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WandaVision - What We Know So Far

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 eight 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 premiere on Disney+ starting in 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.

WandaVision's reshuffled release date

During their Hall H presentation at San Diego Comic Con in July of 2019, Marvel revealed a pretty packed calendar for 2020 and '21, laying out plans for a whopping ten new films and television series centered around various characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Originally, WandaVision was scheduled to be the second of seven MCU projects premiering in 2021, but those plans have been reworked numerous times since then, with WandaVision initially jumping up to late 2020, and then being pushed back again due to the delays caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

While WandaVision was originally intended to be preceded in Phase 4 by Black Widow, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and Eternals, it will now be the first entry in the MCU's new chapter, premiering January 15, 2021. The theatrical releases for both Black Widow and Eternals got delayed to 2021 following widespread theatrical shutdowns due to the pandemic, while The Falcon and the Winter Soldier experienced production delays that made its planned 2020 release impossible. 

Currently, WandaVision is the only one of Marvel's upcoming Disney+ shows to have an official release date. Originally, it was scheduled to lead right into Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, in which Wanda Maximoff is said to play a significant role, but in the current schedule, the two MCU properties will be separated by more than a year, with Doctor Strange now being the last of the six Phase 4 films instead of the fourth.

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. The trailer for WandaVision only adds more layers to the mystery, with Kathryn Hahn's character telling Vision that he's dead — news that seems to come as a surprise to him. The trailer also seems to jump through numerous points in time, with glimpses of Wanda and Vision in nearly every decade from the 1950s to today. So although we know for certain that Wanda will already have lived through Endgame before the events of WandaVision begin, it's hard to say for certain whether WandaVision is set in the past, the present, the future, an alternate reality, or all of the above.

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, the trailer for WandaVision seems to indicate that not everything in the series — including when it takes place — will be all that it seems. Yet for at least its first episode, the series committed to its 1950s aesthetic, filming in front of a live studio audience, with the crew members dressed in '50s-era clothing. How long the 1950s setting will last over the course of WandaVision's six hours remains to be seen; the show promises to visit a number of different decades during its first season, touching on the well-worn tropes of each.

Still, for as long as the series remains in mid-20th-century America, it's determined to be authentic — MCU mastermind Kevin Feige and WandaVision director Matt Shakman met with Dick Van Dyke himself while preparing for the show, asking for any advice the iconic sitcom star could bestow. His response has intriguing applications for a reality-bending Marvel show: "If it couldn't happen in real life, it couldn't happen on the show."

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, Vin 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 (yet — the WandaVision trailer gives us a brief glimpse of Wanda and Vision each holding an identically dressed baby, indicating that we may meet the couple's twins from the comics), 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, maybe she keeps reimagining what that reality looks like.

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 to 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

Originally scheduled to release in the spring of 2021, WandaVision's six-episode run was intended to end just as Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness swept into theaters that May. However, both have since been jostled around on Marvel's calendar, and WandaVision will now be bowing on Disney+ in January of 2021, while Doctor Strange won't hit theaters until March 25, 2022. Still, despite the scheduling shake-up, we expect the two tales to be closely linked, especially since Kevin Feige teased during SDCC that the events of WandaVision would lead Wanda right to Stephen Strange's doorstep. It will be interesting to see how the two storylines will tie together, now that they'll be separated by five movies, at least four Disney+ series, and over a year of real time.

There are a number of reasons why Wanda may ultimately need assistance from the Master of the Mystic Arts. 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). Or, if Wanda does indeed fracture reality in order to get Vision back, maybe she actually creates the multiverse in WandaVision, and she and Strange have to work together to stabilize it in Multiverse of Madness. 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 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's mysterious character could play an important role

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, but it seems more likely after the release of the trailer that Hahn —although the subtitles refer to her as Agnes — will actually be playing the sorceress Agatha Harkness.

Agatha and the Scarlet Witch have a long and complicated comics history, with Agatha acting as Wanda's mentor and teaching her how to use her magical powers. But it's one specific line of Hahn's in the trailer that points to the specific role Agatha might be playing in WandaVision. At one point, Hahn's character asks Vision, "Am I dead?" "No," he replies, confused. "Why would you think that?" She answers cryptically, "Because you are."

In Tom King's The Vision comics, Agatha Harkness is in fact dead, and it is her ghost who acts as the narrator for the series. It is revealed midway through King's run that Harkness is telling the tale of the Visions to Scarlet Witch, using their story to illustrate the chilling truth that Vision will stop at nothing in an attempt to preserve the illusion of his happy family. Since the WandaVision trailer shows Hahn jumping through time alongside Wanda and Vision, she may be serving a similarly omniscient role here, which teases some dark possibilities for the seemingly upbeat series.

WandaVision draws from classic sitcoms

For months, the powers that be at Disney and Marvel (as well as the show's cast) were adamant that WandaVision would be the MCU's first sitcom, and the footage shown at D23 even used clips from the classic Dick Van Dyke Show in order to promote the upcoming Disney+ series. It was hard to picture exactly what a Marvel sitcom might look like, especially centered around two characters who have previously only popped up in the films as major players in some pretty cataclysmic battles. Now that we've seen some clips of the show, it's evident that The Dick Van Dyke Show is just the tip of the iceberg, and WandaVision will be nodding to a number of other sitcom classics as well.

During the 2020 Super Bowl, home audiences were finally treated to a glimpse of what's in store for us with WandaVision. The 30-second teaser managed to cram in a number of intriguing references to the sitcom staples of past decades, including what appeared to be nods to Bewitched, The Brady Bunch, Rosanne, Family Ties, and of course, The Dick Van Dyke Show. Later, when the full trailer dropped, even more sitcom inspirations jumped out, including I Love Lucy, Leave It To Beaver, Full House, Married... with Children, Modern Family, and Sabrina the Teenage Witch. What it all means is more mysterious than ever, but one thing is for certain: Paul Bettany was definitely not overstating anything when he said the show is "f**king bonkers."

The WandaVision teaser hints at a major comics plot point

The brief teaser for WandaVision shown during the 2020 Super Bowl featured a number of juicy blink-and-you-miss-it clips, including a short shot of Wanda and Vision looking down at two cribs, then jumping as two pacifiers pop up into the frame, as if they've been tossed up in perfect sync by two just-out-of-frame babies. The full trailer seems to confirm that these are indeed Wanda and Vision's twin sons, whose introduction in WandaVision could have major repercussions not just for Wanda and Vision themselves, but for the rest of the MCU as a whole.

Of course, comics fans know that Wanda and Vision's twins — Billy and Tommy — play a huge role in multiple comics storylines. Not only does their disappearance/death (it's hard to know exactly what to call it when two characters simply wink out of existence, but also didn't fully exist in the first place) lead to the "Avengers Disassembled" and "House of M" storylines. Both of those are significant comics events that, if they work their way into the MCU, would have ripple effects that would hit every existing character and franchise; but Billy and Tommy also eventually grow up to become two of the foundational members of the Young Avengers. While their inclusion in WandaVision may be played for laughs and to give the show a wholesome family vibe, introducing the twins here leaves the door wide open for some pretty huge plot and character shake-ups in the future.

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.