being sidelined in favor of the allusions to past sitcoms and also that there was no "sense of narrative stakes" due to the series taking place within the larger narrative of the MCU. Dominic Patten of Deadline Hollywood was also critical of the series, calling it "tiresome" and "a baby boomer punchline in search of a joke". Patten believed WandaVision was a step backward for Marvel television series, believing that Marvel's Netflix series and ABC's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. were better, and he added the series to his list of times Marvel had "gotten it wrong".
Discussing the entire series, Rolling Stone's Alan Sepinwall said WandaVision was "terrific and clever in how it used narrative form to serve emotional function" despite feeling the final episode was "underwhelming", and "a tremendous start" to Marvel Studios' television series. Chancellor Agard at Entertainment Weekly gave the series a "B+", enjoying it because many of the speculated elements did not materialize in the series. Instead, WandaVision explored grief while also making Maximoff "a fully-fleshed out character". Agard also enjoyed the various sitcom homages and the theme songs composed by Anderson-Lopez and Lopez in the first eight episodes, which in his view, helped outweigh the content of the final episode. Michael Phillips, writing for the Chicago Tribune, was critical of the first three episodes, calling them "interestingly bad" and criticizing the use of sitcom tropes such as "canned and deadly" laugh tracks. He also felt that one episode's worth of story was stretched out over the first three. Phillips was not as keen on the final two episodes, though episodes four through seven were better received by him given the sitcom elements were better fits for Olsen and Bettany. He added the appearances of Dennings and Park in these episodes helped "lighten the load", though the storytelling ultimately "became a pretty stimulating blend of fan service and gentle, often moving subversion". Giving the series an 8 out of 10, Matt Purslow from IGN said, "the MCU’s first true venture into television constantly morphs between surreal sitcom, puzzle box mystery, and superhero dramatics, indicating that Marvel’s confidence in a post-Endgame world remains strong. Free to write its own rules, WandaVision goes to places few would have expected the world’s biggest popcorn franchise to explore, and more often than not its themes of the grief and love between Wanda Maximoff and Vision help it find its footing." Purslow enjoyed the performances from the cast, mainly Olsen, Bettany, and Hahn, and added the lack of consistency between each episode made each "feel like a genuinely new adventure", believing nothing else in mainstream television could compare and was a demonstration of Marvel Studios' "absolute confidence in both the production talent and the audience".
After the first three episodes, The Hollywood Reporter's Richard Newby pointed out that hexagons were a recurring motif in the series, with "hex" meaning both "six" in Greek and "witchcraft" in German, and how both of those terms were prevalent in the early episodes. Julia Alexander, writing for The Verge, also took notice of the hexagons recurring throughout, agreeing with Newby's assessment. Speaking to the pacing and content of the first three episodes, William Hughes of The A.V. Club said while the premise of the series, Marvel's take on "a mystery-box show", was "fantastic", it also "sits in direct opposition to the MCU ethos, which can tolerate a mystery for exactly as long as it takes its antsiest audience member to start to squirm. To withhold information—to withhold anything—is counter to what turned these films into a pop culture institution, and that necessity to provide gives WandaVision the sense of a show being pulled in even more directions than its already bifurcated premise might suggest." One of the more distracting elements according to Hughes was the shift in these episodes from the multi-camera sitcom to close up single-camera shots, indicating a break in Wanda's reality, and the series' lack of subtlety to its teases, which "often distract from the legitimately wonderful work its leads are doing in their homage to classic comedy styles". Miles Surrey writing for The Ringer disagreed with Hughes, thinking the series understood the expectations of the audience, by not stretching out the mystery elements that much of the audience was probably deducing as seen with the fourth episode. Surrey added that WandaVision "isn't really trying to hide what it's about, but that works to the show's advantage. The series is getting better—and way creepier—the more it draws the curtain... [paving] the way for Marvel to make a concerted effort to dabble with horror; at least by the MCU's standards."
Charles Pulliam-Moore called the series a "quirky character study" for Vision since the series has allowed him to "inhabit his identities as a hero, a goofball, and a loving husband" wrapped in the construct of an American sitcom. Pulliam-Moore was particularly fascinated by Vision becoming a father, given he "toils at a job he doesn't understand, checks when things go bump in the night, and does his best to take care of chores around the house before Wanda can get to them with her magic", all to ensure Wanda stays happy in their charade. He also felt the series was being purposeful with its exploration of romance and intimacy, which he felt was "largely missing" from superhero films.
Trauma therapist Erin Qualey felt WandaVision was a positive representation of complex mental health issues in media, stating the exploration of Wanda's grief in the series made her "quickly become one of the most relatable characters on television" in the COVID-19 era, in which many were living with similar traumas. Qualey added, "By exploring how the process of admitting weakness can become an inherent strength, Wanda’s story marks a refreshing, if temporary, departure from the usual comic book formula", and enjoyed that the series was exploring a person's internal struggles that people could relate to, rather than relying on a catastrophic event or fighting villains for spectacle. Speaking to a moment in the eighth episode when Vision likens grief to love persevering, Qualey said it was "fantastic" that Marvel "took an earnest pause to convey this sentiment".
The series' use of red herrings and elements that led to theories, many of which proved incorrect, was also widely discussed. The casting of Peters as "Pietro Maximoff" was one in particular, with Carlos Morales of IGN feeling using Peters in the role was "a hollow move, because it simultaneously dilutes what should be an important character beat into an 'I know him!' cameo, while also opening up a well of speculation that doesn’t really go anywhere. It also isn’t necessary, because using the MCU version of Quicksilver as a ghost, vision or reincarnation could have added to the main thematic thread of Wanda processing her grief." Schaeffer said Peters ultimately portraying Ralph Bohner was not meant to feel like "a prank" and described how the casting fit into the series' larger exploration of Maximoff's grief, adding using another actor besides Peters was "not going to have the same thrill, and craziness, and questions, and be as disorienting". Screen Rant's Daniel Gillespie agreed, called the casting "an incredibly smart move, as it threw audiences off the scent" and helped spark theories and discussion for the series and MCU that might not have happened if it another actor had been cast. Adam B. Vary from Variety felt Peters appearing turned out to be a play on the sitcom trope of character recastings was "a really good joke", but conceded for it to fully work, the viewer needed to know that Peters had previously portrayed Peter Maximoff in the X-Men films. This is where Vary felt the series "got itself into some trouble" since "all kinds of multiverse shenanigans seemed to be at play, and the serious (and seriously online) fandom took that and sprinted with it". Speculation also arose from using Peters that additional members of the X-Men would appear or other actors who previously played characters from the X-Men film series.
The character "Dottie" was another red herring in the series, with additional ones added into the sets and through visual effects. Fans and commentators also speculated about an aerospace engineer mentioned by Monica potentially being Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four, Benedict Cumberbatch appearing as Stephen Strange (which was later revealed to have been in the works), and if the Marvel Comics villain Mephisto would appear, indicating him as the overarching villain of Phase Four. Schaeffer felt the series never presented the expectations that any of these speculations would be part of the series but believed it delivered on the expectations and promises it did make. Collider's Carly Lane agreed with this sentiment, believing the series never strayed from the story it set out to tell, adding WandaVision's weekly release allowed viewers to create "expectation over what they hoped the show would satisfy, rather than focusing on what it actually gave us". Lane concluded that there was nothing inherently wrong with fan theories, but equating a rewarding experience to how many theories come true "overlooks all of the places where the story has already succeeded".
|Award||Date of ceremony||Category||Recipient(s)||Result||Ref(s)|
|Directors Guild of America Award||April 10, 2021||Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Movies for Television and Limited Series||Matt Shakman||Nominated|||
|Shorty Awards||April 26 – May 14, 2021||Best Overall Instagram Presence||WandaVision Instagram account||Won|||
|MTV Movie & TV Awards||May 16, 2021||Best Show||WandaVision||Won|||
|Best Performance in a Show||Elizabeth Olsen||Won|
|Best Hero||Teyonah Parris||Nominated|
|Best Villain||Kathryn Hahn||Won|
|Best Fight||Elizabeth Olsen vs. Kathryn Hahn||Won|
|Best Musical Moment||"Agatha All Along"||Nominated|
In February 2021, the documentary series Marvel Studios: Assembled was announced. The series' first special, Assembled: The Making of WandaVision, explores the making of the series, with Schaeffer, Shakman, Olsen, Bettany, Rupp, Hahn, Parris, Park, Dennings, Peters, and others discussing the classic sitcoms that inspired the series, how the crew emulated the production processes of early sitcoms, and the experience of filming in front of a live studio audience. The special was released on Disney+ on March 12, 2021.
In January 2021, Schaeffer said she was unable to talk about any potential plans for a second season, but said the series would feel "very complete". Shakman said there were no plans "at all" for a second season and one would only be made if a specific story came about that would warrant it. Feige did not rule out a second season being made, but said one was not planned and pointed to Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness instead as the continuation of the story set up in WandaVision. Additionally, Parris will star as Rambeau in the film The Marvels (2022), the sequel to Captain Marvel, which is being written by WandaVision writer Megan McDonnell.
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