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WandaVision release date, cast and plot

Now that Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe has reached its epic, bittersweet conclusion, fans of this fantastic world of heroes and villains are eagerly looking ahead to Phase 4. One of the most exciting developments is the inclusion of five new MCU TV series for the Disney+ streaming platform. This is a somewhat unprecedented move on Marvel's part, as previous TV series with ties to the MCU have existed outside of the studio's "Phases," offering viewers an expanded taste of Marvel's world without contributing major plot points. But with the Phase 4 series, which will all premiere on Disney+ in 2020 and 2021, Marvel is taking its cinematic heroes to the world of television, opening up a new chapter of storytelling possibilities. 

One of the most interesting of Marvel's Disney+ series is WandaVision, which will follow Wanda Maximoff (Elizabeth Olsen) and Vision (Paul Bettany), two characters who started out as antagonists in Avengers: Age of Ultron and quickly evolved into two of Earth's Mightiest Heroes… and then into a flourishing romance. WandaVision is intriguing for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that one of the two titular characters is currently dead. But we know better by now than to second-guess Marvel, so even though we're confused, we're eager to see what WandaVision has in store for us. Here's everything we know so far about the upcoming series.

What's the release date for WandaVision on Disney+?

During their Hall H presentation at San Diego Comic-Con in July of 2019, Marvel revealed a pretty packed calendar for 2020 and '21, which will include a whopping ten new films and television series centered around various characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. WandaVision will be the second of seven 2021 projects to hit screens, arriving on Disney+ in the spring, shortly after Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. That will also make WandaVision the second of the Disney+ shows to launch, coming a few months after 2020's The Falcon and the Winter Soldier

Each Disney+ MCU show is expected to arrive in seasons of six to eight episodes, nearly half the length of the 13-episode seasons of Marvel's Netflix shows such as Daredevil and Jessica Jones, and significantly shorter than the 22-episode network seasons of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. The Disney+ shows are also expected to release new episodes weekly, as opposed to Netflix's method of releasing entire new seasons all at once in binge-ready drops. This means that, depending on exactly when in the spring WandaVision premieres, its six- to eight-episode season could run straight into Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, which hits theaters on May 7th, 2021. 

Elizabeth Olsen will return to lead the WandaVision cast as Wanda Maximoff

Alongside Disney's original announcement that they would be making shows centered around popular film characters such as Loki and Scarlet Witch came the confirmation that Elizabeth Olsen would indeed be reprising her role on the small screen. Olsen has been playing Scarlet Witch, a.k.a. Wanda Maximoff, since the end of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, where she and her brother Quicksilver, a.k.a. Pietro Maximoff (Aaron Taylor-Johnson), were teased in a scene at the end of the credits. The two then went on to be central antagonists in Avengers: Age of Ultron, before experiencing a change of heart in the movie's climax and deciding to fight alongside the Avengers instead of against them. 

Quicksilver was tragically killed at the end of Ultron, sacrificing himself to save Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner, who is also receiving his own Disney+ series), but Wanda went on to join the Avengers. While it's debatable which Avenger is the most powerful, Wanda is a strong contender for the title, and proved to be one of the team's most effective weapons against Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. Her abilities in the MCU, given to her by HYDRA using the Mind Stone (the same Infinity Stone that created Vision), include telekinesis, telepathy, and energy manipulation. In the comics, Wanda is an immensely powerful mutant who can manipulate Chaos Magic, allowing her to alter reality. While thus far the MCU has seen her controlling objects and conjuring illusions, don't be surprised if WandaVision delves deeper into the more mystical side of her abilities.

Paul Bettany is getting resurrected as Vision

Shortly after announcing a Scarlet Witch television show, Marvel Studios followed it up with the surprising revelation that Wanda would be co-headlining her series with Vision, a character who — at least as of the end of Phase 3 of the MCU — is dead. 

Bettany was one of the first actors to join the MCU, voicing Tony Stark's (Robert Downey Jr.) virtual butler J.A.R.V.I.S. since 2008's Iron Man. Bettany remained in the MCU as a voice actor until 2015's Avengers: Age of Ultron, when J.A.R.V.I.S. (and a little bit of Ultron) was uploaded into an android body and brought to life using the Mind Stone. Since then, Vision has fought alongside the Avengers, with formidable powers including superstrength, flight, energy blasts, and density manipulation. Prior to Avengers: Infinity War, he also fell in love with Wanda Maximoff, and the two were hoping to start a life together before Thanos' (Josh Brolin) arrival put a tragic end to their plans. 

Vision was murdered by Thanos when the Mad Titan ripped the stone from his head in order to complete the Infinity Gauntlet. While the characters that Thanos snapped away at the end of Infinity War were resurrected in Endgame, Vision was not among them, since he died prior to the snap. However, it would appear that one way or another, Vision will be resurrected in WandaVision — we just don't yet have any idea exactly how it will happen. 

Teyonah Parris joins the WandaVision cast as Monica Rambeau

If you're a comics reader, you probably sat up a little straighter in your seat when Captain Marvel first introduced us to Monica (Akira Akbar), the school-aged daughter of Carol Danvers' (Brie Larson) best friend, Maria Rambeau (Lashana Lynch). In the comics, Monica Rambeau grows up to be a superhero herself, and even goes by the name Captain Marvel for a while — the first woman to do so. Since then, she's gone by several other codenames, most prominently Spectrum. Fans of the adult character in the comics wondered if the introduction of a child version of Monica in the '90s-set Captain Marvel might mean that we'd soon see Spectrum joining the Avengers. 

While we still don't know whether she'll be suiting up as Spectrum — or one of her other comics aliases, like Pulsar or Photon — we now have confirmation that an aged-up Monica will indeed be entering the MCU as part of the WandaVision cast. The adult Monica will be played by Teyonah Parris, who was recently seen in Barry Jenkins' critically acclaimed film adaptation of James Baldwin's If Beale Street Could Talk. No details have yet been revealed about exactly what role Monica will play in Wanda and Vision's story, but it's very possible that the events of the series could lead to her receiving her powers. In the comics, Monica gained her abilities after being flooded with extra-dimensional energy, and between Wanda's abilities and Phase 4's emphasis on the multiverse, WandaVision seems like the perfect place for an extra-dimensional energy overload to occur. 

When does the story of WandaVision take place?

When WandaVision was first announced, many Marvel fans expected the series to take place sometime between the events of Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War. After all, a lot of Wanda and Vision's relationship occurred off-screen, with them progressing from affectionate colleagues in Civil War to a couple in love at the beginning of Infinity War. It would have made sense for a series to go back and explain how they got from point A to point B — especially since Vision died at the end of Infinity War, and wasn't resurrected in Endgame, making a post-Thanos series seem unlikely.

But surprisingly, the series will indeed be taking place after the events of Endgame, causing many to wonder exactly how Vision will be brought back from the dead. With all of the Infinity Stones destroyed in the present Avengers timeline, the Mind Stone won't be a possibility… although it's possible that Shuri (Letitia Wright) managed to gather enough information from the stone at the end of Infinity War that she could come up with some sort of technological workaround. Other options for Vision's return could include alternate dimensions, time travel, or Wanda somehow bending reality to her will in order to bring him back, demonstrating previously unseen new layers to her abilities. 

What's this about WandaVision being set in the 1950s?

Before Marvel's presentation at SDCC, Elizabeth Olsen mentioned in an interview with Variety that her new series would be set in the 1950s, sparking a lot of confusion from fans who can do simple math. Neither Wanda nor Vision existed in the '50s — it would be another few decades before Wanda and her brother Pietro would be born, and a couple more after that before Vision would be created. Adding to the temporal confusion is the more recent reveal that the series would also be set after the events of Avengers: Endgame, which concluded in 2023

While at first glance it doesn't make any sense to set a series both in the future and in the past, Endgame may provide a clue for just how WandaVision will be pulling off this seemingly impossible timeline. Time travel has now been introduced to the MCU, and while no indication was given at the end of Endgame that the Avengers intended to keep using it to serve their own purposes, it's not beyond the realm of possibilities that Wanda would attempt to travel back to a time before Vision died, and would somehow wind up bringing them both to the '50s. Another possibility is that WandaVision's setting is not really the '50s, but rather an alternate reality or illusion — similar to the illusions Wanda was able to concoct in the Avengers' minds in Avengers: Age of Ultron — that merely looks like the '50s. 

The series may draw inspiration from Tom King's "The Vision" comics

As soon as it was announced that WandaVision would have a 1950s aesthetic, some fans began speculating that it may adapt parts of Tom King's run of The Vision comics, which ran for 12 issues beginning in 2015 and whose first issue gave off a wholesome '50s family vibe. The Vision didn't follow Vision and Scarlet Witch, focusing instead on an entirely synthetic family Vision had created for himself, consisting of his wife, Virginia, and their children, Vic and Viv. So if WandaVision were to attempt to include pieces of it, it would need some major revisions. However, it's easy to see how the themes of King's comics would lend themselves to a TV series centered around Vision and Wanda, even if the specifics don't entirely fit.

In The Vision, the storylines centered around family, normalcy, and what it means to be truly human. As a family of synthetics, the Visions are constantly in search of a better understanding of life, driven by their desire to be seen as normal. It's easy to see how these themes of humanity and family would fit into a series about two characters who, the last time they were together and happy in the MCU, were trying to figure out a way they might be able to share in a normal life together, given their extraordinary abilities and circumstances.  

WandaVision could follow the popular "House of M" comic arc

In the comics, after Wanda's children died, she altered the reality of Earth, creating a new world in which they were alive. This new reality led to the highly acclaimed House of M comics event, a popular alternate reality arc created out of Wanda's grief and magic, in which mutants were the dominant species on Earth. It also led directly into the less well-received Decimation storyline, in which Wanda stripped all mutants of their powers. House of M has long been popular among comics fans, and has even been mentioned by MCU writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely as a storyline they considered adapting for inclusion in either Infinity War or Endgame

The MCU version of Wanda doesn't have children, but her grief over the loss of Vision could work as a setup for a similar story. A House of M-like premise could explain not only Vision's resurrection in WandaVision, but also the incongruous time periods — if Wanda is altering reality, who's to say that the near-future couldn't look a lot like the '50s? It could even account for Monica Rambeau getting exposed to the extra-dimensional energy that gives her her powers. Without mutants in the MCU (although they're supposedly on their way) it's unlikely that the storyline would focus on a mutant-dominant society, or that it would build to the "no more mutants" ending that it does in the comics. Still, all the other pieces are in place for a grief-fueled story in which Wanda alters the world bring back someone she loves.

WandaVision likely won't be a direct adaptation of any one storyline

In an interview with Variety during the Avengers: Endgame premiere, Elizabeth Olsen said that WandaVision would be pulling from "quite a few other comic books," implying that although there may be many aspects of WandaVision that are familiar to comics fans, viewers probably shouldn't expect the series to feel particularly beholden to any individual storyline. So while the setup for the series lends itself to House of M, and the teased '50s setting hints at The Vision, WandaVision will likely contain a variety of surprising elements that aren't necessarily inspired by either comics run. 

Vision and Scarlet Witch have a long comics history for Marvel Studios to pull from for their Disney+ series, leaving the door open for a host of possibilities. Over the course of their existence in the comics, both characters have been both heroes and villains, and have gotten married, had children, and faced all manner of opposition from both enemies and allies. While a six-hour series probably doesn't leave enough time for all of that, at least the writers of WandaVision have no shortage of material from which to draw inspiration. 

The events of WandaVision will lead directly into Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness

With a scheduled release in the spring of 2021, WandaVision's six to eight episodes are likely to end right as Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness sweeps into theaters that May. Considering that Marvel has confirmed that Elizabeth Olsen will be co-starring in the Doctor Strange sequel, the close proximity of WandaVision and Multiverse of Madness feels significant, especially since Kevin Feige teased during SDCC that the events of WandaVision would lead Wanda right to Stephen Strange's doorstep. 

There are a number of reasons why Wanda may ultimately need assistance from the Master of the Mystic Arts. In the comics, Wanda has dealt with a number of severe mental health issues, which could be the "madness" the Strange title speaks of. Perhaps the events of WandaVision lead to Wanda suffering some sort of mystical mental breakdown, which she needs Strange's help to treat (after all, in the House of M storyline, he was a psychologist). Another possibility, if Wanda does indeed fracture reality in order to get Vision back, is that she actually creates the multiverse in WandaVision, and she and Strange have to work together in order to stabilize it. No matter how Wanda and Strange come together, it seems likely that whatever Wanda does in order to get Vision back in WandaVision is going to have some unforeseen — and possibly magical — consequences.  

We'll finally learn why Wanda is called "Scarlet Witch"

Believe it or not, even after playing a pivotal role in four films, Wanda Maximoff has yet to be called "Scarlet Witch" out loud in the MCU. It's an easy fact to overlook, since Marvel's sprawling cinemascape has so many characters to keep track of, many of whom have multiple aliases. But throughout all of her appearances thus far, Wanda has always been referred to by her given name, not her codename. In Marvel's marketing materials and merchandise, she's "Scarlet Witch," but in the films, she's mostly just "Wanda." 

However, if Elizabeth Olsen's comments at SDCC are any indication, she will finally officially receive her codename in WandaVision, along with an explanation for exactly why she goes by that moniker. Chances are, it has something to do with her immense, potentially reality-shifting, magic-like powers, and the color of the energy she manipulates with her hands. But even though the origin of her code name seems rather obvious to anyone paying even casual attention, it will still be nice to get explicit confirmation of her name and its meaning within the MCU itself. 

WandaVision will be directed by television veteran Matt Shakman

Marvel made a lot of headlines during the 2019 Disney fan expo, D23, when the studio unleashed a slew of announcements regarding its various upcoming Disney+ television series, including naming a director for WandaVision. The self-described "weird" show will be helmed by television director Matt Shakman, best known for his work on the irreverent FX comedy series It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, of which he directed 43 episodes between 2007 and 2017. 

However, just because Shakman has some serious comedy chops doesn't mean that WandaVision will lack the epic stakes of the rest of the MCU. Over his extensive career, Shakman has also directed his fair share of serious dramas, including episodes of The Good Wife and Fargo, and has even dabbled in superheroes, directing episodes of Heroes Reborn and the recent Amazon original series The Boys. He was also responsible for the Game of Thrones season seven episode "The Spoils of War," which featured the visually stunning "loot train attack" sequence. 

Before his death in Infinity War, Vision was one of the most powerful heroes in the MCU, and as we saw in Endgame, Wanda still is. With such a wide and eclectic range of experience, Shakman seems like the ideal director to balance the power and emotional backstory of WandaVision's characters with the show's weird and wacky tone.  

Kat Dennings will be reprising her role from the Thor films

In a surprising reveal at D23, Marvel announced that Kat Dennings will be joining the cast of WandaVision as Darcy Lewis, her scene-stealing character from the first two Thor films. A student at Culver University and assistant to astrophysicists Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) and Eric Selvig (Stellan Skarsgård), Darcy was last seen at the end of Thor: The Dark World residing in London. However, none of the trio made an appearance in Thor: Ragnarok, which either ignored or unceremoniously dispatched most of the supporting cast of the first two films, leading many fans to believe that we'd never see Selvig, Foster, or Lewis again. 

Now, it seems as though the scientific team from the Thor films will be back in a big way for for Phase 4 of the MCU, with Darcy appearing in WandaVision and Jane taking up Mjolnir — or, as Darcy calls it, "Mew-Mew" — in Thor: Love and Thunder. It's a little perplexing just how Darcy may wind up crossing paths with Wanda and Vision, since she disappeared from the MCU before either character was introduced, and doesn't appear to have much in common with either of them. But no matter how Darcy winds up working her way onto WandaVision — even if, as Dennings joked at D23, she's playing Dick Van Dyke — we welcome her return to the MCU, and look forward to hearing her attempt to make sense of a romance between a witch and a robot.

Randall Park is returning to the MCU as Agent Jimmy Woo

In another surprising casting announcement, Marvel revealed that Ant-Man and the Wasp's former S.H.I.E.L.D. agent Jimmy Woo, played by Randall Park, will help fill out the cast of WandaVision. Woo has already shown that he might pop up when you least expect him — he's the rare Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. character to cross over into the big-screen MCU. Like Kat Dennings, Park's role in his previous MCU film was largely comedic, as the FBI agent tasked with making sure Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) stuck to the restrictions of his house arrest. It's hard to anticipate a scenario that would lead Wanda and Vision to cross paths with Woo, but if there's one thing that's becoming abundantly clear about WandaVision, it's that it will be embracing the unexpected. 

Although Woo served mostly as a foil for Lang in Ant-Man and the Wasp, he seemed like a good guy, who probably would've wanted to hang out with Scott if he didn't have to serve as his parole officer. With that in mind, he may well be working alongside Wanda and Vision in WandaVision, not against them. However, his by-the-book approach to life may clash with Wanda's reality-bending skill set, leading to an interesting dynamic as the meticulous government agent tries to reconcile his preference for order with a world in which there may be no rules at all. 

Kathryn Hahn will be peeking in on WandaVision from next door

Rounding out the WandaVision casting announcements at D23 was comedic actress Kathryn Hahn, who will be playing a character identified only as a "nosy neighbor." Kevin Feige joked that "every sitcom" needs a character like Hahn's to "[stir] up trouble." This could be a nod to Nora Knowles, the Vision family's ill-fated neighbor in Tom King's The Vision comics. Nora doesn't have a huge role to play in the comics, but it's very possible her part could be beefed up for the show, perhaps even using her to fill in as the omniscient narrator that foretells multiple tragedies throughout the course of King's run. 

Of course, in the comics, the narrator is revealed to be a different character, but Marvel is no stranger to combining and reimagining characters when introducing them to its cinematic universe. Then again, Hahn could simply be in WandaVision for pure comic relief, without a more tragic or poignant role to play. The series definitely seems to be stacking its cast with more comedic heavy hitters than the other Disney+ Marvel shows, and has been described as half-sitcom, meaning it'll likely have no shortage of laughs. Then again, this is still an MCU story, so even if Hahn is there solely to lighten things up, she still may wind up going on an adventure of her own. 

WandaVision will take inspiration from a surprising source

Of all the live-action Marvel shows launching on Disney+ during Phase 4, WandaVision may be most unpredictable. It's been described as half-sitcom, half-MCU epic, compared to both a comic run and an "enormous movie," as "wacky," "funny," and "epic," and now, perhaps most bafflingly, as significantly inspired by… The Dick Van Dyke Show

The footage used to tease WandaVision at D23 consisted of clips of Wanda and Vision from previous MCU films intercut with clips from the classic black and white sitcom from the 1960s. It concluded with ominous music and a voice announcing, "This concludes our broadcast day," hearkening back to the sign-offs that TV and radio stations used to use back in the 20th century.  The Dick Van Dyke Show starred Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore as a married couple working together to balance the wacky, everyday struggles of work and family life, which feels like yet another clue that WandaVision may be leaning into the wholesome family vibe of Tom King's comics — at least, until everything inevitably goes south.

Get ready for something completely different

Elizabeth Olsen has been vocal about her excitement for her Disney+ series, telling the audience at Marvel's SDCC presentation, ""We're gonna have a lot of fun. We're gonna get weird, we're gonna go deep, we're gonna have lots of surprises and we're gonna finally understand Wanda Maximoff as the Scarlet Witch." MCU mastermind Kevin Feige backed up Olsen's promises, saying that WandaVision is "not like anything we've done before."

Wanda has been described as "weird" in the MCU before, back in Age of Ultron when Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) was attempting to give Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) a rundown of his new opponents' powers. But despite that less-than-flattering introduction, Wanda's powers have never seemed particularly odd in the context of the MCU, which also includes a sentient tree, a talking raccoon, a magician, and a giant green supergenius. However, when considered alongside Feige's assurances that WandaVision will feel completely different from what we've seen before in the MCU, we expect that when Olsen said the series would be "weird," she wasn't simply referring to the powers we've already seen, but something brand new and bizarre that will — hopefully — blow our minds.